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Analysis Democracy Governance Politics

With PDM Falling Apart, Is PTI In The Safe Zone?

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The much touted Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is gradually splitting apart. Although the PDM seemed divided on many of the issues from the inception but one of the key parties from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the Awami National Party‘s (ANP) decision to withdraw from the PDM appears to be the formal beginning of the end of the 11-party opposition alliance. The ANP decided to quit the PDM after the party was sent a show cause notice asking as to why they sought support from government senators in the election of the opposition leader as this move on their part caused damage to the opposition alliance and the movement.

The PDM split was always on the cards owing to two reasons: 1) the alliance spanned from leftist parties to far-right ones, thus offering little to stay united for long, and 2) ever since the blame game erupted after Senate Elections took place and the PDM-backed candidate Yousuf Raza Gillani couldn’t secure Senate Chairmanship against establishment’s blue eyed Sadiq Sinjrani while the deputy chairmanship also went on to lose the slot to the PTI backed candidate Mirza Mohammad Afridi.

But, with PDM parties at odds and the alliance dying earlier than expected, the question is as to whether the ruling PTI is now in the safe zone. The answer is simply no – and there are reasons to say this.

To start with, one can see how Senate Elections were handled – if not engineered. The PTI’s rejoicing over the election of Sadiq Sanjrani is a bit over-done. Sanjrani comes from Balochistan and has never been part of the PTI. He enjoys the support of the powerful establishment; his election as Senate Chairman in 2018 and then again in 2021, even when he lacked numbers, is enough to support this claim. The PTI also was overjoyed with Afridi’s becoming Deputy Chairman of the Senate but he ran as an independent candidate in 2018 to be included into PTI later. The highest office of the upper house going to a non-PTI person should be matter of great concern instead of rejoicing. Sanjrani , who was supported by the PPP in 2018, became unacceptable to the same party in 2021. This is how things can change for the PTI, too. Today’s best buddy can be a persona non grata tomorrow. The PDM candidate couldn’t make it to Senate’s top slot but nor could the PTI’s. The establishment won and this will haunt the PTI with the passage of time.

Over half a dozen PTI stalwarts appeared on different TV channels scornfully discussing the PDM fragmentation. Others took to Twitter and mocked the PDM’s fall. Despite the PDM split, there are reports that the splitting parties are in talks with the establishment and can, if needed, become a source of in-house change either at the Center or in the Punjab, to say the least. The PTI’s old guardian and messiah, Jehangir Khan Tareen, meanwhile, is not too happy with the party since the latter tightened the screw around him and his sugar mills. It may temporarily work for the media-obsessed PTI to claim how impartial the party is when it comes to accountability but JKT has several MPAs and MNAs in his pocket who can swing loyalties in blink on an eye. Already, at least 2 MNAs and 8 MPAs showed up with JKT to demonstrate their support when JKT appeared before a banking court on Wednesday. If grilled or sidelined, as it appears, JKT can part ways with the PTI, along with his accompanying MPs, to merge into a new party. That could be the PPP, many reckon.

The PTI, which has now spent more than half of its term, has been sticking mainly to drum-beating how the outgoing governments created a mess which the country is going through today. This mantra did well and the public gave a cushion to the PTI so that it can adjust itself and come back with a solution. The party did come back, however, with a plethora of fresh accusations and the usual blame-game: throwing all the mud on previous governments.

Now the PDM chapter may be over but it comes with a lesson; it set heavy goals such as resignations from the assemblies, long-march and sit-in, but none of them was even initiated. The PTI also had tall claims before assuming high offices and it has awfully failed to deliver on most, if not all. The PDM’s build-up offered no respite to the sufferings of the public but its split has no harm for the public either. However, the PTI’s under-performance has consequences; the public patience is running over and the party can not only face internal revolts but can enter into next elections without sorry scorecard. The PTI needs to set its own house in order instead of jubilation over the fall of the PDM.

 

The writer has completed a Masters in Financial Technology from Imperial College, London. She occasionally opines on politics, social issues and climate change.

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Naya Daur