Lust for political power remains savage everywhere, but the price it exacts in Pakistan on the contending parties’ ideological commitments is rather high. Not years, nor even months it would take a party just a week or a couple of days to cross the floor and sit with its yesterday’s sworn enemy.
If reaching the corridors of powers is the ultimate goal, as seems to be the norm with us, why then shirk from joining the government headed by someone accused of “lutto tay phutto” (loot and disappear) yesterday. No surprise, if there is this déjà vu.
Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf is no more shy of crossing the Rubicon of so-called principled politics and join hands with Pakistan People’s Party to defeat their common nemesis, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), in the local government elections next month in Punjab and Sindh.
Gone are the days when Imran Khan would go hoarse calling Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif ‘chips of the same block’, stitched together in an unholy alliance of taking turns to govern the country.
But, that was yesterday; today, the leaders of PTI, PPP and five other smaller parties are on the same platform, and reading from the same page. They have agreed to field joint candidates against PML (N) in the three-phased local government elections starting October 31.
And they also joined hands to fight corruption, cooperate to secure transparency in electoral process and work together for the removal of four provincial election commissioners.
Such bonhomie between the PTI and PPP was never there; otherwise many a chance did come when the PTI and PPP could forge a united front against the ruling PML (N) in the assemblies and outside but was not availed by PTI primarily. It was always the ‘principled politics’ that PTI claimed adhering to which would stand in the way and keep them apart.
What then is new now that the PTI and PPP have decided to come together? To this there are quite a few probabilities. For one, the Tehreek-e-Insaf has undergone the necessary transformation from an ideological mindset to a political interest group geared and eager to capture national power.
The electables have to be preferred to the ideologues, and for this to take place who else could be a better choice than Chaudhry Sarwar. As Nawaz Sharif’s pick for the top slot in Punjab, he is now Imran Khan’s chief organiser in Punjab. And he is equally good at adjusting to emerging political realities.
Asked how come once a harsh critic of PML(N)-PPP alliance in all kinds of corrupt practices he was now supportive of the same very PPP, the Chaudhry was as evasive as a politician could be; the PTI was ready to work with all parties to solve national problems and corruption should ‘be handled even-handedly’, he volunteered.
But more than that, it is the upcoming by-polls the PTI wants to win at all costs, including the sacrifice of its much touted ideological élan. And, who could be more willing to cash in on such an opportunity than a man of all seasons and wheeler dealer of political compromises, PPP Punjab president Mian Manzoor Wattoo. Says he to Chaudhry Sarwar, ‘you will have our support provided you stand with us as long as this sandstorm of corruption cases against the PPP’s top leadership lasts’.
With somebody down the line in PTI insisting that no such understanding was reached with the PPP that makes no difference. Politics is art of the possible and the PTI could not be an exception. One would have no beef with the idea of political parties making and breaking electoral alliances across their ideological commitments.
But the grudge is that September 6 was not a day when political expediency should be seen to be taking precedence over such an unholy give-and-take compromise.
This is not what the PTI pretends to be – the PTI leadership must come clean on the crucial issue of corruption in high offices, political and bureaucratic both.
Source: Business Recorder