By Ali Hazrat Bacha
PESHAWAR: The prolonged PTI sit-in in Islamabad has caused uncertainty about the future of the PML-N-led federal government and democratic system in the country. However, it seems it has made activists of political parties courageous enough that they have begun raising voice against injustices of the leadership.
Almost every political party has differences among activists and normally, leadership finds nothing unusual in it and thus, acting indifferently.
Awareness among workers of political parties of rights is fast increasing. Political activists have begun plucking up the courage to break the silence they had long kept over the leadership’s indifference towards them for fear of reprisal. They have now begun speaking out against injustices meted out to them by leaders. A good example in this respect is the recent news conference of PTI member of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Javed Naseem, who announced to start observing sit-in against his own party leaders, especially against Chief Minister Pervez Khattak from Oct 14.
Naseem was one of the disgruntled PTI MPAs, who had formed a forward bloc but as the group leader, deputy speaker of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly was appointed as minister the MPA started leveling accusations against Chief Minister Pervez Khattak.
Similarly, many of the PML-N provincial and district level office-bearers in the province (on Oct 8 in Peshawar) have also announced to take out a rally from Peshawar Press Club to Governor House on Oct 20 against the party’s leadership for not taking them on board while taking different decisions relating to the province. They have decided to repeat the practice of rallies and sit-ins regularly on every Friday if the leadership failed to redress their grievances.
It seems the PML-N workers’ main target is Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan as all speakers blame the existing unrest in the party on him. Some people are of the view that the current uprising was a part of the conspiracy against the governor.
Annoyed workers have announced they won’t enter the Governor’s House for negotiations and instead, leaders should come to the party’s secretariat for resolution of issues.
In the past, workers could not even think of protest against leadership as such activities used to be considered as revolt and the ultimate result was expulsion from the parties. Now the situation has changed and the people have got the courage to hold protest demonstrations as their basic democratic right. It seems that in the prevailing situation the political workers have options to join any party and make niche for future.
However, the leaders of various political parties have different opinions about the awareness and some of them describe it as dangerous for future of the parties, democracy and the country as well. They in their comments pointed out that PTI is in power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Imran Khan can materialise his dreams in a befitting manner if he was really sincere to the people and the country.
ANP central general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain said PTI chairman Imran Khan had misguided political workers in the name of change and there was no change except to encourage the people for violation of discipline.
“In my view, the two-hour activity is not sit-in but disgrace of sit-in which is a one man show and nothing else,” he said and added that this practice would definitely harm the political system and the country. The ANP leader said every political party had some sort of internal issues and if every group started coming to streets against their leaders would create disruption in the parties, which is totally wrong.
He asked Imran Khan to stop introducing the cricket style in politics and take serous steps to strengthen the democratic system in the country. He said that the government had accepted most of his (Imran’s) demands mainly about the political reforms and now he should stop creating more problems.
“The PTI should materialise its commitments to focus attention on development of the underdeveloped areas and remove the unrest among the people.” He said nobody would appreciate the PTI’s present policy to dodge the people by spreading false propaganda regarding politicians.
Jamaat-i-Islami provincial Secretary Information Israrullah Khan Advocate said that no doubt the sit-ins created awareness among the people about their rights, saying that protest rallies and sit-ins was democratic right of all the people. However, he said that accountability of the rulers was always necessary and it could not be possible without a strong opposition, adding that his party would not support any move to derail democracy.
About the prolonged sit-ins and his party’s response, the JI leader said that PTI had its own policy to continue the rallies but it should allow the ministers to sit in their offices, focus on official work and further improve the government performance. “There is a lot of work to do in the sectors of health, education, law and order, employment and other areas to address maximum of the problems being faced by the people,” he said.
The JI leader claimed that performance of the incumbent government was far better than that of the previous one and it had planned many things to do for welfare of the people and development of the province.
Provincial PPP leader Syed Ayub Shah said PTI had done a great job in creation of political awareness among the people but the process needed to be stopped at this stage.
“We accept Imran Khan is busy raising voice against injustices and corruption but he should also focus on the development of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where his party is in power,” he said, adding that if the PTI failed to serve the people in the province, the nation would not believe the PTI chief’s words.
He said future of the PTI depended on its performance in the province because all the political parties have started criticising the provincial ministers for failing to give due attention towards their official duties despite lapse of 16 months. The awareness drive will definitely help PTI to some extent but it should present Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as a model province to the people of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Kashmir and Northern Areas otherwise it would lose its present position.
PML-N provincial general secretary Rehmat Salam Khattak said Imran Khan was following Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s polices to create awareness among the people, which created many problems in the country. “Bhutto created awareness among labourers, which destroyed industries and now Imran is creating awareness in the youths to mislead the nation,” Khattak said.
The leaguer suggested that the PTI members of national assembly should stop such policies of sit-ins and raise their voice in the assembly for reforms in the electoral politics, against corruption and for development of the country.
“PTI is in power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and it is bound to serve the people. No one has tied hands of the PTI’s ministers to materialise PTI’s election commitments and change fate of the people as this party is in power in the province,” he said.
Qaumi Watan Party press secretary Tariq Khan said the traditions introduced by PTI in politics were totally wrong as disgracing politicians was meant to weaken democracy. He said PTI was unable to manage the affairs in the province and that it was trying to grab power in the centre by unlawful means.
Tariq Khan said PTI was unlikely to come up to the people’s expectations by playing the politics of sit-ins.–Dawn