Will Shahbaz Get it Right this time?

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Pakistan’s next Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has taken the reigns of a country that is suffering from manifold crises and his challenge will be to steer Pakistan to calmer waters at the earliest possible.

Sharif has taken power after a deeply contentious election and Imran Khan and his supporters will be in no mood to let Sharif get comfortable in his seat. As an editorial in Dawn warned the new premier “can expect a tough fight over every piece of legislation his government brings to parliament. In fact, some of the more hawkish lawmakers affiliated with the PTI have made it clear they do not intend to allow him to function at all.”

Sharif needs to appoint a cabinet of capable individuals, “chosen not for their proximity to the Sharif clan, but for how well-suited they are to manage the portfolios handed to them. This is not the time to dish out ministries and important offices as payback for political favours. The PDM government offered ample lessons on why this would be a poor mistake to repeat during a crisis period.”

 

Further, he needs “to start shaping the contours of Pakistan’s immediate political future such that the country can start to move on from the bitter unravelling of its sociopolitical order that marked the interregnum between April 8, 2022, and March 3, 2024. This will require a process to reconcile with its leadership and its supporters even if it means taking the difficult first step.”

In conclusion, the editorial states: “Regardless, the prime minister cannot afford to let himself get frazzled. It is his responsibility to bridge the gaping political chasm and restore some sense of unity within the nation as he attempts to tackle its historic social and economic crises. It will, without a doubt, require immense grit and a large heart to take the country forward as one.”

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Author: Maria Malik