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Make-or-break by-elections

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AGAINST the backdrop of rising global energy and food prices which have necessitated widespread power cuts and brutal price hikes at home, triggering staggering inflation currently running at over 20 per cent, all eyes are on the Punjab Assembly by-elections exactly a week from today.

The Pakistani electorate is a very shrewd one, in my humble opinion, and often defies predictions to vote for parties and candidates who will deliver on their expectations and who, it believes, will be good for the country and democracy.

Unless, of course, the voters are cheated out of their verdict in the name of the ‘greater good’, in the name of clean government or Islamisation or accountability or patriotism or some other red herring to satiate the appetite of extra-parliamentary, anti-democracy forces.

These forces have been well-entrenched in the country and its systems. Don’t get me wrong but a mention of these forces and people see khaki. But there are many willing collaborators, some with pretensions of being equal partners, among the ranks of the judiciary and political parties too.

To oust Hamza Shehbaz as chief minister, calculations suggests the PTI will need to win some 14 seats.

One can at least see some method to the madness in the non-political forces joining hands for a power grab but it is self-defeatist for political entities, particularly with support among the people too, to coalesce with these forces and barter away their own right to take decisions and govern.

But, like they........

© Dawn

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