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EDITORIAL: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan is once again on the warpath. He has asked his party workers and all other Pakistanis to make preparations as he would give a call in the next few weeks for a march on Islamabad where they would stage a sit-in and that protest sit-in would last the until announcement of next general elections.

“Now a defining moment has arrived when we will have to decide whether to live like slaves or as an independent country,” he said in his video statement issued on the founding day of his party. And to warm up his supporters he has decided to undertake visits to different cities.

Unlike his 126-day sit-in in 2014 when days were mild and nights cool the sit-in now is expected to be held in May or June when heat in Islamabad would be simply unbearable while the next two months would be too humid. So, if at all the decision to march on Islamabad and sit-in there is irreversible, the party may like to revisit its earlier sit-in at Islamabad’s D-Chowk in front of parliament and learn some lessons from such an adventure.

At the end of the day, that sit-in was rounded off without seeing the fall of the Nawaz Sharif government, the resignations of its 36 members of National Assembly were taken back and salaries and allowances for the missing days were duly received. And if that is not enough to learn any lesson, the PTI leadership may like to know that in November 2019 the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) too carried out a sit-in titled “Azadi March” in the capital.

Even when we reject the insinuation that Imran Khan has a dictatorial mindset — as claimed by the ruling party’s fondly called Aristotle that the PTI chief wants to be another Kim — we find it difficult to accept that a sit-in is the only option that the PTI is left with. By resigning from the National Assembly en masse, the PTI would be suggesting that a democratically-elected parliament is susceptible to surrender before power shows on streets.

By forcing the present National Assembly to go home he would be justifying the overthrow of various democratically-elected governments by military dictators, who too argued that what they did was need of the hour and in the interest of people. Why not wait for the general elections that are only about a year from now. Since the country is passing through its most difficult times, by going to the streets the PTI leadership would be rocking the boat.

It should play by the rules on the floor of parliament where the opposition acts as the best spokesperson for people. And being part of that, it would help restore political stability. He must be aware of the fact that all societies need order and rule of law. It is, therefore, needless to say that respect for the rule of law is a crucial precondition for the respect of political rights.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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