By Irum Saleem
What today Chaudry Parvez Elahi under Imran Khan’s patronage is doing to the Sharifs — the Sharifs did the same to Benazir Bhutto in 1988-90.
Even Dawn showed mirror to the Sharifs brothers — Nawaz and Shehbaz — about their kind of politics in it’s Wednesday’s editorial.
Nawaz Sharif owes his rise to his ‘confrontationist’ politics.
He also had refused to accept the authority of then prime minister Benazir Bhutto in the late 1980s. The two situations are not identical though, even if the governments in Punjab led by Elahi and at the centre don’t recognise each other as legitimate.
The way two PML-N leaders Attaullah Tarar and Rana Mashhood Khan fled to Islamabad to land in safe zone as they have their party’s government there shows the cowardice of the party of the Sharifs.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has also been threatened with arrest if he enters Punjab, for ordering a crackdown on PTI supporters trying to reach Islamabad for the May 25 long march.
The PMLQ-PTI Punjab government has made its intentions quite clear: it will do anything and everything in its power to undermine the PML-N in the province before the next elections.
Meanwhile, Hamza Shehbaz has left for London for an indefinite period.
However, it is also clear that the PTI has understood that it cannot compel the PML-N-led coalition to announce early elections that former prime minister Imran Khan had been demanding ever since his ouster. Otherwise, the PTI would have asked Mr Elahi to dissolve the provincial assembly to force the coalition’s hand. Hence, there was no mention of this demand in Mr Khan’s last public address in Lahore on the eve of Independence Day.
Yet it doesn’t mean the PTI-PML-Q alliance will not use its control in the country’s political heartland to contain it rivals’ clout in Punjab, advance its agenda ahead of the elections and undermine the federal government to force its collapse. No wonder, several PTI and PML-Q leaders have warned that their government will not hesitate to arrest PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif if he decides to return home to lead his party into elections.
Rana Sanaullah has already warned of imposing governor’s rule in Punjab in case he is stopped from entering the province. This might have been just political rhetoric. Still, it does indicate that the country may be headed towards an ugly place if such threats come to pass.
The question is: can people and the country’s fragile economy afford another political crisis due to the Punjab-centre confrontation? It is time for all parties to rise above such petty tactics and hostilities for political gains and pull the country back from the brink.
Let’s see how the Sharifs try to win back Punjab which already has gone out of its hands in every form. PAK DESTINY