Opposition needs to rethink its strategy

 The divided opposition is a blessing for PTI government 

The open split in the opposition alliance is a good news for PTI government but big set back for opposition.  The opposition stand divided. After ANP, PPP has also parted way with PDM. The opposition now divided into two clear factions.

PPP and ANP on one side and PML-N led PDM on the other side. The eight parties including PML-N, JUI-F, BNP-M, NP and PKMAP might continue to operate as PDM. The opposition forces stand divided not only in parliament but also on the streets.

Opposition needs to reconsider its political strategy against the government. Both sides need to realise that the divisions among opposition forces will take opposition no where. At the end, both PML-N and PPP might be real losers. Both sides have taken hard lines which needs to be altered. The accusation and counter accusation are not going to solve anything. Instead it might make matters worse and more complicated. 

Opposition needs a fresh start. A serious brainstorming is required to come up with a new strategy. A strategy which is acceptable for all the component parties. One needs to understand that alliances only survive when component parties are ready to accommodate the interests of each other. When one party or group of parties within an alliance tried to defend the its own interests, the such alliance doomed to fail. 

The current strategy has tear the PDM apart. A more realistic strategy is needed to make PDM a successful alliance.  

Whether opposition wants to bring in vote of no confidence against the government or rather wants to topple the government through street power, it needs unity and cooperation. In both cases, united opposition can pose a challenge to the PTI government. The divided opposition will not be able to play effective role both in the parliament and outside.

PDM has now essentially broken apart completely, with the various parties making up the alliance that had pledged to oust the government exchanging ugly accusations. It was on the cards for some time.

One thing becomes clear weeks ago that PDM cannot work as an alliance due to the serious differences on strategy. The differences on resignations from parliament and provincial assembles were of serious nature. The leadership failed to overcome these differences.

The crisis of confidence between PML-N and PPP also aggravated the situation. The fact is that the PDM has been struggling for some time. The latest developments prove it cannot operate together without doing a proper soul searching and figuring out that what this infighting has achieved so far.

Sooner or later, opposition parties will realise that they need each other and it was a mistake to split the alliance. The opposition parties have time to think calmly and rationally about the future course of action. A strong opposition is an integral part of a parliamentary system. Opposition keeps check on the government. 

This is not the way to go about politics. While the PPP’s recent decisions may have compromised on several matters and hurt the feelings and interests of other parties, perhaps the matter could have been sorted out internally, rather than issuing letters, which quickly reached the media and made any possibility of reconciliation impossible.

The PML-N also needs to think about its policy. Had it boycotted the Daska by-election, it would have given over another seat to the PTI. In this sense, resignations from the assemblies should not come swiftly or without proper thought. Most importantly of all, rather than competing on the question of who has faced greater victimisation, the PDM needs to sit together and try and sort out its affairs, if this is at all possible.

The split in the opposition is a blessing for PTI government. The PTI government is jubilant. The divided opposition suits it. The PTI government was under pressure as the opposition builds its momentum against different activities. The government was nervous about the planned long march towards Islamabad.

The opposition provided two big relives to the government. First, opposition alliance PDM postponed the long march and sit-in. Second, the split in the PDM takes away the pressure from the government and now it feels much more secure.

The divided opposition in the parliament means that government of PM Imran Khan feel no immediate threat of vote of no –confidence either in National Assembly or in the Punjab Assembly. Without the help of PML-N, JUI-F and other smaller opposition parties in the national assembly, PPP is not in a position to bring in the vote of no confidence.

Same is the situation in Punjab Assembly. PML-N is the largest party both in the national assembly and Punjab assembly. That is why; PM Imran khan is not feeling immediate threat from disgruntled PTI leader Jahangir Tareen.

What is happening now could have been very damaging to the ruling party a couple of months ago when opposition was united. The 08 PTI MNAs and nearly 21 MPAs are openly supporting Jahangir Tareen. These numbers are enough to bring down the PTI government in Islamabad and Punjab with the help of united opposition.

That is one of the reasons that Jahangir Tareen and his group are not adopting an aggressive approach against PTI government. The political situation is not conducive for the confrontation when opposition is not united. The political situation might change in coming months. But at the moment, PM Imran Khan is a relieved man as divided opposition poses no serious challenge to him. 

                                                      Khalid Bhatti 


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