Agitating non-issues

Most often humorous remarks leaves pleasing effect on human mind but sometimes it sparks unnecessary fiery debate and may even lead to unintended repercussion. Out of humour, Prime Minister Imran Khan may have said that agitation politics of Maulana Fazalu Rehman aimed at toppling the popularly elected government fall wit in the purview Article-6 of the Constitution that envisage high treason. He had not expressed any intention that his government really wants to bring charges against the JUI (F) Chief. But opposition parties did creating mountain out of mole exercise in the National Assembly Session.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari took the floor of National Assembly and said that it is not fair to level charges of treason against high profile political personalities. He questioned the escape of banned TTP spokesperson Ehsan Ullah Ehsan from the custody of security forces and asked the government to explain its position on the matter.

It merits mention that last PML-N government had wanted to appease this banned organisation by constituting a negotiating team led by the advisor of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Mr. Irfan Siddique. It was the same gentleman who glorified the chief of this terrorist organisation in a column published in a leading Urdu daily newspaper. No such explanation had ever been asked by PPP leadership from PML-N government.

A senior PML-N leader, Khwaja Mohammad Asif, in his speech at the floor of the house, said in angry tone that politicians do not need patriotism certificate from the Prime Minister and claimed that they have rendered meritorious services and sacrifices for democracy. JUI (F) member National Assembly Maulana Assad Mehmood challenged the government to dare initiate a treason case against his father. The tall claim giving sacrifices for democracy does not stand to litmus test in view of the past political history of the country.

PPP founding Chairman Z.A Bhutto political career started with his induction as junior minister in the federal cabinet of President Sikandar Mirza. He had held party position in Convention Muslim League. Likewise, nobody knew about PML-N Quid Nawaz Sharif before 1985 when he was inducted as revenue minster in the provincial cabinet of General Mian Ghulamm Giani provincial cabinet in Punjab. Had the existing towering politician rendered services for establishing true participatory democracy instead of obtaining and waiving off huge bank loans, building up stakes in cartels and overburdening people by imposing regressive taxes the country would have not landed in the current economic quagmire? The rotation of elected governments between two feudal and mercantile classes dominated mainstream political parties messed up the economy for which no quick-fix solution is available.

In the recent assessment, IMF Deputy Director Athanasios Arvanitis argued that no easy solution can be found for bailing out Pakistan’s economy of balance of payment crisis and piled up huge public debt. He was addressing a seminar in Karachi on managing the current economic crisis of Pakistan. These macroeconomic imbalances have been left as deadweight legacy by the last PPP and PML-N governments.

The other day Bilawal Bhutto Zardari lambasted the PTI government’s minsters for their absence from National Assembly session during discussion on crisis in agriculture sector. The point is valid but in which government implementation of long term policy of agriculture development and five year plans had been discarded. History tells that it had been done in the first PPP government during 1972-77. Same destructive treatment was done to manufacturing sector in addition to rushing a reckless policy of nationalization to discourage private sector investment, which had been hitherto serving as main engine of 7 percent plus economic growth and almost full employment level.

People want serious discussion on the basic problems in the parliament they are confronting such as vicious circle of poverty, snowballed problem of unemployment due to skewed priorities and policies of past elected government and food insecurity. No informed debate is done on these issues to assist the government to formulate short term and long term policies for addressing them.