No-confidence motion and political polarisation

The fears of political violence have increased since both the government and opposition announced public rallies in Islamabad

The vote of no-confidence against the government is part of a democratic process. The opposition has the constitutional right to move the motion of no-confidence. The government also has the right to defend itself and contact the allies and other parties. And all this could be done democratically and within parliamentary norms and practices.

But it seems that government has decided to mobilise its supporters on the streets. The government wants to show to its MNAs and general public that PTI is still a popular party and enjoys the mass support. The government wants to build pressure on the streets to keep the parliamentary party intact. The political confrontation and  violence might help the PTI for a while but surely it will weaken the democracy and political parties.   

It seems that government wants to stop its dissident members of national assembly to cast their votes during the vote of no-confidence. Now the government wants to put public pressure on the MNAs through the public gatherings. The opposition is claiming the support of nearly two dozen lawmakers of ruling PTI. The PTI has the right to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the lawmakers who wants to defect under the defection clause of the constitution.

The political temperature is rising in Pakistan as the day of vote of no-confidence is approaching. The government ministers are openly threatening the ruling party lawmakers to face consequences and violence if anybody tried to vote against PM Imran Khan in the national assembly.

Fears of a violent conflict between the ruling PTI and the opposition political parties are growing after the PDM and PTI have given the calls for public gatherings in Islamabad. 

Both the government and opposition have announced to organise public rallies in Islamabad before the vote of no-confidence. The government has announced to organise a huge public gathering on March 27 while PDM has announced a long march that will enter into federal capital on March 25. The fears are increasing that such hostile atmosphere might lead to political violence.  

One can understand that there is lot on the stake on both sides. Both sides are doing whatever needs to be done to achieve their political objectives. If the political forces resort to political violence to solve their differences and problems then democracy will be the real victim of this chaos. It is the responsibility of the government to lower the political temperatures. But instead of lower the political temperature, the PTI government is increasing the political temperature.

The ruling PTI has asked its lawmakers not to attend the proceeding of the national Assembly on voting day. The government ministers are threatening the members of National Assembly (MNAs) of the ruling party to face consequences if anyone tried to change loyalty and decide to defect to opposition.

The statement from Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry that anyone who wanted to vote for the no-trust motion would have to pass through a crowd of PTI supporters on their way to and from parliament betrays his party leadership’s desperation to use any tool, including the threat of violence, to defeat the motion. It is sad that the ruling party has brought a constitutional battle out of parliament and onto the streets, ignoring the potentially catastrophic consequences for the political system and economy.

It is pointless to wonder whether these are just threats or will actually translate into some sort of untoward action. When there are charged crowds, it becomes difficult for anyone to control the consequences. Not to be left behind, the opposition, too, is not taking this lightly and PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman has also announced that there will be a long march to Islamabad starting on March 23 and a sit-in till the vote of no-confidence is complete.

With the political temperatures this high, and speeches from all sides just adding fuel to a burning fire, just the thought of a clash between PTI activists and opposition activists on  March 27 should be enough of a reason to worry about. We have seen in past that how the political violence and confrontation when get out of control lead to a military intervention. That sort of situation must be avoided.

Nothing good can come out of two opposing sets of charged crowds in one space. In this situation, the onus is on the sitting government to show restraint, curb its enthusiasm for toxicity and tries to work matters through by urging dialogue and peace. That, however, seems to be far from what the PTI government is thinking.

This confrontation and violent methods to solve the political crisis will not solve anything. the crisis is certainly to intensify and deepen if situation led to the violence on the streets of federal capital. Both the democracy and economy will be the real victims of this political madness. The people of Pakistan are already suffering due to the ever rising inflation, poverty and unemployment. Pakistan needs political stability and inclusive economic growth to address the core issues faced by the masses. 

One hopes better sense prevails at least in the government corridors failing which there will be little incentive for the opposition to call off its sit-in either. Both sides need to take a step back and cancel their plans, which may also interfere with the vote on the resolution or, intentionally or otherwise, keep the parliamentarians from voting according to their conscience.

Let the lawmakers expressed their free will and political expression in the assembly without any pressure.

                                                                                The Editor

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