PDM’s new tack

Published January 14, 2022

THE PDM leadership has stated that in its next meeting slated for later in the month, it intends to deliberate on bringing a vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Imran Khan. Speaking to the media, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif said they had agreed to seriously consider this move and make a decision soon.

This is a departure from PDM’s earlier position which was wedded to resigning from the assemblies in a bid to bring the PTI government down. However, it appears the PDM has also now come around to the PPP’s view that an in-house change is the best option against the government. This option is premised on various factors, one of which is the opposition’s assessment that the establishment has adopted a more hands-off approach towards the government.

Maulana Fazl has already said this when he told journalists recently that the results of the KP local bodies elections — in which JUI-F did surprisingly well — were evidence that when the establishment becomes neutral, the PTI suffers a setback at the polls. The latest PDM statement is also based on the government’s weakening position and growing unease within its ranks and also among the allies about the economic and governance ailments that seem to be intensifying with each passing day. The opposition leaders have been heard claiming that many treasury members are in secret contact with them.

It is still premature to say whether such a move will indeed materialise, and whether it would succeed. It is fairly obvious that the opposition is galvanising its efforts against the government both within parliament and on the streets. The PPP has announced a long march on Islamabad at the end of February while the PDM has scheduled its event on March 23. There is increasing collaboration between Mr Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto and efforts may be underway to coordinate the announced marches as one event.

All these activities point towards a well-thought-out campaign against the government at a time when it is seen as weakening progressively due to multiple political and legal blows. The government is reacting to these developments by cranking up the pressure on the opposition.

The latest move by the government to initiate legal action against Mr Sharif for not fulfilling his commitment to the court of ensuring Nawaz Sharif’s return may not lead to any immediate action but it signifies that the government wants to take the battle to the opposition to divert pressure on it from other sources. This could be a risky strategy because it does not address the root cause of the problems afflicting the government. With the next few weeks crucial in determining how the government will fare, it might be useful for the prime minister to seek advice from experienced politicians in his party instead of resorting to knee-jerk reactions.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2022



Updated 19 May, 2022

To be or not to be

The same decision taken weeks or months from now will have far more devastating consequences.
19 May, 2022

Impact on Punjab

THE Supreme Court judgement interpreting the issue of disqualification of parliamentarians under Article 63A of the...
19 May, 2022

Forest fires

THOUGH spot and forest fires have become a perennial phenomenon especially in peak summer, the recent blazes —...
18 May, 2022

SC on defections

THE judgement is monumental and will significantly influence Pakistani politics for years to come. After a nearly...
18 May, 2022

Karachi blast

THE frequency of urban terrorism incidents over the past few weeks in Karachi should send alarm bells ringing within...
18 May, 2022

Threats to Imran Khan

IT seems there is never a dull moment in Imran Khan’s life. First, it was a cabal of local and international...