Political Crisis in Punjab
PTV World
March 4, 2009
Q. Don’t you think there is urgent need to resolve the crisis in Punjab province through reconciliation rather than civil disobedience?

A. We already have enough on our platter. Pro-Taliban forces are dictating us in Swat. The security situation is extremely acute, so is the economic condition of the country. Last year, with the elections, we had hoped that at least we will be able to have certainty in politics. With the latest crisis in Punjab, the ghost of steep political uncertainty is back to haunt us.

The elections had brought us back to the 1990s, when the country’s political system had produced two mainstream political parties, the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League of Nawaz Sharif. However, the politics of confrontation between them in that decade continued to destabilize the political system.

We were happy that these two mainstream parties resumed their journey last year on a very happy note—with an unusual spirit of reconciliation. The PPP formed the government, and the PML-N also joined it. But then on the judicial issue, the partnership collapsed. Still the doors of broader reconciliation were opened as long as the PML-N had its government in Punjab. Now we are back to square one.

Q. Q. Are you saying that the dismissal of the government and imposition of Governor rule are steps in the wrong direction? But even if they are, don’t you think the battle should be fought in the parliament and not through street agitation?

A. Well, given the acute crisis of all sorts facing the nation, we should expect all politicians to get together and resolve it collectively. But we cannot ignore the fact that what has happened to PML-N government in the province is quite unjust. In the larger interest of the country, a step like this should have been avoided.