The Presidential Ordinance to establish a China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority is drawing a lot of criticism from the opposition. The opposition believes that the government is trying its best to curtail the sovereignty of the parliament and bypass any collective decisions in order to avoid being answerable for the decisions they take. The decision itself does undermine the collective working of the government and the opposition in the parliament, a task both sides are struggling with from the first day of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) government. The parliamentary committee on CPEC unanimously discarded the suggestion to build this authority as adding another layer of bureaucratic hierarchy to avoid the bureaucratic red tape will only add to the problems of the government.

This is a classic PTI strategy and has been in place since its first day in government. The attempt is not made to improve the currently established setup, rather introduce new faces and authority to deal with an issue at hand. The opposition is right in pointing out that due to the power assumed by this authority, it will cause a lot of chaos and confusion in the previous committee working on the same goal. The government needs to not only be mindful of it but also come up with a feasible solution to avoid this situation. Government resources being pumped into two avenues for the same cause is equivalent to making the activity redundant.

However, criticising the government for merely exercising the presidential ordinance is criticism for the sake of criticism and that takes away from the actual red flags posed by this decision. Terming the decision as illegal is also misleading and a false narrative that the opposition needs to check in order to create an impact that can affect the working of this authority. This makes the politics of the opposition inauthentic and takes away from the actual groundwork that can be done by highlighting issues in the working of the government. The government has the right to exercise the presidential ordinance where it deems necessary. It is permitted by the Pakistani legal framework, however, a debate on parliamentary sovereignty can certainly become a part of the opposition’s narrative because engaging in totalitarian politics, though very symbolic of each political party, undermines the institutions and the parliamentary nature of our democracy.