ISLAMABAD – The recent split within the Pakistan Democratic Opposition Movement (PDM) has increased Pakistan’s ruling political fortune Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) but it has yet to work.
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government sees itself in a comfortable position following the refusal of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to apply for its mass resignation from the Assembly at an important PDM meeting.
This important political development not only threw the Opposition’s unity into disarray but also the PDM appears to be losing momentum from the anti-government protest movement it gained as a result of its candidate’s victory over Islamabad in the March 3 Senate elections.
In fact, this momentum has been destroyed by the defeat of his candidate in the election for Senate Chair.
For the ruling party, the threat of a long march is now almost over after a split in the PDM, the 10-party alliance of the Opposition, has postponed a scheduled March 26 anti-government rally.
PPP leader and former President Asif Ali Zardari at a meeting of the chairmen of the PDM component parties on Tuesday had set a condition that his party would submit his resignation only if Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif, is still alive. exiled in London, will return to the country to launch joint efforts. These conditions are unlikely to be met and this means that the ruling party can automatically avoid the political crisis which it can face by mass resignation.
Previously, PTI has responded to revenge against the Opposition in the election of Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Senate after facing a humiliating defeat in the Senate election in the general seat of Islamabad.
PDM joint candidate Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani has defeated PTI’s Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in this election even though the latter has a majority in the National Assembly – the Senate election college for Islamabad.
At the same time, the ruling party has strengthened its power in both Houses of Parliament.
The Prime Minister’s successful move to secure a vote of confidence from the National Assembly, after his party candidate lost to PDM Gilani, has boosted the morale of the PTI government. It has proven that it enjoys a majority in the Lower House of Parliament.
The victory of the candidate nominated by Sadiq Sanjrani’s government in the March 12 Senate Chair election contradicts the fact that the ruling party has fewer seats in the 100-member DPR than the Opposition combined has also given the ruling alliance confidence that it can sail smoothly through the important statutes of this House too.
Previously, it faced problems to pass a government-sponsored bill in the Opposition-dominated Upper House of Parliament.
Despite all this, the government still felt that the long march of the Opposition Party could become a hurdle for them as they struggled to steer the country out of the economic crisis.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed in the past has expressed concern about these protests. Now, the government thinks it is safe from this threat too with Sheikh Rashid himself praising the decision to postpone the scheduled long march.
Chairman Jamiat Ulem-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman reportedly said that the other nine parties in the Opposition alliance would form a joint strategy in the long march and block the resignation even if the PPP’s Central Executive Committee decided otherwise.
The PPP now says that its CEC will decide on the issue of resignation but it is unlikely that the party will agree to grant a resignation from either the National Assembly alone or the entire Assembly.
Without the participation of PPP, which is also the ruling party in Sindh, it is unlikely that the PDM will succeed in generating momentum on the issue of resignation and the long march which is part of its strategy to overthrow PM Imran Khan from power.
The ruling party wisely and on time has also announced the creation of a Parliamentary Committee for electoral reform by inviting all parties representing Parliament to come and be part of its efforts to “make the next election transparent and free of allegations of fraud. . “
For now, the PTI has survived a political crisis on two fronts – mass resignations and a long march – and senior members and ministers are seen celebrating the victory. But this victory could prove to be too short as the party still wasn’t over.
It must be seen how the PDM will revive itself in the future to start a strong agitational movement against the government.
In addition, rising inflation, rising prices for petroleum products and essential commodities, governance problems and an inability to carry out structural reforms in key sectors will continue to overshadow the ruling party in the future.
It must be seen how Prime Minister Imran Khan and his party will tackle this problem and keep his vote bank intact especially in Punjab which has remained the stronghold of the PML-N Opposition for decades.