LAHORE - Both PML-N and PTI are aggressively mobilising the public opinion in their favour regarding the long march, the latter has scheduled against the N-government on August 14.
Accusing the PML-N of reaching the power corridors through election rigging, the PTI is going all out to make the ‘tsunami march’ on August 14 a successful show, while the PML-N both at the government as well as the party level is treading with caution to avoid any June17-like incident, which had taken place at Minhajul Quran Secretariat. So far, both sides are locked in a verbal and legal battle in which the PML-N is responding to the moves from the other side.
The PML-N government does not want PTI chairman Imran Khan to embark on the long march from Lahore to Islamabad as the mass mobilisation at a bulk could pose a threat to the government if not right away but sometime later. The ruling party is also circumspect of the strength which its rival parties can gather if they all join hands against the government. Source said the PML-N is pondering over various options at the party level to meet the challenge.
At present, the PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehrik are targeting the government from different angles and objectives. Both have announced anti-government protests but from their respective platforms.
PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri has joined hands with the erstwhile powerful party PML-Q and some religious organisations, while the PTI is being benefited by Awami Muslim League head Sheikh Rasheed as he has a strong personal image which overshadows even his party. Sheikh Sahib is making hectic efforts to club both the PTI and PAT together against the government but so far he has not received a positive answer from either side as both parties have ideological difference and objectives they want to achieve through their protests.
At present, the dominant worry of the government is the PTI which is ruling a province and has countable strength in the Parliament. Not that but Imran Khan has put up highly convincing shows in various parts of Punjab particularly the last one in Bahawalpur. As such this party is on a strong footing to achieve the objective; hence wants to take a solo flight. The PAT at core is not such a huge political force but for being an offshoot of the religious organisation, Minhajul Quran has diehard workers and supporters who are ready to act as and when their spiritual mentor will give them a call.
The PAT chief was highly disturbed when its workers including women were killed by police on June 17, but later he became careful about some political forces which wanted to turn this sad incident into their political benefits. Qadri sahib acted wisely and is not in a mood of becoming catalyst to the interest of others. Therefore, he may take some time to firm up his foot and build a party which could independently take ahead the revolutionary agenda. Therefore, the chance of merging ‘tsunami’ and ‘revolution’ are so far not bright and it is a matter of satisfaction for the PML-N. But the PTI still remains a big challenge for the ruling party.
In order to face the PTI, the party sources said the PML-N leadership has decided to enlarge the areas of its support at the public and political level. The government in the first instance has decided to reach out to the parties, taking them along on protecting the country’s democracy. The prime minister and Punjab chief minister in the recent past had also discussed the situation. The party will meet the PPP leadership and take it into confidence while it is also in touch with the JI, JUI-F and other parties to get them into the folds, the sources said citing that the government pursuing the PPP policy of reconciliation may not go too harsh on the PPP leaders entangled in legal matters at present. The government is also extending the same policy to the PTI and it has been time and again been called for talk over the issues of electoral reforms.
The PML-N has offered the PTI discussion on electoral reforms in the Parliament but of no avail so far. The government has set up a bipartisan committee on the reforms and has even agreed to re-evaluate the ballots in four constituencies which has been a principal demand of the PTI.
In order to lower down temperature of the PTI chief, the PM had offered him a joint visit to the IDPs camps but the later did not agree.
As the day (August 14) is drawing near, tension is rising wherein going beyond politics, attempt are being made to devalue political stature of the key players. Let’s see Arsalan Iftikhar’s hostility against Imran Khan whom he blamed for opposing his genuine appointment as the Vice Chairman Balochistan Investment Board and for speaking indecently against his father former CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Ch.
Khan tags the former CJP with the PML-N in the alleged elections rigging. Arsalan has approached the Election Commission of Pakistan to get Imran Khan disqualified as in terms of article 62 and 63 of the Constitution. He is trying to re-invoke the decade-old Sita White/Tyrian case against Khan. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is a relative of former Law Minister Rana Sanaullah and some reports suggested that Arsalan has been pitted against Imran Khan on the instigation of the PML-N leader.
As a counterblast, the PTI has approached the ECP to seek disqualification of PM Nawaz. The PTI contends that Nawaz Sharif is fit for disqualification as he has concealed facts about his taxable income, the agreement signed with Pervez Musharraf to stay out for 10 years and do not take part in the politics in that duration.
Things are slowly shaping up into a full-fledged hostility between the two parties but the government has decided to tackle the situation more through political means than showing aggression which however may come up if other side did not remain peaceful during its protest, said an insider of the PML-N.