House disorder

Speeches to what effect?




The prime minister yesterday made a lacklustre speech on the floor of the house in the aftermath of India’s move on Indian occupied Kashmir. The speech was mostly unscripted and hence was no different from what the Prime minister generally says whenever he has an occasion. It is mostly a case of talking down at people, giving them a lesion in history that they already know. Probably since the prime minister comes from a privileged background and hence has a different schooling and thus has been in touch with the history lessons only lately and thinks that others too need a lesson or two.

About time he stopped talking about what the history has been and gives people a tangible plan.  The opposition was right in criticizing the PM for lacking a plan. Their argument that the government was not ready as to what was coming also carries weight.

The attitude of the government members in the joint session of the parliament left a lot to be desired. The purpose of the session was, as should have been, that Pakistan sends out a strong message to the world community on Kashmir. Besides the resolution that the house votes on is prepared in consultation with the opposition benches.

Here what we saw was that the treasury benches were not even ready to listen to what the opposition legislators were to say. The speeches by the leader of the opposition Shehbaz Sharif, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and a day later by Asif Ali Zardari and Mushaidullah Khan were interrupted over and over.

Can this frustration be attributed to lack of any direction on the part of the government? The Prime Minister as reported has constituted a committee to come up with a plan on Pakistan’s possible reaction to the abrogation of special status for IoK. But the committee’s composition does not have any representation from the opposition ranks. This one step goes to show that the government still treats the opposition parties and their members with disdain and does not consider their opinion and experience – by virtue of their being in power facing similar situation – of any particular worth. It just wants them to sign on a blank paper for formality’s sake.

This nonchalance on the part of the government will take it nowhere. Particularly when it does not have any plan and the important capitals in the world too are silent or at best hedging their opinions.