“General Faiz will become the next army chief.”
This was the biggest ‘argument’ that many people put forth in response to a tweet of mine this afternoon.
“After taking on the role, he will collude with Imran Khan to rig the 2023 elections through the electronic voting machines and Imran Khan will once again be at the helm for the next five years.”
The other reasons are the economy, inflation and the helplessness of the masses, so people want to get rid of Imran Khan at all costs. And so, the opposition’s no-confidence move is the right step and is well-timed, and it wouldn’t weaken the movement for the supremacy of the Constitution if a new coalition government continues to function for a year or a year-and-a-half.
Let’s delve into the details of it.
There are two possibilities:
- Transparent elections take place following the success of the no-trust move, with the new government confidently resolving the issues with a fresh mandate.
- Following the success of the motion, the new government continues to work until the tenure of the assemblies, i.e. August 2023 and then the caretaker rule may organise fresh elections resulting into a new rule.
The real problem is about choosing one of these two possibilities.
If elections are held immediately after the no confidence motion, then the issues facing the masses can be addressed. But if the current assemblies have to complete their tenure after the vote of no confidence, then there are some ground realities that we must think about.
If the incumbent assemblies complete their tenure following the no-trust move, then the timeframe will be adequate for Imran Khan to wash the stains of his ill performance for his voters, as well as burden the troubled coalition government with the debris of the past five years
The time between April 2022 and August 2023 comes down to a total of a year and five months. During this period, the diversified coalition government (which could comprise almost all parties of the country except for the Imran Khan group) will have to overcome internal differences, a tug of war and any desires for profitable posts – so as to accomplish the following:
- Improve the economy
- Control inflation
- Reduce international isolation
- Bring down the budget deficit
- Decrease the trade deficit
- Provide support to the plunging rupee
- Fulfill the complex conditions of the IMF
- Bring down prices of petrol and power
- Overcome terrorism
- Resolve the energy crisis
- Forge a relationship with the judiciary and media and meet the expectations of the masses
- Legislate for accountability, elections and the media
- Appoint a new army chief or extend the tenure of the existing one
- Boost tax revenues
- Prepare to present the new budget
The new government will not only have to overcome the issues left behind by the Imran-led rule but will also have to provide relief to the masses to prove they were better than the former.
It is almost impossible to achieve these targets in a time span of one year and five months.
In case of immediate elections, Imran Khan and his companions will have to bear the burden of their failure, but if the incumbent assemblies complete their tenure following the no-trust move, then the aforementioned timeframe will be adequate for Imran Khan to wash the stains of his ill performance for his voters as well as burden the troubled coalition government with the debris of the past five years.
Also, on what moral grounds will a government comprising Imran Khan’s former ministers and members of the party blame Imran for the failures and credit themselves for the successes?
The only way to take the path of constitutional and civilian supremacy is to either let Imran Khan complete his term or organise immediate polls and hand over power to the succeeding party in case of success of the no trust move.
But if, after the motion, the opposition remains unable to overcome their desire to avail the half term, then it won’t be able to resolve any major issues nor would it succeed in materialising its dream of constitutional and civilian supremacy.
Now let’s look at the other side of the picture. What will happen if Imran Khan completes a five-year term? The first argument is that this government was formed as a result of rigged elections, so there are no constitutional or legal grounds for it to remain. Accepted! But then the question is: why it was allowed to remain in power for the past four years and why weren’t these political parties united earlier?
When they continued to tolerate an unconstitutional, illegal and unethical rule for the past four years, then why are they now taking a risk to permit its leader – who is consistently losing credibility – to become a political martyr instead of letting him face defeat though elections?
Isn’t there a reason that we are witnessing a lot now? Is that ‘something’ so important as to throw away several years of constitutional and democratic struggle? One can only proceed with such a compromise if there is a visible guarantee that any door, window or chapter of an external intervention into the constitutional, democratic and political process has been closed forever. Or else, what will the politicians and the political parties get from this coal business?
Pakistan’s situation has deteriorated a lot, but the most worrying reality of all is that people now lack faith to the extent that they feel insecure regarding the appointment of the next army chief, and they believe that the circumstances will further worsen if General Faiz is given the coveted post – and that subsequently, violations of the constitution and human rights will take place with more intensity.
Let’s think about it and eliminate all interference in the areas of politics, judiciary, media and business. Perhaps, it is finally time to allow the process of political action and reaction in a natural way and at its own pace. To do so would be to uphold the actual interests of the nation and the masses.