by Aziz Narejo, TX, USA
About a year back it could have been desirable to see PPP and PML-N form coalition governments in Islamabad and Lahore to stop military intervention in civilian affairs, strengthen democracy and steer the country out of the troubled waters.
But after witnessing the federal government’s performance for one year, its broken promises and insensitivity to the wishes of the people, mere thought of a PPP and PML-N coalition sends shivers down one’s spine.
What if PML-N had not taken a principled stand on the restoration of pre-November 3, 2007 judiciary and had not resigned from the federal cabinet? What would be the situation today if PML-N had also forgotten about its promises and claimed that “they were not part of Hadith?” Wouldn’t the lawyers still be on the streets, the lawful judges of the superior courts still out of their jobs and the country still facing a great turmoil?
The deposed judges have now been reinstated. It is definitely a step in the right direction but in itself it does not solve all the problems. Strengthening democracy, provincial autonomy, Constitutional amendments, Charter of Democracy, Benazir Bhutto murder probe, national languages issue, Balochistan, terrorism, economy, corruption, poverty, education, health, power deficit, empowerment of people, reigning in military and its ever powerful agencies, distribution of resources among the federating units, water, foreign relations, foreign interference, demoralization and apathy among people and many more issues demand urgent attention. They could not be tackled by the government alone. A strong opposition is needed to play its due role.
It is not the main role of the opposition to destabilize the government. The PPP and PML-N, in government as well as in opposition, should respect each others mandate. The federal and the provincial governments should complete their tenure but the experience tells us that the two need strong checks and balances. Otherwise it would be impossible to control corruption, cronyism and nepotism of the government/s?
It is encouraging to note that the PML-N has decided not to join the federal government for the time being. It has offered cooperation to implement the Charter of Democracy signed by late Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. It has pledged not to destabilize the government in Islamabad . I think it is desirable that the PPP should reciprocate. It should stop its manipulations through Governor Salman Taseer to either form its government in Punjab or seek a coalition with PML-N. I think PPP should follow the lead of the PML-N and make an unequivocal announcement to stay out of the Punjab government, play a responsible opposition in the province and not to insist on a berth in the provincial government. The people expect mature behavior from the two parties. One hopes the leadership of the two parties would not disappoint the people.