Arrests of Shehbaz Sharif and Zardari Suggest Pakistani Politics Stuck in Old Ways

Has Pakistani politics returned to being a zero-sum game? That is the question being asked after the media suppression of the last two years, the arrests of media tycoons, and human rights activists and the recent arrest of two leading politicians, former President and leader of the PPP Asif Ali Zardari and former Chief Minster of Punjab and leader of the PML-N, Shehbaz Sharif.

According to the Dawn, “The PTI leadership continues to call the opposition leadership a ‘mafia’ while the opposition has branded the government as a ‘selected’ one. Neither appears to accept the other’s democratic credentials, and yet both are locked into a system that has to function till the next elections in 2023. It is, therefore, unfortunate that a normal working relationship between key stakeholders is almost non-existent.”

As the editorial notes “The political situation has become tense since the MPC and the opposition’s announcement of its public campaign. It was less than two weeks ago that leaders of all political parties had attended a meeting with army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa and forged a consensus on giving GB provincial status after the elections scheduled for Nov 15. All leaders had also agreed to ensure that these elections are held in a free and transparent manner. However, this consensus is under strain as evidenced by the opposition’s boycott of the speaker’s meeting. The war of words has once again heated up. Things will get even more acrimonious with the arrest of Mr Sharif.”

Finally, the Editorial opines, “All institutions must respect their constitutional limitations and work within the boundaries that have been clearly earmarked.”

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