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ہفتہ، 5 مئی، 2012

PPP and the PML (N) two sworn enemies

 By passing a resolution calling for a province in southern Punjab, the beleaguered PPP government has clearly tried to pull off a political counter-attack intended to put the opposition PML-N on the defensive. The opposition has been on the offensive in the assembly since the Supreme Court’s conviction of Prime Minister Gilani and has been demanding he step down.

 Is that repulsive era of the 1990s staging its loathsome comeback, when the PPP and the PML (N) were perpetually at loggerheads like two sworn enemies to the great consternation and revulsion of the masses? Evidently, yes, it is. Like then, both are flying at each other's throat rashly and recklessly, with no-holds-barred. Wildly are they trading accusations of sleaze and corruption. Point-scoring of every sort is at its peak. Stridency is being matched with stridency equally. Notorious witch-hunts of yore too seemingly are not far off. Worse, the filthy shows of rowdyism and scuffles on the parliamentary floors have ensued. More worryingly, street agitation against each other is being planned by both that could potentially plunge the country into chaos and turmoil.

And this is what the nation can least afford at this point in time. By every consideration, the country is in far worse condition in every manner than what it was in the 1990s. Then, at least it was not so direly placed economically. Nor was it so challengingly positioned internationally. It was not in the vortex of alien conspiracies either to harm it so viciously as is it now. Furthermore, its national cohesion, solidarity and stability were not so tattered as are they now. Nor was it then being battered woefully by stalking terrorism, militancy or low-intensity insurgency as now. The country was for the most part at peace, which at present it is not so visibly.

A confrontation between the two could thus hurt the nation and the country irreparably. And the worst victims will again be none else but the masses whose woes and problems would now go doubly unaddressed and unattended. There indeed is no cause for the two to get into a brawl. The prime minister's continued incumbency is certainly problematic. Had he laid down the baton after his court conviction for contempt, he would have gained morally. But he has a legitimate right to legal remedies, which the PML (N) should not grudge him. It should let him exercise that right and wait for the outcome. By trying to force him out with street action, the PML (N) is in effect going after setting a precedent which could potentially boomerang on it some day.

 In any case, this country is no wrestling ring of the PPP and the PML (N) to test their muscle powers nor is it their personal property. It belongs to its 180 million people who actually own it and want it to be run exclusively for their wellbeing and betterment. It was with abhorrence that they viewed their self-centred political fracas when they were battling like two fighting cocks all through the 1990s for political supremacy and one-upmanship. And, again, they are looking with disdain at their antics to do down each other. The media or civil society may be partisans, but the people certainly are no part of their fracas or confrontation. Too overwhelmed as they are by the untold grief both have inflicted on them in their respective domains, the people have no heart whatsoever to be on the either's side. Both may rent crowds for their marches and rallies, but the real people's participation definitely will not be there.

So, even now both may do well to give way to sanity, sobriety and sense, and pull back. If for their madness and stupidity, the country does hit a rock, which in all probability it would, the nation will never forgive them. And both will stand condemned in the eye of the posterity for good. Their cheerleaders in the media, civil society and chattering classes also must take rest. The enterprise they are so blindly embarked upon is too dangerous. They too must understand this. The baneful consequences of the confrontations of the PPP and the PML (N) of the 1990s still haunt this nation one way or the other. They all must bear this in mind.

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