Here we are! After 22 years of struggle Imran Khan finally has his heart’s desire – he has become Prime Minister. Although he is yet to officially take the oath as the leader of the country, congratulations – as well as advice and warnings – are pouring in. For Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and its followers, this is a moment to rejoice and consecrate.
It is fair to say that all of Imran Khan’s efforts have led up to this triumphant moment; however the real trials and tribulation lay ahead. He has arrived at the helm of affairs on the back of optimistically high hopes and sweeping promises; it will not be easy to deliver on them. Furthermore, as the ruckus in the National Assembly on the moment of election demonstrates, the opposition will not make anything easy for him.
Perhaps that realization is sinking in; the Imran Khan that took to the podium yesterday was different from the one who addressed the nation on Election Day. Visibly irritated by the commotion, the Prime Minister dialed back on the conciliation that he demonstrated in his inaugural speech to the nation; reverting almost to the tone employed during the campaign.
Undoubtedly, the Pakistan Muslim League –Nawaz (PML-N) was being especially rowdy, but dealing with such machinations with grace is part of the job description. Furthermore, the attempts by the Speaker of the NA to cut short the speech of the Opposition Leader, Shehbaz Sharif, go against the norms of the Parliament – the Speaker must be neutral.
Perhaps it is unsurprising that the most measured and articulate speech of the day belonged to Bilawal Bhutto, the co-chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Notwithstanding the PPP’s sudden refusal to back Shehbaz Sharif for the Prime Minister slot, the party has emerged as a strong opposition party.
However, after this decision, the prospects of a united and strong opposition seem limited.