Mind your language, please
The kind of political atmosphere that has developed since PTI’s rise to prominence, not just to power, is bad for just about everything and everybody for a variety of reasons. One, it does nobody any favours, least of all the government itself, when the primes minister speaks in a manner that he did while inaugurating a CPEC-related motorway project on Monday. Since the moment was about projects and roads, and especially since the Chinese ambassador was reportedly in attendance, one expected to be spared the usual “No NRO” speech that the nation is treated to every time the prime minister makes an outing. Yet not only was there a lot of “No NRO,” he also chewed into the opposition a lot more than usual. And nobody was laughing, except senior government officials eager to please the prime minister perhaps, when Imran Khan mimicked Bilawal Bhutto’s Urdu accent.
Two, such antics hardly harm the opposition, especially when everybody is so used to hearing the same remarks over and over again. If anything, Bilawal has been enjoying a wave of social media sympathy since immediately after Imran’s speech. This ought to have been clear to almost anybody yet, somehow, such facts continue to dodge the prime minister as well as his many special advisors. And three, and perhaps most importantly, such rhetoric no doubt further alienates the opposition, on top of the dozens of arrests and corruption cases of course, and you don’t have to be prime minister to understand just what kind of strain that can put on the process of legislation in Parliament. So ordinary people, whose interests governments are primarily meant to serve through effective legislation, become the biggest losers.
Only very recently, the government had to withdraw as many as 11 presidential ordinances, which it muscled through the House, when the opposition threatened a no-confidence motion against the deputy speaker. How does the government expect this particular, rare example of reconciliation in the national assembly to play out now? Already PTI’s performance is not much to write home about in areas that really matter. Foreign relations stand more or less where PML-N left them, especially the matter getting Uncle Sam to resume the free aid, and the less said about the economy the better. If, somewhat correctly, the finance and foreign ministries are hamstrung because of the rot they inherited, what is the excuse about failure to legislate?
Eventually, surely, the government will realise that taking the opposition along is an essential requirement of representative government. But the longer it takes, the more it will paralyse the whole system. And, as always, the common man will continue to pay the price for a direction-less government trying to find its feet.
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