Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Enough is enough!

By Saeed Qureshi
My argument is that if the incumbent PMLN government has failed to come up with any viable or meaningful strategy either politically or administratively to overcome the prevailing deepening crisis then let it resign and make room for an interim set up.  The ugly stalemate that we and the world at large are witnessing for about three weeks ought to be resolved one way or the other.

The sit- in of the supporters of PTI (Pakistan Tehrik Insaf) and PAT (Pakistan Awami Tehrik) continues unabated at the Constitution Avenue. The government functionaries and law enforcement paraphernalia exhibiting lack of will or skill to disperse them. The enraged and emotional agitators have had the temerity and courage to enter the parliament building, squat in front of the prime minister’s house and ransack the National Television building hampering the service.

The police looks to be not adequately trained to deal with such unusual or unruly situations and overcome somehow the stiff protests with a demonstration of organized and skillful counteraction against the dogged crowd. Rather ironically the police was seen in a state of disarray and some of the unfortunate policemen being beaten mercilessly in broad day light with wooden batons by the frenzied individuals. Such is the precarious law and order situation in the federal capital of Pakistan.

On the political front government seems to be clueless and rather lame duck as how to get out of this muddy quagmire that could have been deftly and diplomatically dealt with in the beginning. They could have worked out some feasible modus-operandi of this bulging fracas and sturdy standoff now getting more trenchant and stabilized.

The sitting government has lost much of precious time and upper hand in the hope that finally the protesters would lose heart and endurance and leave is disarray. But that vain hope seems to have been belied and blunted with the crowds of both Dr Qadri and charismatic Imran Khan, still squatting the most important boulevard of Islamabad where the entire network of government is situated.

So where do we go from here? Would the government keep sitting with its fingers crossed that the volatile crowd would disperse one day and they would be back in their powerful seats without even a scratch to their political clout and standing.

The Government’s acquiescence on conceding five demands out of a pack of six could have been met at the initial stages of this imbroglio. But perhaps the government wanted to exhaust the disgruntled interlocutors and then force them to agree on the minimum concessions. That did not happen. 

Now the leader of this political insurgency are loud and clear and uncompromising on the sticking demand of resignation of both the prime minister of Pakistan and his brother the chief minister of Punjab.

In the meantime the face and image of the armed forces have been significantly sullied by both the belligerents with contentious claims that one or the party was in league with   that the army and taking instructions. However still the army may take a stock of the whole bizarre scenario and advise both the sides to come to terms. One of the questions before the army high command can be that was it opportune and proper to declare army rule in order to end the unremitting crisis or let the wrestlers fight and settle their dispute.

But one may project that if the government stays, the status-quo would stay as any inquiry or investigation would either remain doubtful or put on the back burners as we have seen the outcome of such reports in the past. Even if the inquiry is impartial and fair, the losing side could still not accept it by finding faults with that. So the nasty stalemate would return creating another bout of tug of war between the two opponents.

So what is the probable solution? I am inclined to believe and suggest that the most pragmatic and objective solution for this kind of quagmire is to set up a semblance of interim set up that should be acceptable to both the parties.

An interim government either can initiate inquiry of the allegations of rigging and related contentious issues or else midterm elections can be announced under its aegis. In the meantime an independent authority that could be supreme court or the army or a committee comprising members of the parliament( both senate and national assembly) to take up the allegation of rigging, electoral reforms  and also the inquiry of Model Town police action killing and injuring several innocent people.

If the protest or Dharnas leaders could be pacified and disperse after the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, then let the prime minster even think of going for that unpalatable option to save the country from further chaos and mayhem. It is no more a question of ego.  

It is the paramount question of saving the country from further crippling and ruinous upheaval. If all these options or endeavors fail the army would be prone to step in and restore peace and order.

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