JUI (F) Central Amir Maulana Fazalu Rehman is holding meetings and discussions with leaders of other opposition parties to garner support for realising his ambition of fresh polls. Apparently, opposition parties seem in agreement to hold multi-party conference after Eidul-Azha to agree on a line of action against the government. The recent visit of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to Lahore was interpreted that a grand opposition alliance is on cards. But senior intellectual PPP leader Aitizaz Ahsan dissolved this impression in thin in an interview on a private TV Chaneel, casting doubt on the credibility of PML-N President Shabaz Sharif.
Maulana Fazalu Rehman met with Shabaz Sharif on Monday in Lahore. The meeting lasted for 90 minutes in which adoption of common line of action against the government may have been discussed. JUI (F) Chief may have tried to get firm assurance from the leader of the opposition in National Assembly to remain steadfast this time and not let him down as he did on the eve of Azadi March.
Senior PML-N leaders including Ahsan Iqbal had frequently described the PTI government “incompetent” and urge the political forces to unite and get rid of it. But in none of the joint statements, which had been issued after earlier All Parties Conferences, opposition revealed any economic plan to address the basic problems of the people such as unemployment, poverty, breaking trap of public debt, provision of better education and healthcare. No convincing rebuttal has come from the leadership of PML-N and PPP on the statement of Minister for power Division Omer Ayub Khan in Senate about highly expensive thermal power generation agreements of the past, which rocked the industrial base of the country and pushed down ranking of the country to lowest 147th rung on World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index. The current trap of power sector circular debt is the direct impact of shady electricity generation and purchase deals made by the previous two governments. Electricity generation from clean and cheap renewable sources of hydel, wind and solar was not a priority. Three big hydropower projects have been launched by the present government, which will provide direct employment of 20,000 in addition to creating numerous job opportunities by boosting economic activities in the hitherto stagnated agriculture, industry and business. By simplifying regulatory procedures alone, the present government has improved it to 108 slots.
During the last PML-N government multilateral donor agencies the Word Bank and International Monetary Fund time and again drew its attention to the macroeconomic imbalance of bulging current account deficit, unsustainable public debt and extravagance in government spending. These worsening economic indicators were highlighted in the joint report of the World Bank and International monetary Fund, titled “South Asia Focus-Fall 2017. It was released just before the meeting of these multilateral donor agencies in Washington, which former Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal was going to attend. The same reservations may have been expressed about Pakistan’s economy, which prompted the minster to make an angry outburst in a press conference at Pakistan’s embassy in Washington. Credit must be given to the present government by reducing the current account deficit by 74 percent, mitigating the fall out of coronavirus pandemic on economy, and reducing the estimated cost of Railway mainline ML-1 project to $7.2 billion, which was agreed by PML-N government at $9.2 billion.
In the current volatile situation in the region Pakistan cannot afford political instability and opposition must be mindful of it. The sarcastic terminologies of selected, incompetent and illegitimate government will not only damage the image of government but opposition as well. People want early solution of their basic problems, which the government must address. They are not interested in the smear campaign of the opposition.