‘Neutrals’ are Indeed Neutrals

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Ali Anwar

The rupee is on a rapid decline and the dollar is going up but the politicians are busy settling scores with each other

The recently held by-polls in Punjab have rightly proved that ‘neutrals’ were indeed neutral and their impartial role should be lauded by all quarters. The by-elections were held on 20 provincial assembly seats of Punjab and the ruling PML-N could win only four while the opposition party PTI grabbed 15 seats and one went to an independent candidate. The ruling PML-N accepted the result of these by-polls while PTI was also satisfied with the win of its candidates. Before the by-polls, Chairman PTI used to blame the Pakistani establishment for manipulating the elections as he talked about ‘Mr X and Mr Y’ repeatedly during the campaign. It is really unfortunate that our politicians blame the Pak Army for their own failures without having any proof. The by-poll results have proved that the elections were free and fair and that no one manipulated the process. The Election Commission of Pakistan should be appreciated for doing excellent arrangements. Similarly, the Pak Army should also be lauded for remaining neutral in the whole process. The troops of the army were deputed to control the law and order situation but we didn’t see the Pak Army inside the polling stations to avoid the criticism of the losing party.
It is a golden opportunity for all the politicians to resolve their differences without the mediation of the Pak Army. The military establishment has repeatedly said that they are apolitical in this whole scenario and now it is the responsibility of the political leadership to resolve their differences themselves. In the past, we have seen that the military leadership of that time intervened in the wish of politicians whenever they faced any tough situation. The incumbent military leadership led by Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has decided that they will not take any interest in the ongoing tussle of politicians only to get power. The political leadership has been exposed badly as they have proved that they are not able to resolve their differences themselves. After failing to resolve their differences, the politicians are being seen these days approaching the Supreme Court time and again. They are at loggerheads in the courts and in the parliament too. The political system of Pakistan is at stake just due to the repeated failures of our political elite.
The Pak Army under the leadership of Gen Bajwa is active both on internal and external fronts these days. He is holding negotiations with America and China at the same time just for Pakistan. Similarly, fighting the monster of terrorism is also a major challenge on the internal front and Pak Army is performing its duty efficiently. The success of FATF is also a huge credit to Gen Bajwa as a special cell was established by the Pak Army to get this country out of the grey list. Just imagine what would be the fate of all these initiatives if handed over to politicians who are making a mockery of the parliament by fighting with each other. Unfortunately, our politicians want to make the Pak Army a puppet institution just like the police. The decision of army leadership to remain neutral is a setback for the politicians as everyone wants to keep the military at his side.
It is a matter of fact that both the government and opposition parties want the military leadership to play a role that suits the politicians. They want the army to remain on their side and set the ground for their return to the government. Everyone wants the army to be at his side only for their political interests. Therefore, the politicians are in shock since the army leadership decided to remain apolitical in this whole scenario. It is the very reason that the politicians are at loggerheads with each other both in the parliament and in the court. The rupee is on a rapid decline and the dollar is going up but the politicians are busy settling scores with each other. What is going on in Punjab is really sad. PML-Q chief wrote guidelines to his party MPAs to vote for Hamza Shehbaz but they refused to accept the letter. Deputy Speaker rejected all the 10 votes of PML-Q in light of the order of the Supreme Court for not following the policy issued by the party President. The ruling of the Deputy Speaker was rejected by the lawmakers of PTI and PML-Q and the matter landed once again in the Supreme Court. Just after the ruling of the Deputy Speaker, PTI started giving a call to its workers to come on the roads to launch a protest. The matter is now being heard by the Supreme Court once again.
Inflation is going out of control and the life of a poor man has become extremely miserable but the politicians are playing the “Game of Thrones.” It will be in the interest of the country that politicians should resolve their differences amicably without inviting the military leadership to intervene.