The Future of PTI in AJK

By: Abdul Shakoor Shah

Manufacture and flouting of alliances have been a high-flying facet of party politics. The rise and decay of alliances remained in fashion till the achievement of objectives. Combined Opposition Parties (COP) in 1964, the Democratic Action Committee (DAC) in 1968, the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) in 1977, the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) in 1983, and the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD) in 2002 and current PDM are the living examples in power politics. The major parties would step back to their old contentions for power politics. The pattern of PDM is different as the opposition is passably represented in the power stake structure. The dwindling democratic space has glued the opposition together. COP / DAC was formed by five main opposition political parties against Gen Ayub Khan. It was an odd union of the left, right and centrist parties, united on a nine-point agenda.

However, there are few precedents in Pakistan’s recent history where governments have been ousted through street agitation alone. The hybrid PDM is willy-nilly to use its drastic resigning card for obvious reasons as PPP has squeezed back to compromising politics. The power-shared structured wings are not willing to get out of it. The hybrid PDM once again brought bitter rivals PML-N and PPP together for a short interval. The PDM has done nothing tremendous. The price hike is inflicting PTI more drastically than PDM. PDM could not form a PDM type Kashmir Democratic Movement (KDM) in AJK polls. The PMLN, which was in power in AJK cut a sorry figure by winning only four out of 45 seats due to its confrontational stance. The PPP is less secure with 11 seats due to an internal alliance with the PTI in Pakistan. It was evident before elections that the PPP will stand second as The PTI was only aiming at PMLN sparing the PPP. The MC had nothing to lose, it was already deploring PTI for a political alliance that was conditionally accepted. It was an insane election as the issues were put aside and the slogans of political rivalries were chanted and the public was befooled.

The election commission proved incapable of implementing its code. The bribery, violence, blackmailing, offers, threats, caste and creed played a vital role in giving PTI an upper hand and comfortable position. Visits of Maryam Nawaz and Bhuttos were of no avail alike GB polls. Conventionally the federal party hit the nail on the right moment. The PTI in AJK must focus on the focal point of change in the federal government. The shift in Islamabad power chair may dwindle PTI set up in AJK. One of the challenges of AJK PTI is to formulate and distribute ministries rationally so that the power shift in Islamabad may not sway their government. Predictably, the ticket allotment on caste and creed base can make a forward block to set up a government with PPP. PDM has nothing to shake in AJK. PPP is no longer a part of PDM, PMLN has only 4 seats and the rest of the parties have zero roles. Although there is no impending danger for the PTI government in AJk, anything can happen in love, war and politics.

The PM Khan’s pat on the back will not be sufficient for the smooth working of the PTI government in AJK. The PMLN has nothing more than the roars of a chained lion in the din. The PMLN is also not in the good books of the power distributors in Pakistan. The next expected turn seems to be PPP as it is following the non-confrontational politics. If the PPP appears as a booming party in general elections in Pakistan, the PPP will smoother the fidget via forward block from PTI. All the political parties pushed the Kashmir issue to the back front in AJK polls by bringing branded politics. Now the future of PTI in AJK depends on its central decisions regarding the Kashmir issue. A minor mistake by the PTI may trigger the already propagated scenario of merging AJK into Pakistan. The PMLN and PPP are sitting on the porch waiting for the moment to mobilize the Kashmiri on national identity.

The politics of accusation and counter-accusation should be eradicated. Along with other polls, AJK elections have also proved the incapability of the electoral system to be acceptable for all. The people responsible for this fiasco are many players. The political parties hankering after electoral transparency but they never come forward for electoral reforms as they believe that only the existing system can favor them sooner or later. There are no chances of joint opposition in AJk against PTI as the PMLN and PPP, the main stakeholders are a far cry from the political union. The PMLN would surely like to have an upper hand which is out of the question as it has only 4 seats. The PPP will surely aspire to get maximum by dint of its majority in opposition.  It seems the PPP in AJK has internally planned with PTI or the establishment to pull down the crutches of PMLN. It is probable that the establishment might have signaled the PPP for the next government after two years. There is another possibility that the PPP and PMLN might come forward with a forward block from the PTI but it will be hard and costly for both. In this case, the main ministries will go either to the forward block or to MC and JKPP. The making and breaking of any block are not favoring the PMLN and PPP.  If the PMLN and PPP had been on the same page in PDM, the situation might have been quite different. It is a very trailing period for PTI especially in the areas where PMLN and PPP have won seats. The allocation of ministries in these areas will create a stronghold of PTI in the government and it will be publically hard for PMLN and PPP to mobilize the public against the sitting government. The PTI must get maximum funds from Islamabad before the general elections in Pakistan for its survival.        

The Writer is Prof. in English and Freelance Columnist, based in Lahore, Pakistan. He can be reached at [email protected]