Existence of political unity

Maverick federal minister Fawad Chaudhry is known for his outspoken statements sometimes even narrowly breaching party policies. He has now hinted at a possible consensus between the government and the opposition which will set the course on the accountability drive.
The statement has taken political analysts by surprise. We witnessed unusual unity over the Army Act amendment bills in which opposition parties, notably the PML-N and PPP, showed unconditional support and hastily passed legislation. The opposition has remained silent ever since without any plausible explanation for the support.
Fawad believes that the consensus is a positive sign and the atmosphere of trust will help both sides to deliberate on the way forward on other issues. There has been consensus on the Chief Election Commissioner after months of back and forth between names. The next step would be the contentious accountability drive which seems to have hit a break.
The government has already clipped the wings of NAB, preventing it from taking action against businessmen and investigating any corruption case less than Rs500 million. Both sides are also unanimous that the powers of NAB chairman are rather extensive and should be curtailed. This raises the question of whether the purported consensus is an attempt to safeguard the corruption of political leaders.
Prime Minister Imran Khan should be reminded that the party came to power on the promise of an accountability drive. He vowed to take action against corrupt officials and even return the looted wealth. Now it seems that the accountability drive has been placed on the backburner over fears that it impedes economic growth and creates uncertainty among the government officers. The main question is not to deliberate on the mechanism of accountability but rather the unity between the government and opposition.
The PTI also faces the prospect of a government collapse in Punjab as its allies have shown displeasure over the performance of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. The most vocal rift against him comes from Fawad who thinks the chief minister should step down. He has said Buzdar’s failure is not Imran Khan’s failure. The prime minister, on the other hand, has vowed to stand by the chief minister saying that they will not support a ‘minus-one’ formula.
If the PTI’s allies become a part of the opposition, then will Fawad’s claims of consensus on the accountability driver still work? We are familiar with the changing loyalties and alliances in politics. However, vested interests might spell the end of PTI’s run in government.
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