The PTI has decided to call it quits. After almost eight months of street agitation, former prime minister Imran Khan perfectly upped the ante as he decided that his party legislators from the provincial assemblies shall resign. It is, nonetheless, not clear whether the chief ministers of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will advise dissolution of assemblies or simply put down their papers. In any case, the pestering political instability has touched its peaks after the mammoth show of strength in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Saturday. The fact that hundreds and thousands poured into the highly-policed twin cities of Rawalpindi-Islamabad from all the nook and corners of the country was an expressive symbol of solidarity with the call for fresh general elections.

It goes to the credit of Mr Khan that he has rightly channelised the anger and resentment against the sitting government, which they dub as cipher dispensation, towards seeking a political solution. This is why he referred to the situation in Sri Lanka, in his public address, and said lack of faith in the political process in the island-state led to revulsion and collapse of order. The decision not to march on the capital, and not to create a law and order situation has really won many more hearts. The PTI has flexed its muscles to the maximum, and it seems now it will prefer to sit and watch as to how the powers-that-be respond to the unnerving situation.

The onus, however, is on the coalition government to come up with a way out. Sliding economic indicators and soaring political bickering is a bad omen for social cohesion. Holding of bye-polls on hundreds of seats will not be a rational possibility, and might lead to anarchy. This is the perfect time for a grand huddle among stakeholders to devise a way out of the crises. The fear of default is posing severe uncertainty, and could lead to more marginalisation at the cost of national security. Let ballot and politics lead it from the front, rather than any extra-constitutional solution.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2022.

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Time for a huddle

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28.11.2022

The PTI has decided to call it quits. After almost eight months of street agitation, former prime minister Imran Khan perfectly upped the ante as he decided that his party legislators from the provincial assemblies shall resign. It is, nonetheless, not clear whether the chief ministers of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will advise dissolution of assemblies or simply put down their papers. In any case, the pestering political instability has touched its peaks after the mammoth show of strength in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Saturday. The fact that hundreds and........

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