Pakistani voters and nation are tired of politics of agitation and dharna. But it seems undemocratic parties PTI-L (lotas), PAT and PPP as well as some in the third umpire believe it is still a useful tool. Imagine PTI-L, PAT, PPP, TLYR, JI, Military and Judiciary all have ganged up to beat one party down. But despite all this, they are standing and that resilience is appreciated by Punjab voters as they sympathize with them as evident from recent surveys. Since 2008 Dr. Zardari has presented himself as a champion of democracy and compromise but all that was because it suited him. Until 2013 he was in government and after 2013 he needed favors from PML N to continue governing in Sind and deal with corruption cases. Asif Ali Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, and Imran Khan as civilian dictators are most ardent practitioners of nazariya zaroorat as the only ideology they pursue is sherwani zindabad.
We have always believed that role of the opposition is to channel policy and politics based on ideology rather than allow the government to run unimpeded. PTI, not to be confused with PTI-L led by Ik, managed by JKT and funded by the corrupt oligarch, is the only party that worked as the real opposition and we were able to achieve some results for our political agenda. Here is a short list of our political achievements while in the opposition:
1. PTI supported the military operation against TTP while PTI-L, PPP, and PML N all hesitated to give support to it.
2. PTI demanded local government elections and implementation of SC order about it despite all efforts by PTI-L, PPP, and PML N to delay it as much as possible.
3. PTI demanded electoral reforms right after 2013 general elections long before PTI-L planned a scripted dharna. Eventually, reforms happened after a loss of a lot of lives and unnecessary chaos in the country. PTI-L, PPP, and PML N all tried to delay these reforms.
4. After Panama Papers revelations, PTI demanded the creation of a Judicial Commission by SC using suo muto powers after PTI-L, PML N and PPP all failed to form it in the parliament. The JIT was a distorted form of our demand but that is what eventually happened.
5. PTI opposed demands for the resignation of an elected PM and took a position that SC should send him home if found guilty of corruption. PTI-L and PPP both demanded the resignation of an elected PM. Eventually, our position prevailed and elected PM was sent home by SC.
6. PTI has taken a position since 2013 that the elected government should complete its constitutional term. PTI-L has been asking elections since 2013 and PPP are also now exposed as they take a u-turn and demand an early election. Inshallah, our position will prevail and the election will be held on time.
7. PTI rejected any undemocratic adventure including technocratic government. We will also oppose if the interim government was given unconstitutional extension using doctrine of necessity as a justification to derail next general elections. The constitution is very clear on it whether elections are held based on already certified census or a provisional census through a constitutional amendment, if passed.
8. PTI demanded NAB chairman appointed through the constitutional provision while PTI-L & JI demanded SC appoint that person. Eventually, it was done constitutionally.
We could not have succeeded achieving above without support from our PTI grassroots activists, our journalist friends, intellectuals, oped writers, ex-servicemen, former judges, and former bureaucrats. So it was a coalition that worked on the above political agenda and we hope it will continue for the long term.
But despite these successes we also had failures:
1. Electoral reforms are not far-reaching enough but more cosmetic in nature
2. Military courts were given extension despite our opposition to it.
3. Local Government was not empowered and resources were not provided to them
4. Parliament remained irrelevant and non-functional. And the main reason for this failure was that PTI MNAs who were elected on PTI vote bank but served interests of PTI-L (lotas). We are aware of all those and these MNAs should not expect support from PTI for 2018 general elections.
5. Details of CPEC remain shrouded in mystery despite our demand to make it more transparent.
6. PTI government in KP turned out to work on PTI-L agenda of mauroosi siasat and reports of corruption in government contracts. We did force them to deliver on some promises but it is still an average success.
We are working on our manifesto for 2018 general elections for PTI. We will only make promises that are deliverable and not make outlandish claims as is the norm in PTI-L, PPP and PML N. Inshallah we will make sure to deliver on those promises in next five years if the mandate is given to PTI by the nation.
By Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi