Ripples in Punjab

Politics in Punjab is on the move. The PTI–PML-Q combine is now contemplating ousting Deputy Speaker Dost Mazari. A no-confidence motion is on its way, and his replacement has also been finalised. Apparently, he is in the line of fire owing to his ruling that torpedoed the coalition candidate’s election as chief executive, and subsequently got a flak from the Supreme Court too. With the ruling dispensation now comfortably placed with simple majority, it can show the impugned incumbent the door; but what fissures it would entail is anybody’s guess. The inability of Mazari to plead his ruling, and his refusal to appear before the Court, has made him a spent force, and it is quite likely that the PML-N too would not rise to his defence anymore.

Punjab has once again turned into a hotbed of activity in the wake of Pervez Elahi becoming chief minister. The filler that the Federation could opt for imposing Governor’s rule was also part of the ensuing tensions on the political mosaic. Nonetheless, it is a good sign that decency prevailed and the federal law minister dismissed such assumptions. The need of the hour is a working relationship between the federal and provincial government, and the bitter precedents of yesteryears must be avoided. The apex court had categorically stated that there should not be any compromise on governance, nor any impediment set on its path.

The election for the new speaker and deputy speaker will surely lead to some fireworks on the floor of the house. The onus is on the legislators from both sides to uphold parliamentary supremacy and not let differences of opinion graduate into brawls and lawlessness. The country is already mired in extreme instability, and pushing Punjab in a new wave of acrimony would be myopic. The flash floods during monsoon, power outage, and spiraling price hikes are issues that warrant immediate attention, and not personality cult businesses. The PTI’s thrust to relaunch welfare schemes and provide instant succor to the needy is a step in the right direction, and requires walk the talk.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2022.

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