KARACHI: The political rivals — Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) — on Thursday were in sync when they warned that protests by different parties against alleged rigging in the elections “would not serve the country”.

Asking the protesting parties to move forward and accept the poll results, the MQM-P and PPP leaders said that the current economic situation of country “couldn’t afford any political instability”.

In separate press conferences, leaders of the two parties’ said the political instability would only deepen the crisis that would ultimately hit agenda of economic revival which was solely banking on bailout support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

First it was the MQM-P which in a veiled warning suggested the political parties that at the time when “eyes of neighbouring countries are on our country”, targeting establishment would neither serve democracy, nor Pakistan’s interests.

In their separate press conferences, leaders of both parties urge protesting parties to ‘move forward’

Addressing a press conference at the MQM-P headquarters called Pakistan House, Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said, “Imagine what could happen if the establishment decides to respond to these allegations.

“All political stakeholders of the country should express a spirit of sacrifice and show unity to steer Pakistan out of its current crisis. Targeting the military establishment is detrimental to the nation’s well-being and democratic stability. The institutions played their role for timely elections when everyone was doubtful that the elections might not be held on time. This is the time to sacrifice one’s part to get the country out of a worst crisis.”

Shazia Marri, the PPP’s information secretary, came up with the same line but with a different angle.

Addressing a press conference at Bilawal House with party colleague Jamil Soomro, she came up with a number of complaints of rigging in rural Sindh during Feb 8 elections but claimed that the PPP had decided to move forward only for a political stability and to strengthen democracy in country.

She also questioned the protest plan of the Grand Democratic Alliance, which has announced a blockade of roads.

She said the blockade would only bring miseries to the people of Sindh.

“We would fight our case [against rigging] at all relevant and legal forums,” she said.

“But we want parliament to run and we would play our part in this democratic process. We would not cause any chaos. We would not let democracy suffer. We would not do politics of hatred and divide.”

Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2024

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