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Pot Calling the Kettle Black

The blame game continues as successive governments in Pakistan commit the
same mistakes. If a beginning is being made to get to the root of the various ills
the nation faces, certain red lines must not be crossed.

By Col.(R) Muhammad Hanif | December 2020


After the PTI won the 2018 general elections based on eliminating corruption in the country, the Imran Khan government started reinforcing the National Accountability Bureau’s accountability/anti-corruption drive. NAB was investigating the allegations of corruption on certain opposition leaders. Nawaz Sharif had been disqualified as an MNA and couldn’t contest elections for life. He lost his premiership in 2017 and was also punished/imprisoned for corruption.

During the first two years of the PTI government, the major opposition parties, including the PML (N), PPPP and the JUI did not display much enthusiasm in attempting to dislodge the Imran Khan government through a vote of no-confidence in the National Assembly or by resigning from their NA seats. This was because perhaps the PPPP did not agree that PML (N), being the biggest opposition party, should form the next government.

In early 2020, while Nawaz Sharif was permitted by the High Court to go to the UK for medical treatment, some prominent leaders of the PML (N), PPPP, and even some from the PTI, were put in jail by the NAB to seek their cooperation in inquires for their alleged corruption cases.

After completion of two years, the PTI had overcome the danger of Pakistan becoming a defaulter state due to its likely failure to return the installments of huge foreign loans of about US $100 billion, inherited from the PPPP and PML (N), who had been in power from 2008 to July 2018. The PTI also claimed to have achieved economic stability, with the capability to return future installments. However, the major area, where the PTI government suffered was price control of commodities of daily use. Prices of wheat, flour, sugar, pulses and vegetables escalated high and hit the poor. The government was under great pressure in this context.

The PTI seemed to be frustrated that the corruption cases were not going anywhere. The opposition thought the people would support them in a major way to oust the PTI government. It was then that the major opposition parties - the PML (N), PPPP, JUI and a few smaller parties united to launch a movement called Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

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Muhammad Hanif

The writer is a former consultant and Research Fellow at Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), Islamabad and Senior Research Fellow at Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), Islamabad. He can be reached at

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One thought on “Pot Calling the Kettle Black

  • December 7, 2020 at 11:43 pm

    A very good evaluation of the way Pakistan opposition operates. JJ provides good insights into the way Pakistani politicos think.