Political chessboard: PTI’s Imran emerged victorious

Imran KhanCourtesy: Jawad Zakariya wikicommons

Hasnaat Malik

PTI Chairman Imran Khan has emerged victorious as Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi has signed a summary for the dissolution of the provincial assembly as per his desire.


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Despite strong pressure and other tactics, the PML-N led federal government along with the ‘powerful circles’ were unable to refrain Elahi from taking a vote of confidence in the Punjab Assembly.

A senior PML-N leader told The Express Tribune that all efforts by his party to convince the PTI lawmakers to switch their loyalties had been in vain.

He also conceded that the Punjab CM taking a vote of confidence was a major surprise for his party.

It has been learnt that Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman had considered the situation after Elahi taking a vote of confidence.

It was decided that the governor would accept the CM’s vote of confidence to avoid any judicial verdict, which might have curtailed his constitutional powers.

Political analysts are astonished that Elahi, who has a long-term association with the ‘powerful circles’, stood with Imran’s stance on the dissolution of the Punjab Assembly.

A debate is also raging as why Elahi went against the wishes of the ‘powerful circles’.

However, a PML-N lawyer told The Express Tribune that after the Lahore High Court hearing, the PML-Q had sent a message to his party to submit a vote of no-confidence resolution against the CM to delay the dissolution of the assembly. However, he added that the PML-N was not interested in opting for that move.

A senior PTI lawyer said that no doubt Moonis Elahi, the Punjab CM’s son, had played a key role in convincing his father to stand by Imran.

He believed that there could be two reasons why CM Elahi and his family were convinced to dissolve the assembly.

First, their political future is linked with the PTI.

Secondly, Elahi’s family was harassed by placing their names on the Exit Control List (ECL). Moonis’ friend was picked by unidentified people.

Currently, Moonis himself is staying abroad.

Political scientist Professor Tahir Naeem Malik while commenting on the prevailing political situation believed that the people of Punjab always voted for the party which challenged the ‘powerful circles’.

When former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had refused to take dictation from then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in the 1990s, the majority of lawmakers stood with him.

Later, the PML-N came into power yet again.

Before the 2018 general elections, the ‘powerful circles’ used all tactics to damage the PML-N. There were even allegations of pre-poll rigging by the institutions.

Despite all these efforts, the majority of the electables were associated with the PML-N and that was why it had emerged as the largest party in Punjab in the last general elections, he added.

Professor Malik noted that now similar tactics were being used to create hurdles in the Punjab CM taking a vote of confidence but in vain.

He added that the present trend reflected that the party vote bank was crucial for the success of every candidate.

“Currently, Imran Khan’s narrative is the most popular and no PTI lawmaker can afford to defect the party in Punjab,” he maintained.

Malik observed that the by-elections had also proved that the people of Punjab mostly rejected the politics of defection.

A debate is also under way as to why Imran wanted to dissolve the Punjab Assembly.

Another political analyst said the sword of disqualification was hanging over the PTI chief’s head in the Toshakhana case.

“He [Imran believes that the dissolution of the assembly might halt this move against him,” he added.

Secondly, Imran wanted that elections should be held at the present time when his popularity was at its peak.

Thirdly, Justice Qazi Faez Isa will become the chief justice of Pakistan in the month of September and the PTI chief wanted the polls to be held before that.

Fourthly, Imran did not want to give space to the federal government for the improvement of the economic situation of the country.

Currently, the economic situation is in dire straits.

Now, the PTI is expected to approach the Supreme Court for acceptance of their MNAs resignation soon.

One section within the PML-N is already convincing the party leadership that it should not halt the dissolution of the Punjab Assembly.

However, a senior PML-N lawyer said if the PTI secured a huge majority in the Punjab Assembly after the new elections, then it would be impossible for his party to win the National Assembly polls.

Earlier, the PTI was ready to talk with the federal government to decide a date for general elections, electoral reforms, etc.

A few government functionaries were claiming that elections could be held at time if the government had given an undertaking that Imran would not be disqualified in the Toshakhana case.

It is yet to become clear as whether or not a dialogue could be started between the ruling coalition and the PTI.

January 12, 2023

Source: https://tribune.com.pk/story/2395659/political-chessboard-ptis-imran-emerged-victorious

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