EDITORIAL: As the ruling PTI faces electoral defeat in KPK and the PPP garners unexpectedly large vote tally in recent by-election in Lahore the PPP’s supreme leader Asif Ali Zardari’s cryptic remarks at the party meeting in Nawabshah on Monday tend to throw a light on what is in store for the future of national politics. Or, at least what he believes is in the making. He said they — without spelling out who he meant but abundantly clear that he was talking about the ‘powers-that-be’ — have asked him to ‘offer assistance and share some formula, but I told them that first this government should be sent packing and then talks could be held’. Is what he said a ground reality or sheer politicking? This question has no easy answer. But his cryptic remarks do rhyme with talk in the town. The ruling PTI governance has been a failure on many fronts, and that doesn’t sit well with ‘they’ — particularly when it is they who were said to be on the “same page” with the government. Zardari said, ‘building Pakistan was easy but they could neither build the country nor listen and understand. But time would come that they would have to listen, understand and follow our advice’. And then he spells out his two-part advice. He offered to “take care of Pakistan”, where he said the rulers “ate, earned dollars and slept whereas the country’s debt had risen from $30 billion to $60 billion. We have best economic wizards and we have the ability to get rid of the debt”. The second part of his advice calls for keeping the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on a tight leash. If the NAB keeps working, he said, the government will not work. According to Zardari, the NAB has paralysed bureaucracy and the recent relaxation given to bureaucrats is of no avail because the damage has already been done. In other words, Asif Ali Zardari has offered his son Bilawal Bhutto as replacement of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He has also underscored the need for shutting down the NAB workshop. But the question whether anybody is listening to Asif Ali Zardari in Rawalpindi has no answer at this point in time. But common perception is that if there is to be a replacement of the present dispensation the choice has to be between the PPP and PDM (an anti-government alliance of political parties, excluding PPP). And, if the recent statements of leaderships of the two are any guide the choice seems to be tilted in favour of PPP.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021