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The swearing-in ceremony of Asif Ali Zardari as 14th President of Pakistan yesterday was coincided by arrests of several Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders and workers in various parts of the country.

The PTI, as per its plan, has embarked on a protest drive against the Feb 8 vote rigging through which, according to the party, its mandate was “stolen”. Those arrested included senior lawyers and leaders of PTI Sardar Latif Khosa and Salman Akram Raja.

That political stability remains elusive even one month after the general election with the consequent emergence of new legislatures in provinces and at the Centre, and election of four chief ministers and prime minister is a grim reality. That the absence of required political stability has been exacting its toll on the country’s economy is no longer a secret.

A weak and controversial mandate for the ruling coalition is nothing but a stupendous challenge for the government and electorate alike. The seemingly unstable structure of the Shehbaz Sharif-led government (PDM 2.0) and its inclination to collapse in short time will only add to political instability in the country.

In other words, the main takeaway of the Feb 8 general election is that the political instability of 2023 continues in 2024.

Political stability and predicable policies frameworks are widely considered as key drivers for attracting global investment.

The setting up of Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) was a step aimed at achieving and ensuring policy consistency. This objective seems to have been somehow achieved or it will be attained in due course.

However, insofar as the goal of ensuring political stability is concerned, it is conspicuous by its absence.

The current spell of political polarization in the country, in my view, underscores the need for introduction and adoption of a new ‘Charter of Democracy’ that must seek to protect and preserve, among other things, country’s economic interests while suggesting ways and means to insulate the process for every general election from any real or perceived interference in future.

Hence the need for all the stakeholders to join hands to initiate an action in accord with reason without any loss of time.

Sehrish Mustafa Haider (Karachi)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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