Lockdown politics

Temperature in capital rises

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Well, we have a date now for the much talked about lockdown of Islamabad. The JUIF was preparing for it for a long time. They were gradually building momentum by holding smaller gatherings in various parts of the country where they have their support base. Since Maulana Fazuur Rehman is a seasoned politician and is in the arena for a very long time, in fact longer than many who are active in the political field now. If one includes the experience he was handed down by his father and the legacy of JUI in general, this would make him look even more formidable. Moreover he has this ability to always carve a special place for himself in any kind of political space and make himself an important player.

Put all this together and you will know why the government of the day was in panic and every day, without fail, there are half a dozen statements coming out relating to this development by ministers and advisors and allies.

On Friday, the prime minister, no less, held a meeting with his close party people and the spokespersons to look at the situation and prepare a possible plan of action.

There is a new line of argument in circulation mainly by the PTI and that is that the maulana was using students of his seminaries spread across the length and breadth of the country and that this was not right as students should never be used for one’s political gains. While this line of argument may be as a matter of principle right, it warrants going back a little in time to see how the PTI went about things in the years it was in the opposition.

  1. PPP is in its last year and there is no obvious threat to it completing its five year constitutional term, it having weathered the fiercest storms in the past year and a half. We suddenly hear that professor Dr Allama tahirul Qadri was descending upon the land of the pure to rid it of corrupt political culture and bring about change. Some 20 thousand people gathered on the Jinnah Avenue in Islamabad disrupting the life and business for weeks until they were eased out by the master negotiators in the PPP ranks. Not a word was heard by the PTI about Qadri being disruptive and using students for his political goals.

With PMLN at the helm, and it is hardly one year when they were finding their feet, PTI and Qadri ganged up and marched on the capital. This time around too there was a huge number of students in the ranks of the marchers. They nearly sent the government packing. Those were the heady days for Imran Khan and he thought that it was him and him alone who could do this. It was this confidence probably when he, after assuming power, egged on the opposition to come and stage a sit in. He vowed to provide all necessary logistics. In the heart of hearts he knew it was not oppostion’s cup of tea to pull it off like he did and hence he was content, daring them. Now the moment is nearly upon him and he is feeling the heat. It will not be easy for him if Fazl lives up to his word. It would not be for anyone on the hills. All concerned need to reach a consensus as to what is a red line in a political protest.