After the vote


Imran Khan has bounced back from the stunning Senate upset by clinching a token of approval from his fellow parliamentarians. No qualms about that. Prime Minister and his team are over the moon (as they should be) at seeing the house reposing confidence in him in “a moment where you are either with Khan or against Khan.” Political pundits are, however, calling for an increasingly hostile joint opposition. Amid this hullabaloo of leaked videos, (former president’s) veiled attacks at the kingmakers and heated elections, the rest of Pakistan sits very tightly over which direction the fuse will light.
The next dramatic showdown would be the Senate chairman’s election where the opposition enjoys a 53-47 upper hand. Would PM Khan be able to take another wicket with his parliamentary numbers? Then again, is the much-talked-about issue of no-confidence vote staring his government in the face. Going by history, the opposition has twice lost passing such a vote despite being greatly unified (against the Senate chairman in 2019 and the then prime minister in 1989). If Benazir Bhutto could stave off defeat at the hands of a united presidency, army chief and intelligence agencies–that too, with a slim majority–PM Khan might enjoy a bright prospect.
The tumultuous week has a lot of lessons for the opposition alliance if it is still steadfast on its agenda for Khan’s scalp. Instead of running off at the mouth, they would be better off making key decisions regarding its future course. They must be looking at plans beyond public mobilisation and long marches.
Quite interestingly, the treasury benches are in an even graver need of being chastened. Nothing succeeds like success. It is high time that Islamabad focuses on delivery and governance. The jibe has always been at the previous governments. Instead of knuckling down on their corruption and tooting the horn of their incompetence, PM Khan should double down on governance, governance and governance. Delivery on campaign promises (one education and healthcare for all people, new investment vistas, five million houses, 10 million jobs, $200 billion back from foreign accounts) needs to be seen on the ground.