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Escaping political dialogue

OpinionEscaping political dialogue
By: Asem Mustafa Awan

President Dr. Arif Alvi has called dialogue between government and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf vital for the stability of the country. He said that politicians should learn from the past and should not look to establishment to solve their problems.

Speaking to senior journalists at Governor House Lahore, the President said that Imran Khan is not averse to talks; the situation cannot improve by expelling Imran Khan from the system or arresting him. President Alvi has been trying to ‘de-escalate’ confrontation among political forces since April 2022.

Similarly, in a conversation with senior journalists at the Governor House Lahore, last year, when he was asked about his role for reconciliation, he mentioned some efforts were made but were not fruitful. At that time, the PTI was in power in Punjab and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the resignations were not yet approved by the National Assembly. PTI was a stakeholder in government and state affairs due to its presence in the government and the National Assembly in two provinces.

It was seen that despite this position, when Imran Khan announced the long march in May. The brutality with which the PML-N federal and provincial governments used the police and other security agencies against PTI workers intensified the confrontation.

When Pervaiz Elahi took over as chief minister Punjab, an inquiry was initiated against the police brutality and two weeks ago the inquiry report recommended action against responsible officials. PTI submitted a list of 20 officers who exceeded their limits and used undue force. PTI believes that the re-deployment of these officers in Lahore in the caretaker government can make the election process non-transparent as these officials can use their influence.

PTI apprehensions are there but once again the demonstration and arrests are happening besides the excessive use of force, the moment caretaker government is formed.

The political strife is taking an uglier turn and if this stays unchecked and people at the helm of affairs don’t take notice Pakistan is likely to plunge into a civil war owing to polarization in society.

The general impression has been that Imran Khan is refusing to negotiate and calls others thieves and robbers but the President dismissed this impression and what is inferred in the meeting is that it is the government that refuses to negotiate.

Parliament the right forum for solving all the differences but democratic norms were put aside as not long ago the parliament was also made controversial during the Senate elections.

Pakistan Democratic Movement and PTI government complained of rigging where members were used to switch sides while at the same time it also resulted later on in upheaval in both national and provincial assemblies. The controversial justifications intensified the conflict further.

Financial Times report is alarming that Pakistan’s economy is on the verge of collapse and it could see the same turmoil as that off Sri Lanka. Karachi Chamber gave keys of their factories to Governor State Bank to run the businesses while American ambassador is asked for loans from APTMA, Lahore Chamber, Sialkot Chamber besides others but the question arise what government is doing to end this political and economic instability.

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