What possible options united opposition have against the PTI government?

Can opposition forge unity on strategy and tactics of a anti-government movement

Finally, the 11 opposition parties will meet in a  five star hotel in federal capital Islamabad to draw up the plan and strategy to oust the PTI government tomorrow. PPP will host the opposition APC. PML-N, ANP, JUI-F and other opposition parties are expected to attend the APC.
The main agenda of  September 20 APC is to discuss how to go about a movement against the sitting government, and take the decisions needed to achieve this goal. Realistically speaking, The opposition parties have limited options available to oust the government or to force the fresh elections.
The performance of opposition parties is not satisfactory in last two years both inside the parliament and outside. 
The defeat of the opposition parties in joint session of parliament despite having clear majority called by PTI government  to pass the FATF related laws and others has raised serious questions on the strength and ability of the opposition parties. The government passed the legislation without much trouble. It was seen as a set back for opposition parties by many.   
There are few options available to opposition parties.One is  in house change through the no confidence motion. The second id mass resignation from National and provincial assemblies. Third is mass protest movement on the streets. Fourth the massive sit-in in Islamabad involving hundreds of thousand of people to create constitutional and administrative crisis.
 If the opposition wants to force the government to announce early elections than it will need  to use the option of  mass resignation from the national assembly or from all the assemblies to create a constitutional and political crisis in the country. 
The question is whether the powers that be allowed such a political chaos in the country. And what guarantee opposition will have for the immediate fresh elections. Both the main  opposition parties PML-N and PPP might not agree with this option. It might be used as the last option but not the first one. Both PML-N and PPP has lot on the stake. 
The other reason is that if opposition parties decides to resign from the parliament, there is possibility that some members might refused to resign and join government benches.    
Under the present circumstances, united opposition has one viable option to start with,  to organise mass public meeting across the country.  Through the mass contact campaign, opposition might be able to mobilise its forces and put pressure on the government.
 The public meetings and protest rallies might not pose immediate threat to PTI government. But it will be good start for the opposition parties. 

And if the PTI government decided to use force against united opposition to stop it organising the protest rallies than it might provide further impetus in the movement. 
The successful mass public rallies gatherings will give confidence to opposition workers and supporters. It is most likely that united opposition might announce a country wide plan of mass contact rallies and gatherings. We might see a more aggressive opposition coming out of the APC.  

The opposition parties knows that the real strength or driving force behind the PTI government is power that be. The powers that really matter in Pakistan are standing firmly behind the PM imran Khan led PTI government. 
In this situation, the option of in house change and no confidence motion is not going to be viable option. The opposition tested the waters when it moved the no confidence motion against senate chairman Sadiq Sanjrani. Despite having the clear majority of nearly 30 senators, the chairman senate survived. 
In house change can become an option if powers that be withdraw support to current government and allow the opposition to use its full potential and numerical strength in the parliament. PTI might not be able to face the opposition for long inside the parliament and on the streets without the active and full support of the powerful establishment. 

The biggest question is can the opposition parties will be able to draw up a common strategy and plan to oust the PTI government. The divide among opposition parties are clear on the question of protest strategy and plan. Both the largest political parties PML-N and PPP are not ready to go all out against the government.  
They will only go all out when they feel confident to oust the government and get the fresh elections. The other reason seems to be that they still want to give some more time to this government to expose the shortcomings and incapacity of PTI government. But Parties like JUI-F, PKMAP and others want to go all out and not seems  ready to give more time to government. 
There is also mistrust between the two largest parties and smaller ones. JUI-F is not happy because both PML-N and PPP kept distance from JUI-F led sit-in in Islamabad last year. Both the parties did not mobilised its supporters in big numbers and limited to token participation. JUI-F sit-in was ended without achieving its primary task of ousting the PTI government. 
It took main  opposition parties long to satisfy JUI-F chief Maulana Fazal ur Rehman and to ensured him of a united opposition strategy. 
The biggest achievement of this APC will be unity among opposition parties. The disunity among the opposition parties has been a blessing for PTI government so far. A united opposition despite all the obstacles and objective difficulties can pose problems for the government on both at streets and in the parliament. 

The first task of the opposition APC will be overcoming differences over strategy to come up with common agenda. The unity among opposition ranks will be first success of this APC. 
The second success might be possibility of a new charter of democracy between opposition parties. It will be big step forward if that can be agreed.
The third success can be a common minimum agenda. If the opposition can include the main issues faced by the masses in their minimum common agenda, it might give a new hope to working masses. 
The solutions to the problems like unemployment, inflation, poverty and falling incomes. Many people might join opposition if it takes up the real issues of the people. A clear stand on democratic, political and basic human rights. The democratic and political rights becomes meaningless without the economic rights. The issue of economic rights needs to be discussed. 
The opposition must come up with a reformist agenda to reform the social, political ans economic structure. Without all this, it will be difficult for the opposition to mobilise the masses.   
                                                Khalid Bhatti 

1 comment:

  1. Very informative and educative writing. APC will be good preside but cannot do anything


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