Pakistan's coalition govt undermining democratic process to retain power

The 13-party coalition came to power claiming to be the saviors of democracy. However, it now seems more focused on bringing into action every possible un-democratic move and tactic to maintain its power and complete its tenure, instead of letting the people of the country decide its fate.

The current government of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), which came to power after ousting Imran Khan's regime through a no-confidence vote, seems to be losing its agenda and in the process, its credibility.

The 13-party coalition came to power claiming to be the saviors of democracy. However, it now seems more focused on bringing into action every possible un-democratic move and tactic to maintain its power and complete its tenure, instead of letting the people of the country decide its fate.

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This deeply-worrying trend is being witnessed in the democratic setup of Pakistan, which has been maintaining its uneven and insecure rule in power since April this year, when it joined hands to oust the then sitting Prime Minister Imran Khan through a democratic process of a no-confidence vote.

Earlier, when the PDM government took over, its leadership was convinced that the government had come for a span of six months, in which, it would bring about relevant electoral reforms and then move towards early general elections in the country, to let the people, who it claimed had been robbed off their right to vote during the 2018 elections, use their right to vote and elect a people's government.

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However, as time passed and strong resistance from Imran Khan and his 'regime change' narrative began to boost his public support, the government has had to change its principle stance, on which it created the very idea of removing Imran Khan.

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Now, it seems that the government is adamant to complete its term, with an aim to melt down the glaring popularity of Imran Khan by using that time to not only damage Khan's public credibility through legal cases like foreign funding, Tosha Khana case, contempt of court and others, but also aiming to make pathways to remove Khan's contention during the next election process.

For this, the government has been opting to block all attempts of Khan, who demands early and immediate elections in the country, besides initiating public participation to bring about a new government through voting.

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The current government has blocked the acceptance of resignations of PTI members, who rendered them en masse on the floor of the Parliament, when former Foreign Minister and Co-chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Shah Mahmood Qureshi announced mass resignation of at least 131 members of the National Assembly of Pakistan.

Till now, the Speaker of National Assembly, Raja Pervez Ashraf, has accepted only 11 resignations while 120 others still remain to be verified through individual meeting, which the Speaker says is as per the procedure in practice.

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The government has also rejected Khan's demand for holding early elections, despite the latter's threat of dissolving assemblies in Punjab and Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP). The move to dissolve the Punjab assembly has been tackled by presenting the no-confidence motion against the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, and having the Governor of Punjab to call on Punjab Chief Minister Pervez Elahi to take a vote of confidence in the provincial assembly. The matter has now been challenged in the Lahore High Court (LHC) and is subject to the decision of the court.

It seems that the PDM government is investing all its energies on how to tackle Khan's attempts to trigger enough political pressure to force early elections in the country.

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The government now is more focused on retaining power and completing its full tenure, which goes 180 degrees against its initial plan and agenda to oust Khan's government and hold early general elections within the initial six months.

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"It (PDM government) knows it has lost the narrative war to Imran Khan. The ruling parties are now not willing to risk anything further on public vote. Resistance to holding elections where and when they are due is patently undemocratic and against the spirits of the political system envisioned in our Constitution," maintained an editorial in a local daily.

The current political uncertainty wrapped around the government, coupled with its changed agenda to undermine a democratic process of vote and retain power, is now resulting in loss of its democratic credentials, which is being seen as an obsession with defeating Khan by all possible means.

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