Nawaz needs to do his homework before the dharnas

These dharnas remain different from the ones often staged by Imran Khan.

Nusrat Javeed October 13, 2011

The Ministry of Railways owns vast tracts of land in many cities, but most of it is said to have been grabbed by the land mafia. The railway minister was closely grilled about the matter during the National Assembly question hour on Wednesday, but a visibly helpless Bilour could only present the tedious legal process in his defence.

The to and fro had become so repetitive and boring that even before the end of the question hour, majority of press gallery members were found slipping out and looking for some answers to Nawaz Sharif’s “game plan”.

With apparently no brainstorming or homework done, the former prime minister had allowed the known hawks of his party to begin staging dharnas (sit-in) in Islamabad. The ostensible objective of these dharnas is to empathise with our wretched people, who are suffering from long hours of power cuts and steep price hikes.

The “corrupt clique of President Asif Ali Zardari and his cronies” is held responsible for all this. And this fact, the PML-N asserts, has brought a bad name to democracy.

These dharnas remain, however, different from the ones often staged by Imran Khan. The cricket star-turned- budding revolutionary tries to mostly motivate the angry youth of this country to facilitate toppling the Zardari-Gilani government through street agitation. He was all set for the “final push” during Ramazan. But after staging two shows he realised that people were not yet ready for a revolution. Since then, he is studiously seeking the so-called ‘electables’ that he could put up as PTI candidates in the next elections.

Mian Sahib’s party is too busy staging dharnas in Islamabad. Its MNAs and Punjab Assembly members are not asked to lead and transport the PML-N cadres to Islamabad to join the dharna and to shout slogans against Zardari.

Obviously, there is a deliberate attempt to pre-empt possibilities of the dharnas leading to street clashes with police pickets attempting to block the flow of revolutionaries’ march to Islamabad. In his heart, Mian Sahib fully understands that since 1969, uncontrolled agitations against a government never paved the way for fresh elections in this country. They always ended up burdening the nation with Yahya Khans and Ziaul Haqs and their long years of repressive martial laws. After Zia, the establishment-connected presidents sacked prime ministers to hold fresh elections. During his second term, Nawaz Sharif diluted such presidential powers, but that gave us General Musharraf in the end.

This time around, Nawaz Sharif desperately wants early elections. How to go about it remains a question? He rather seems helplessly clueless on this count. The usual hawks around him keep insisting that collective resignations by 90-plus PML-N members of the National Assembly, “in November 2011” can surely get them early election on a date in mid-February next year.

The game suggested is worth playing, but it only packs up the present assembly and sends Gilani home. Zardari, their “ultimate villain,” would still be sitting in the presidency “with his crafty mind and wily schemes to checkmate his political opponents.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2011.


SHO | 10 years ago | Reply We will Only Vote for PTI and Imran Khan... He deserves a chance and we need change.
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