Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

Despite springing a surprise and sweeping the by-elections in Punjab, temperatures in the PTI camp remain high. The party’s Chairman, in his victory speech, called the Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja dishonest while demanding his resignation. The PTI’s stance is that under the current ECP administration, free and fair elections cannot take place in the country.
Of course, these allegations themselves are not new by PTI, but the timing seems odd considering how the by-elections were conducted in a transparent and peaceful manner. Moreover, the allegations brought forth by the PTI, such as the violation of Article 19 among others, do not hold much weight when the evidence is evaluated. This does not come as a surprise though as such personal attacks and grievances have become the norm in the country’s political landscape.
The government’s decision to continue its term and to keep the ECP Chief in place is not going to go down well with the re-energised PTI and political temperatures are only going to rise further given recent trends. Punjab once again will be in the eye of the storm as the PTI coalition is seeking to form a government in the province by the end of this week. If the chaos following the no-confidence vote was any indication, the situation could seriously deteriorate in the coming weeks if sanity does not prevail.
On Tuesday, Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi accused Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah of using the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to “trace the location” of legislators with the intent to influence them ahead of the chief minister’s election on July 22. This is a dangerous path of confrontation that both the PTI and PML-N have adopted which is only going to further exacerbate the ongoing crises in the country. The PML-N must refrain from issuing veiled threats and the PTI must introspect as to why its members are angry and aggressive whether they win or lose. What we need at this point in time is for both the parties and their coalition members to exhibit political sagacity and maturity. Promoting tolerance and respect is the way forward if the political system is to function.

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