To renew one last shot at making some semblance of a united opposition, representatives of the opposition parties had gathered together at Nawaz Sharif’s Muree residence yesterday to sort out an agreement over a joint candidate for the September 4 presidential election.
This meeting aimed at uniting the divided opposition parties is an attempt to follow up on the now distant dream that some had, right at the end of the elections, of a strong united opposition standing together to give Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) a run for its money. For a few fleeting days, fuelled by anger over alleged rigging in the elections, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), along with other smaller parties, stood shoulder to shoulder, to keep PTI in check. Together, with 43 seats for PPP and 64 for PML-N, they had the numbers to give PTI a hard time, and may be, if luck favoured them, even win the spot for President or Speaker.
Unfortunately, blame it on luck or fate or clash of egos, but a united opposition does not seem to be in the cards for Naya Pakistan. That dream was dashed quickly when disputes rose up amongst the parties, and PPP did not cast its vote as promised for PML-N’s candidates for Prime Minister or Chief Minister. To show further array, PPP unilaterally forwarded its candidate, Aitezaz Ahsan for President, a choice with whom PML-N has disagreements with.
However, this meeting of the Pakistan Alliance, the representatives of the opposition, shows that PPP and PML-N have not yet finalised their choices for president, so this short-lived marriage between the two may have a chance of being resuscitated yet. While the post of President is mostly ceremonial, a President chosen by the opposition would send a powerful message to the government and to voters that the opposition parties still hold influence. If PPP and PML-N can put aside their differences and compromise on a mutually agreeable candidate, there might yet still be a chance that the divided parties can come together as an opposition, and serve their united strength for future parliamentary issues too.
A united opposition is the best check in a democratic structure, and would serve as the fittest revenge for the loss in the elections. All parties need to set aside their petty differences to focus on a joint candidate, in order to wield influence for future political matters.