There seems to be no respite as the spate of killings in Karachi continue unabated, despite assurances coming from no less than the president himself that his government is committed to restoring peace at all cost in the city and elsewhere in the country. The MQM has been showing signs of anger, from time to time, over the government’s inability to prevent the recurrence of such killings, and the events may compel the MQM to make a strategic shift and distance itself from the government. Suicide bomb attacks in the country are another area of concern for the government, but it appears to be completely helpless in stopping them.
As if other problems such as electricity, gas and water shortage were not enough, the PML-N and JUI-F, other major allies of the government, are also unhappy and dissatisfied with the way the country is being run, creating an air of uncertainty that is threatening to derail the fragile political structure. From the recent happenings in the country, it appears that the coming months are going to be very trying for Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. Therefore, he is well advised to desist from entertaining the idea that some rescue formula will appear miraculously. Mr Gilani should set his priorities right, cover his political flanks and become more assertive to reset the economic agenda and to establish rule of law in the country so as to take the government out of this economic morass.
As the budget announcement is not too far away, Mr Gilani should keep himself abreast with the price hikes that have affected the common man and associate himself closely with budget making so that his government is able to announce a budget that is not only keen on reforms, but is also not harsh for the masses. He has to display a degree of innovation to fight political, diplomatic and parliamentary battles that are necessary to stay in complete control and to stop his party’s image from dwindling. A politically mature government will have, as top priority, clear policies to develop internal resources, in order to reduce reliance on foreign aid and sort out core issues with its neighbours and normalise relations, which is essential to boost trade with them. The ongoing drone attacks, our diluted anger towards the US, the clandestine manner in which Raymond Davis was repatriated and the inconclusive India-Pakistan talks are just a few examples that highlight our ‘diplomatic’ inefficiencies.
As a matter of fact, in this era of coalition politics, President Asif Ali Zardari’s skills as a troubleshooter and his influence across the country’s political spectrum is something that is benefiting the PPP and, of course, Mr Gilani’s government. Mr Zardari has thus far shown remarkable talent in managing crisis, containing dissidence and keeping the coalition intact. For how long he can keep the ball rolling is anybody’s guess.
Only time will tell whether or not the prime minister is successful in bringing back the waning glory of his government, which is showing clear signs of running out of steam.