Shahbaz Sharif’s dilemma

Dr. Ved Pratap Vaidik

As usual, the Imran government in Pakistan was toppled before it could complete a full term of five years.

This time it was ousted by the Court and not by the Pakistan Army.

Even if the Army had overthrown the government, the Court would have justified the Military action. Last time the court had justified the military coup saying it was the ‘necessity of circumstance’.

But this time Imran Khan himself gifted a chance to the court. Thanks to his follies, not a single soul could point fingers at the court’s decision.

Even Imran himself did not describe the court’s decision to reinstate the dissolved Parliament and allowing reintroduction of the no-confidence motion wrong.

But let us remember that only 174 votes were cast in favor of the no-confidence motion. This means the new government will be in power with a thin majority of two votes.

The pertinent question here is where were all the remaining Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) while the voting was in progress? Why were the defecting MNAs absent during the voting? They could have come to the House. If they did not wish to vote against the motion these MNAs could have abstained.

It is clear, like Imran’s followers, his defectors also did not openly support the rivals and this could prove detrimental to the incoming Shahbaz Sharif government.

If Imran’s mass movement gains momentum not only the defectors, some members from the new government may also try to switch over to PTI.

There is no tangible evidence to substantiate Imran’s allegation that his government was toppled at the will of America. Another important fact is, as of now, in Pakistan there is no political leader who could challenge Imran’s stature and oratory skills.

If he could successfully build up a mass campaign against ‘this government installed through American intervention’, it will be difficult for the new government to survive for the next one and a half years.

It is to be noted, the new Prime Minister designate Shahbaz Sharif has demonstrated his civilized and composed nature both within and outside Parliament. He has promised not to resort to vengeance or abuse of power.

In fact, I have personally met Shahbaz multiple times before and after he became Chief Minister. Shahbaz is not a person of arrogance and does not behave like an autocrat.

But the daunting question is how he would manage Bilawal Bhutto and Maulana Fazlur Rahman of PPP? These two leaders have been squabbling and calling each other names in public.

Workers of both the parties have been fighting each other in open. It is highly possible; both the parties would quarrel over seat-sharing, once the election is announced. If Mian Nawaz Sharif returns from London how will his relationship with the Army be? The major question here is, will this coalition government successfully take forward the unfinished tasks of the Imran government and will it be possible for the new government to effectively tackle many new issues waiting ahead.

But many genuinely suspect if those in the new government will be in a hurry to hog the limelight? It’s also possible the new government will venture to send Imran and his associates to jail.

In such a situation, I would request Shahbaz to take a lesson from our Chaudhary Charan Singh who sent Indira Gandhi to jail and the people made him sit at home.


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