ISLAMABAD: The already mercurial political temperature is likely to rise further as the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the government it runs at the centre do not seem to be in a mood to hold out an olive branch to a fuming Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf to ward off its upcoming protest plans.
The PTI’s announcement to shut down the federal capital and wage a protest movement on October 30 may have sent shockwaves in the PML-N’s ranks, yet the ruling party is unwilling to soften up and reconcile with Imran Khan’s party.
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Background discussions with insiders in both the camps suggest that the two parties stand poles apart as far as their political perspectives are concerned.
While the PTI’s protest preparations are in full swing, the PML-N is no mood to budge either. Following a series of consultative meetings with party leaders from the federal capital and its Punjab chapter, the PML-N leadership remains firm on its decision not to use backdoor channels to avoid the looming confrontation. Instead, the party is bracing for protests on the set date.
A PTI leader, requesting not to be named, said the possibility of backdoor contacts between the PTI and PML-N on the Panamagate remained open till the federal cabinet approved the Commission of Inquiry Bill 2016 on August 31.
“That was the last nail in the coffin,” the source commented. After the cabinet quietly approved the bill that was initially not part of the meeting’s agenda and was included later, Imran Khan’s party looked for other options.
“It’s like we have been taken for a ride – their (government’s) intentions are crystal clear – they can’t be trusted anymore,” the source commented. “Now we have burnt the boats and there is no way to retreat.”
On the other hand, the PML-N insiders pass the buck on the PTI. A PML-N stalwart, requesting anonymity, said the federal government would not have introduced the Commission of Inquiry Bill 2016, had the PTI conceded to ‘just one demand’ – not to include Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s name in the ToRs.
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The federal government, according to him, was compelled to have this bill approved by the federal cabinet and moved it in parliament on account of the inflexible PTI stance on the ToRs.
“It is a documented fact that a deadlock persisted because they (the PTI) wanted the ToRs to be person-specific while we wanted the ToRs to be generic. Had the PTI agreed to just this one demand, things could have been very different.”
PML-N bigwig and Leader of the House in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq believed there is hardly any reason for the ruling party to reconcile with the PTI.
“This would only be possible if they stop issuing threats and give up their highhanded methods. It’s the PTI that is responsible for plunging itself into political isolation,” he told The Express Tribune.
“Parliament comprising all political parties but the PTI passed a unanimous resolution to condemn Indian forces’ brutalities in IOK. The PTI was one of those opposition parties that insistently demanded convening of the joint session and when the occasion arrived, they boycotted it. Even their allies condemned this decision. This party is trapped in a self-created mess.”
When asked about the reported escalation of tension between the PML-N and the PTI after the arrival of the Commission of Inquiry Bill 2016, he said, “This observation is not valid. This bill was moved after the PTI closed the doors of dialogue and negotiations due to its stubborn and inflexible stance.
“To counter the federal government’s bill, the PPP has moved its own bill the Panama Papers Inquiry Bill in Senate. This is the way to counter political moves in parliament through wise manoeuvres instead of threatening to shut down a city that is your federal capital.”
Courtesy : Express Tribune