Govt urged to de-escalate crisis

LAHORE, May 18: Political pundits and experts believe that the government, holding an upper hand, has the greater responsibility to cool the frayed tempers in the ongoing political crisis but to their dejection it is escalating it to the dangerous level with an overt goal to eliminate the PTI from the political arena.

With political temperatures reaching boiling point and the economy deteriorating at an unprecedented rate, many in the country had hoped that the situation would return to normalcy after the Supreme Court declared PTI chief Imran Khan’s arrest illegal and paved the way for a grant of bail to him.

But the ruling parties in the center, instead of waiting for the situation to calm down, announced a sit-in outside the Supreme Court with the aim to exhibit their own street power.

Renowned political scholar Dr Hasan Askari said the government does not seem to be interested in de-escalation, adding by further escalating the situation, the government wants to eliminate the PTI from the political arena. “It is clear that if elections are called today, the PTI will be an obvious winner,” he said.

He said the government by not adhering to the law of land is pushing the country towards constitutional crises. He said the political situation is unprecedented and it is almost impossible to forecast as to what will happen ten days down the line.

He said political leaders on both sides are baying for blood and the parties in power instead of bringing peace and tranquility are focused on drawing a political advantage out of this crisis.

Another political analyst, Ahmad Bilal Mehboob, said currently both sides are more interested in escalation rather than de-escalation. “The government and opposition should come to the negotiating table to decide a date for elections. Announcing a date for elections will automatically bring the temperature down.”

He condemned the incidents of rioting, arson and vandalism that took place after Imran Khan’s arrest on May 9 but said protesting outside the Supreme Court was just as wrong. “The government on that day violated Section 144 by holding a sit-in in the red zone,” he said.

He said not obeying the Supreme Court’s orders was wrong but even courts themselves have held back from taking any punitive action against the government.

Another analyst, who requested anonymity, said what the PTI had done after Imran’s arrest was without any ounce of doubt wrong but what the government is doing is equally wrong. He said the government was exploiting the situation to its own petty advantage. He said space for dissent post-May 9 incident was shrinking.

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