EDITORIAL: Arguably, former prime minister Imran Khan did play till the last ball of his innings, injecting a heavy dose of anxiety and uncertainty into the country until he was declared ‘out’ by passage of the opposition’s no-confidence motion minutes after midnight on Sunday. His ouster was expected, it was highly disappointing nevertheless.
Little did he, however, know that he would be ultimately ‘caught at deep midwicket’ while trying to hit a six off the last ball of the match and that ball wouldn’t be declared as a ‘no-ball’ by the Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar, who successfully struck a delicate balance between his ‘26-year-old association’ with his party chief and whatever the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the country’s constitution had required him to do by tendering his resignation from the speakership minutes before voting was held on the no-confidence resolution.
As many as 174 members of the 342 member-strong lower house of parliament voted in favour of the resolution. The announcement by the chair, PML-N’s (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s) Ayaz Sadiq, that the resolution against Imran Khan the prime minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan has been passed by the majority of National Assembly members ended a nail-biting and tension-laden week in the country.
That development has been followed by the nomination of papers for the election of the new leader of the house. PML-N’s Shehbaz Sharif is the candidate of joint opposition while PTI (Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf) has fielded its vice-chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi for this post. Shehbaz Sharif is expected to win this election scheduled to be held today. Unfortunately, however, if the events of the last 10 days are any guide, the nation could witness a round of some nasty or unpleasant events today as well mainly because of the fact that PTI still happens to be the single-largest party in the National Assembly even after 15-odd defections from it. It is increasingly clear that Imran Khan unnecessarily brought his premiership to an unceremonious end as he appeared to have gone too far on 3rd April in particular. He has created an unfortunate impression about himself of a person who is not cut out to be a politician.
The politically astute know all about the importance of reputation. But Imran Khan always had the sense of being a political outsider. Moreover, his governance was not guided by deep or even fairly reasonable understanding of economics or economy, although social sector Ehsaas Programme can be described as a big success story in addition to highly praiseworthy handling of the Covid-19 pandemic challenge by his government.
An economist of global repute, Atif Mian, has made some interesting observations about Imran Khan’s tenure as 22nd prime minister of Pakistan. According to Mian, “PM voted out of office by parliament after 3.5 years. He inherited a bad economy, but leaves it in even worse shape.” The former PM, who is likely to become the Leader of Opposition on the basis of his party’s numeric strength in parliament and his own ‘reaching out to masses’ desire, must give himself time to reflect.
Last but not least, today is going to be one more eventful day in the history of the country. If the day is eventful, a lot of things can happen — it can be good or bad, but it’s certainly not boring.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022