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PTI’s School Of Moral Politics: The Trouble Within

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After having lost one Senate seat to a joint candidate of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) from Islamabad, the ruling PTI went in lengths to school opposition parties about how they used money to swing loyalties of some of its members. Next day, the furious Prime Minister took to television and blatantly blamed the PDM for pouring illegally stashed money to win the most touted seat. Refusing to admit it a political stroke of the PDM, the fateful PTI termed the defeat as ‘horse-trading’. Social media, PTI’s lovebird, chipped in with running #BehindYouKaptaan trend and slanderous online campaigns against the opposition telling it how bad to use money in the elections of the most sacred constitutional forum of the country. 

Moral schooling for political parties by the PTI is ridiculous, if nothing at all.

When all the focus was on Islamabad’s seat, money was at play in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), PTI’s home turf since 2013. Not only ticket holders of the PTI made headlines over their political affiliations but the PTI loyalists questioned how they managed to get senate tickets when their only qualification was being a billionaire. The three general seats from the KP won by businessmen who are generally known as tobacco kings.

In Balochistan, the PTI first awarded ticket to a business tycoon Abdul Qadir, but strong opposition from the PTI provincial zonal heads forced Imran Khan to withdraw ticket. Consequently Qadir ran as independent candidate and reportedly used over one billion to get himself selected, enough to get attention. Days later, he met PM Khan and was included in the PTI. 

Not long ago, the Senate Chairman Sadiq Sinjrani survived a no-confidence motion with 64 votes in his favor. The motion was put forward by the opposition which had 64 members by then and needed only 53 to make the resolution successful. It, however, fell short of three votes. That how some of the opposition senators tilted towards Sinjrani and handed the opposition an unbelievable defeat was no mystery as ‘money mattered’. By then money was good for democracy as the PTI government called Sinjrani’s survival at the top spot as a win for democracy.

Mr. Sinjrani’s story has more twists and dates back to his election as Senate Chairman. Mr. Sinjrani, who was a political minnow until 2018, was later dubbed a true face to symbolize underrepresented Baluchistan. Subsequently, he enjoyed combined support of the PPP and PTI just to weaken the PMLN and not to let the experienced PMLN candidate, Raja Zafar ul Haq, win chairmanship. The PTI’s choice to form an alliance with the PPP handed Sinjrani Chairmanship of the Senate. Again, the righteous PTI hadn’t objected to how Sinjrani made it to the top slot. 

And who could forget Chaudhary Sarwar’s becoming a senator in 2018 despite the PTI having lacked numbers. The current Governor Punjab Sarwar then topped the seven candidates’ list in general seats with 44 first priority votes while his party had 30 members in the assembly. That implied that Sarwar received some 14 votes more than his party’s total strength in the provincial assembly. In a media talk later, Imran Khan welcomed the PMLN defectors who voted for Sarwar and called them brave and honest people.   

Morality died at the hands of the PTI hundred times on the eve of senate elections when one of its celeb-cum-MNA, Faisla Vawda, resigned from the National Assembly seat only to become a Senator. Vawda, who is also a federal minister, casted his vote in the Senate elections ahead of his lawyer submitting the resignation in the Islamabad High Court during the hearing of a petition seeking the minister’s disqualification from the NA since he was a dual nationality holder at the time of filing his nomination papers for the 2018 general elections. The next day, the IHC stated that, prima facie, the affidavit submitted by Vawda regarding his dual nationality at the time of his election to the NA was “false”.

PM Khan has lately secured 178 votes, including of those Be-Zameere (dishonest) who voted against the party line only a couple of days earlier, to win the vote of confidence from the NA. Before going into confidence vote, the PM in his letter to the party members and coalition partners, vowed to forgive all wrongdoings of those who opted to vote the PDM candidate if they vote him. 

The PTI’s journey from Ba-Zameer (honest) to Be-Zameer (dishonest) MPs is something which doesn’t go well with the political stewardship. Alliances and counter alliances is an inevitable part of the politics especially in a country like Pakistan where democracy has often remained high jacked. The PTI’s talk of morality at this point is absurd; the party’s political journey has been exactly on the opposite lines of politics based on morality and principals. The incumbent government needs to repair emerging cracks within the party not to blame money or the opposition, entirely.  

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Naya Daur