Govt’s Plan Is Witch-Hunt. And The Disorganized Opposition Does Not Have A Counter-Plan
The opposition’s plans to give tough time to the government won’t materialize because it is disorganised and unclear about what it wants, writes Muhammad Hani.
The political temperature in the country soar to great height post-Eid-ul-Fitr. The arrest of Asif Ali Zardari was the first most significant development after Eid. Political commentators have long been speculating as to when the former president will be ‘nabbed’. Following his arrest, Pakistan Muslim League – N (PML-N) leader Hamza Shehbaz was also arrested the next day.
Before the elections, Asif Zardari was given assurances from powerful quarters that he would be ‘spared’ if he manages to break the potential anti-government alliance among opposition parties. But he was arrested despite the alleged understanding between him and the powers-that-be.
The rumor mills believe that PPP leadership’s stance favouring the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) compelled the state institution to end the ‘deal’. PTM-linked MNAs Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar being invited to Zardari House for an Iftar dinner hosted by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for the Opposition proved to be the last nail in the coffin.
Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif also returned to Pakistan. His return brought an end to the speculations that he would not come back before the PML-N manages to enter into a ‘deal’.
As things stand, the PMLN leadership is divided into two camps. The elder Sharif camp wants to take the entire set-up to the cleaners, while Shehbaz Sharif wants to avoid confrontation. Instead of directly going after the establishment, he wants to take on Imran Khan-led PTI government.
Opposition doesn’t have the option to choose the path of confrontation because it lacks adequate street power. PPP does have the capacity to show numbers in Sindh, but it is unlikely they will stage protests in a province where their own party is in government. In the PML-N’s case, their support base is disappointed and won’t participate in agitation unless the younger Sharif takes a strong stance, which he seems unwilling to take at the moment.
Moreover, masses can’t care less about any such movement because of the issues such as inflation and unemployment. Establishment fully backing the PTI government is another aspect which might not let the opposition protest succeed.
It appears that the government is clearer in its approach than the opposition. The government has decided that it would with-hunt its opponents and silence the opposition by accusing them of looting the public wealth in the past years. The opposition, on the other hand, does not seem to have a plan as to how they will collectively stand up against the government and do something meaningful in this regard.