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Opposition and reforms

The government’s recent woes which led to stiff resistance against Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and postponing a joint session of parliament has rekindled hopes of reviving the PDM. The opposition parties have once again started closely coordinating to renew their strategy against the government.

The meeting between PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is seen as an icebreaker between the two sides to revive the multi-party alliance. The PPP had parted ways with the PDM in April this year, saying it will not take dictation from any other party. The withdrawal diminished all hopes that the PDM could pose a real challenge to the government. The recent bonhomie between the PPP and PML-N reportedly led to backdoor talks between the parties’ leadership to adopt a strategy against the government’s ouster.

As part of the anti-government strategy, the PDM will hold long marches in all provinces after holding a political gathering in Lahore. It is still unsure whether the PPP will formally rejoin the PDM but any sort of support can boost the alliance of opposition parties. Whether these protests will have any effect on the government remains another question, but the government’s recent challenges have certainly emboldened the opposition.

The beleaguered government had to put off a joint session of parliament this week after struggling to maintain the required number of members and due to reservations by its allies. The government has crossed its third year and now wants to pass crucial legislation including electoral reforms but has suffered a setback in parliament. It remains an uphill task to convince its allies and the opposition that the reforms are in the nation’s interest.

Despite the hurdles, the government needs to engage with and consult the opposition if it wants to pass electoral reforms. The government cannot find an impression that it has been weakened or isolated by its own allies. It is also imperative that all issues should be discussed in parliament or else it will give an excuse to the opposition to rally against the government’s follies.

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