The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf is set to lead the government in the centre, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. It is also looking like being a part of the Balochistan government, while it will lead the opposition in Sindh, with Pakistan People’s Party taking charge there. For PTI that’s undisputed nationwide presence.
“Undisputed” here being the reality that forming governments in three of the four provinces, along with the centre – and leading the opposition in the fourth – constitutes clout throughout the country. How his clout was won by – or handed over to – the PTI, is of course very much disputed.
This dispute in turn has formed a glue to unite pretty much everyone else other than the PTI. The exceptions of course being the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid and the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), which will help the PTI form the government in the centre, Punjab, and KP respectively.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz will lead the opposition in the centre and Punjab. As it continues to woo the Pakistan People’s Party in the latter, a united opposition featuring the PML-N, PPP, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal and Awami National Party has emerged in the centre – all of whom have found common ground in the abovementioned dispute over the fairness of the elections.
The multiparty conference that featured these parties reached consensus over continuing to challenge the results of the recent elections, both inside and outside the parliament, as they decided to field candidates for the PM, speaker and deputy speaker positions in unison – the three candidates being from the PML-N, PPP and MMA respectively.
They manifest optimism for these three positions, but the opposition is all but confirmed for this alliance that was formed as an offshoot of the MPC. These parties have vowed to bring forth evidences of rigging as well, demanding that a fair election be conducted.
With the claim that the protest against rigging and the demand for a new election would be both inside and outside the Parliament, it is evident that these parties are also laying the groundwork for a PTI-esque agitation, which was characterised by sit-ins and choking rallies.
The opposition would be advised to not take that particular route, even if it does choose to take the protest to the roads. This is also because the PTI itself has taken the high road by asserting that the party and the upcoming government would address all allegations of rigging.
What the opposition should be focusing on is ensuring a stern challenge for the PTI led government and keeping it on its toes at all times. Positively active opposition also helps create an environment of accountability, with the expected strength of the government meaning that the government would never be able to act unilaterally.
Any legislation would need the opposition on board as a unit, which basically means that laws that would be passed in the near future would have massive Parliamentary backing. Perhaps finally looking into Articles 62/63 might be advisable.
The opposition alliance is made up of parties that run the entire gamut of the ideological spectrum. Of course, while it finds unity in the reservations about the election, just like the PTI led government in the centre, the opposition too needs long-term cohesion lest it disintegrate into its many constituents. For instance, the MMA which is an integral part of the opposition, itself is a coalition of Islamist parties, which have a tendency of falling apart over the tiniest of differences.
Hence, it is just as important for the opposition to stay united as it is for the government. Their respective unities could help bring about Parliamentary consensus, which in turn would ensure that the de facto supremacy – as enshrined in the Constitution – can go back to where it belongs.
The writer is a Lahore-based journalist.