WEB DESK: Two rallies and one dharna in one single day: is it a seasonal boil in national politics, or something more than that? Is it that the anti-government political forces tend to draw vicarious sustenance from the CoAS General Raheel Sharif’s take on corruption across-the-board?
Or, is it a sort of counteraction to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s unanticipated move to seek verdict of the apex court on his alleged involvement in the Panama Papers which, as he feels, effectively pulls the rug from under the opposition’s feet. He has lobbed the ball in the opposition’s court, challenging it to bring evidence against him. There is no single answer to these questions, except for the commonality that the rallies and dharna were nothing but varying manifestations of a power play.
And if these rallies and the dharna serve no national cause, the government’s response as it unfolds in the wake of these rallies is no less skewed. He will address a public meeting at Mansehra on April 28, which would be followed by more public meetings in all four provinces. Is it that national politics is nothing but unrelentingly jockeying for power, in defiance of the grave security and economic challenges confronting the country? How big was some party’s rally and how durable was someone’s dharna – history is witness to the fact that such statistics carry no weight or a measure of the parties’ popularity.
Do we know that in our country the longest procession was led by Asghar Khan in 1977 against the PPP government, but that never brought him electoral victory. The fact is that the size of a rally is more a gauge of the effort put in place by a political party to collect numbers and fetch them to the place of the rally than a reflection of its genuine popularity.
Of these rallies, the biggest was in Islamabad, but not a fraction of what Imran Khan could attract in Lahore some four years back when he set out on his electoral journey. While the Isloos remained largely indifferent, the contribution made by the PTI Rawalpindi chapter was much below expectations. The main contributions arrived from Peshawar and Lahore. The Jamaat’s rally or dharna in Lahore was an apology for a public meeting, except for the all-to-see signal that Khan’s former consort Reham Khan is now in Jamaat and the parties may be coalition partners in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa they are also political rivals.
The Karachi scenario, as it unfolded, tends to suggest that Mustafa Kamal’s popularity is over the hump and no more a substitute of the MQM. Not that Mustafa Kamal should have attracted bigger crowd than what it was, but that the MQM is still a force in Karachi to contend with. That the Jamaat wants an end to corruption and may launch a movement in support of its thinking, there should be no beef with such a state of mind. But this is not being said for the first time, and therefore not a crowd-puller.
And if the PTI top leadership think the Panama Papers is a good enough tool in their hands to force Nawaz Sharif to step down, they need to rethink. Their insistence, that terms of reference (ToRs) for the judicial commission should be confined to the Panama Papers and that too pertaining to Nawaz Sharif and his family only and none else makes no sense. How can one say that only Nawaz Sharif’s family should be interrogated for offshore assets and money laundering and no one else? Those who feel intrigued over General Raheel Sharif’s call for action against the corrupt should not forget that he had called for an across-the-board action – and that should include many.
Source: Business Recorder