ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has finally decided to push the ruling PPP towards an early election.
A top PML-N leader told Dawn that the party was now ready to face any eventuality in its efforts aimed at forcing an early election.
“In the worst case scenario, the PML-N will lose its government in Punjab, but the party leaders have discussed all such issues before deciding that early election is possibly the only solution to the existing political quagmire,” the leader said in response to a question.
The option to have a grand opposition in the National Assembly also came under discussion during the recent Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting of the party here on the when Governor Salman Taseer was gunned down, he said.
However, having just 90 MNAs in a house of 342, the PML-N could not effect an in-house change. And it was not interested in sitting with JUI-F, MQM and PML-Q, the PML-N leader said.
Therefore, to have a change in the country the party is left with just lone workable option; that is early elections, “and we are going for that”.
He said in the past the party had been under immense pressure to take tough stand against the ruling coalition, but the party leaders decided to give reasonable amount of time to the coalition partners in the centre.
Having signed the Charter of Democracy (CoD), and mindful of politics of the 90s, the party even had to live with the tag of friendly opposition.
However, the present government day in and day out kept on sliding down the hill, and instead of focusing on improving governance, spent its energies some time on safeguarding corrupt officials and on occasions putting scandals under the wraps.
Therefore, “the party leadership after intense discussion has finally decided to go back to the people of this country to get fresh mandate,” said the leader who wields considerable influence in PML-N’s decision making.
The PML-N has given a 10-point agenda to the prime minister Gilani with a deadline of six days ending on the coming Monday to accept or reject it, and if accepted then would evaluate progress on highlighted issues after 45 days to decide on its future course of action.
When the PML-N leader’s attention was drawn to this fact, he said the Zardari-Gilani set up had earlier violated written agreements and the party wasn’t hopeful of any positive response this time also, thus “we have already started working on next elections”.
It may be mentioned that earlier the PML-N leaders had been specifically directed not to use the word mid-term election in-front of media.
PML-N spokesperson Ahsan Iqbal also didn’t rule out the possibility of early elections.
He said that seeking early elections would be party’s last resort if the government and then opposition parties failed to implement economic reforms agenda which the party had laid down during a press conference the other day.
“We have given the government a clear cut plan to implement to improve governance in the country, which if it fails, the PML-N will approach opposition parties to support us and in case of a negative response from them, we will be left with no other option but to seek a fresh mandate because an indecisive government could not be left at its own,” said Mr Iqbal.
PPP’s information secretary Fauzia Wahab said at this point and time the country could not afford premature elections, not for the fact, the exercise required lots of money but would also be against its larger interest.
“If the present parliament does not complete its five-year term, it would be a big blot on every one of us who is part of this system and non-democratic elements would ridicule us for this,” she said.
Moreover, she said, over the last around three years, parliament had been strengthened entirely on the basis of its working and every major political party had participated in the process.
Therefore, if some party thinks otherwise, the PPP could not enforce its will on them, Ms Wahab said, adding, “people have sent us here for a full five-year term, so lets follow rules of the game and not derail true democratic process, which according to my understanding is still in its infancy”.