In politics, decisions have consequences. Rana Sanaullah learned this lesson following Model Town tragedy in June when Pakistan Awami Tehreek protestors and Punjab police clashed and needlessly resulted in 14 deaths and hundreds injured. With 14th August on the horizon, Nawaz Sharif must be struggling with this lesson as well, trying to find some way to defuse a potentially explosive situation.
The Nation today has called on Nawaz to address the public and correct Imran Khan’s incorrect claims regarding elections.
Nawaz Sharif must come out of the ministerial veil and tell people his side of the story. Unlike Khan, he is lucky to have facts on his side. With so much at stake here, there can be no half measures. The Prime Minister must address the public on national television. His speech must identify the massive loopholes in Imran’s narrative. People should be told that the government has no control over the functions of the Election Commission. That the Election Tribunals have already dealt with 73% of the cases lodged. That no reform or ‘change’ can be achieved through abrupt mid-term elections, especially since they will be conducted under the same system Imran claims to be crusading against.
This recommendation has one major problem, though, which is that people are unlikely to take the Prime Minister seriously. Most likely, he will be seen as saying whatever is necessary to protect his own job. The Nation does raise an important point however which is that much of what Imran Khan is saying is factually incorrect.
My question is, if a major politician is giving incorrect statements, isn’t it the job of media to correct them?
With the date of Imran Khan’s latest political spectacle rapidly approaching, it’s worth examining what the ‘Azadi March’ could really accomplish – something I’m not sure PTI has really thought through very well.
After some confusion, Imran Khan has finally settled on midterm elections as his key demand. According to PTI, the last elections were rigged after their calls for electoral reforms went ignored. While there may have been some small scale rigging here and there, it is interesting that PTI claims massive rigging took place since they won second largest number of votes. Is Imran Khan suggesting that his party is also guilty? Or that his opponents were accidentally stuffing ballots for PTI?
There’s also the problem that Imran Khan accepted the elections before he rejected them. Last year, the PTI Chairman termed the elections ‘victory for the democratic system‘. Even in April this year Imran Khan said that he accepted the elections. Now he has even taken to slandering the names of those who he recently praised as ‘incorruptible‘.
All of this fails to address the key problem with Imran’s demand for midterm elections, though: If the electoral system is flawed, doesn’t it need to be reformed before new elections can take place? If so, doesn’t PTI need to provide detailed electoral reforms first?