Protesting protests: PPP leader wary of PTI’s politics of agitation

Claims the ruling party should instead focus on governance in the province.

Our Correspondent July 18, 2014

PESHAWAR: Sticking to former president and de facto chief of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Asif Ali Zardari’s ‘policy of reconciliation’, party leader Rahimdad Khan said on Friday that the protest campaign of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf would only destablise the democratic set-up.

Addressing the Express Forum, the former PPP provincial president said the elected government should be allowed to complete its five-year tenure for the democratic system to be effective. "If Imran Khan thinks he is popular in the country and could be elected prime minister in mid-term elections, this is his mistake," said Rahimdad Khan.

"There is no certainty in the country. The writ of the state has completely vanished. In such a situation, protests and rallies will undoubtedly create problems for the government."

He acknowledged people have the right to protest, but said the state should not be burdened at a time when it was already in the midst of a struggle.

About the alleged rigging in the May 2013 elections, he said his party promptly decried vote fraud and pointed out that votes were being purchased, but no one listened to their pleas. He added that the PTI’s demand for a verification of votes should be accepted, but only within the rules and regulations as specified under the Constitution.

"There are some hidden hands. Even the Taliban warned the people not to vote for the PPP and Awami National Party," said Rahimdad while referring to the violent run-up to the May 11 polls.

He, however, urged the PTI to focus on governance in the province instead of demonstrations against the Centre. "What change have they [the PTI] brought to the province?" he questioned rhetorically during his address. "They are just trying to copy the foreign system [of governance] but have failed to implement it properly. Every policy of the provincial government is wrong and will fail to bear any fruit."

Rahimdad claimed that had the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz followed policies initiated by the PPP, the energy crisis would have been solved by now. He, however, failed to specify what these policies were.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2014.