Leaders of several opposition parties held a meeting at Punjab House, Lahore, on Friday at the invitation of PML-N President Mian Nawaz Sharif to discuss the multiple crises the country was facing and to find a way to oust the incumbent corruption-ridden federal government. The participants were unanimous in their view that, under any and all circumstances, only constitutional means would be adopted in the removal of the government in line with the wishes of the people who would not accept another stint of military dictatorship. According to the media briefing by PML leader Ahsan Iqbal, the meeting agreed, in principle, to form a grand opposition alliance. Its actual formation would, however, take place after the leaders had obtained approval of their parties. A consensus was reached to struggle for early general elections and ensure proper implementation of judicial verdicts. The participants, apart from the host and his party top leadership, included Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Aftab Khan Sherpao, Qazi Hussain Ahmad, Sajid Mir, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Prof. Khurshid, Gohar Ayub Khan and Mir Hasil Bizenjo.

Pakistan is passing through a critical phase as never witnessed before. Corruption and mismanagement have virtually eroded every institution of the state and brought it to the edge of collapse. Under the present dispensation, there appears to be no hope of their resuscitation. Our sovereignty is being challenged every day. A brief lull in drone attacks has reached an end, without the meekest voice of protest either from the civilian leadership or the military hierarchy. The absence of any protest, let alone shooting down or chasing way of the alien aircraft, would prove most devastating to the confidence of the public which had, once again, come to believe that their sovereignty would be defended both at the political and military levels.

The agenda that the alliance, if it becomes a reality, has set before itself to accomplish is, clearly, too tall an order for it. If Mian Nawaz is really serious about having early elections, he would have to rope in other parties. The inclusion of the PML-Q would help a great deal in the success of any such exercise. The PML-N President must be ruing the day when he rejected the overtures of the PML-Q leadership to be re-integrated into his party, though apparently he continues to stick to the position that he would have no truck with that breakaway party. It is noteworthy that PML-Q head, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, said on the same day when Mian Nawaz was mooting the grand alliance idea with leaders of other parties, that if Mian Nawaz wanted elections at an early date, he should be getting in touch with him. He should take the cue and genuinely work for reconciliation.