Col Ikram Ullah Khan

Drumbeat of horse-trading

Today, I intend to deliberate very briefly, to the extent of being sketchy, advertently skipping details, on the future political landscape as it remains quite hazy due to a streak of uncertainties gripping the country. Instead of conjecturing on the probable outcome of the present political wrangling, I would restrict myself to what is apparent to the mind and exciting to the senses.

Amid recent loud clamours of horse-trading allegedly orchestrated by the ruling coalition under the supervision of Asif Zardari aimed at luring PTI members after it won the recent by-polls in Punjab with a convincing majority, thus placing it in a comfortable position to form government in the province, political temperature has risen to a boiling point.
 As Imran Khan claims, Asif Zardari is the main architect behind this sordid business as according to khan, Zardari has been given this task by the coalition government as part of a deal to purchase PTI members to perpetuate Hamza Shabaz in power in Punjab. Imran Khan is quite vociferous as usual about alleged repeat of horse-trading. He accuses Asif Zardari of offering hefty amount up to rupees 50 crores to PTI members to win their vote in favour of Hama Shahbaz. 
Imran Khan wrote on his twitter:
“Today Lahore is seeing a repeat of the Sindh House horse-trading that happened in Islamabad with up to Rs 50 crores being offered to buy MPAs”.
In this land of the pure (Pakistan) allegations of poll rigging and horse-trading are not a new phenomenon as it seems to be embedded in our political system. It has almost become a norm with losing politicians to lay the blame of their defeat either at the door of Election Commission of Pakistan or the establishment – the two soft targets.  However, this time, thankfully, it didn’t happen for understandable reasons. Instead, an alternate blame game of horse-trading has started the veracity of which is yet to be established as the Punjab government, as expected, has outrightly rejected the allegations. 
The desperate attempt to win the slot of CM in Punjab by the coalition government is quite understandable as losing Punjab government to PTI would set the course for a domino effect on the fragile coalition government in the centre and would chart out the contours of future politics. 
Having said that, irrespective of who wins and who loses in the political duel between the PTI and the coalition government, the hapless  masses of this country, for sure, are the ultimate sufferers and worst affected. Political instability which the country has gone through during the past four years has wrought havoc with its economy as the country finds itself on the verge of default. Unfortunately, due to our internal political feuds and allegations and counter allegations, we have lost credibility, respect and self-esteem in the eyes of the world to the extent that no country is ready to come to our rescue and no lending agency of the world seems prepared to offer us a financial bailout. Wherever we go with a begging bowl, return empty-handed.  
All this reflects poorly on our political sensibility, credibility and weak moral fabric as a nation because during our seven decades of fragile existence, we have failed to produce anything worthwhile except for the sole honour of attainment of nuclear capability that we could feel proud of. But, despite being the sole nuclear power of the Islamic world, we couldn’t earn the amount of respect we deserve. 
It seems that we have erred in electing right people as our representatives in successive elections. We have failed to differentiate between the trash and the treasure and we have failed to separate the grain from the chaff. We are now reaping what we have sown. Hence, there is an intense need to do necessary soul-searching and introspection and know where we have faltered and take remedial measures.

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