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PTI’s summer of discontent

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THE federal government was able to easily ensure the adoption of its finance bill last week. But not before a last-minute effort by Prime Minister Imran Khan to fete his party’s parliamentarians and coalition partners in order to calm growing restiveness in their ranks.

An evening on the lawns of Prime Minister House does not, however, represent a political strategy. Nor will the government’s problems both within its party and with allies vanish with the passage of the budget or the prime minister’s presence in the National Assembly twice last week. If anything, the budget session has shown that a united and resolute opposition is intent on mounting more pressure on the government at a time when the public impression gaining ground is of a government underperforming in the face of multiple challenges including those generated by Covid-19. More significantly, growing dissent and infighting in the ruling party indicates that managing the party is also becoming a daunting problem at a critical moment.

Of course, some dissension and disgruntlement can be expected in any political party and is far from unusual. But when this frequently surfaces in public, and prominent ministers and MNAs air dissenting views on television, it acquires political significance. When such openly expressed misgivings coincide with or are encouraged by the public perception of faltering governance it becomes even more consequential.

What do we make of all of this? What does it reveal about the ruling party? About its leader’s style of political management ? And about his ability to deal with discontent within its ranks and among unhappy coalition partners?

Alienating allies........

© Dawn

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