STRAIGHT TALK by Hafeez Khan

It was high drama in the Parliament. The Government had a hefty agenda to pass all the pending Bills choked or obstructed in Senate. The Combined Opposition was all set to prevent this from happening. Their aggression and bluster exuded confidence that they will not only defeat the Bills; they will bring the Government down. Everyone was holding their breath in anticipation with media hyping the event.

I was keenly interested since the 33 bills included the right to vote for the approximately 9 million Overseas Pakistanis. I passionately believe in this cause and wrote about it in a two part series dated October 30th and November 6th 2021. These articles are available on my FB page “hafeezkhanPU” and my website www.hafeezkhanofficial.com.pk. I offered arguments in favor; the impact of this decision and OPs expectations from PTI. I congratulate the OPs on this momentous legislation. It recognizes a long overdue right earned through their undying commitment to Pakistan. I also want to thank my readers for their overwhelming response supporting my position.

As expected all Opposition parties vehemently opposed this bill. PPP’s Bilawal Bhutto, in his unique singsong voice, echoed PML(N)’s Ahsan Iqbal’s objection. “What does a voter in California know about a constituency in Quetta?” I have news for you Mr. Bilawal. OP’s are deeply engaged with their constituencies back home because they have families and support network there. They invest there; unlike elites like you. They send money back home unlike the ruling cliques’ money laundering. Speak the truth. You and Shahbaz Sharif are petrified because the OP’s could upset your apple cart of status quo in conventional politics.

The biggest challenge now is to mobilize the OP’s globally to obtain NICOP and register in the voters list. I listed the steps for the way forward in my article dated November 6th
The Parliamentary speeches were drowned by the din created by disruptionists. Frustrations felt by the foot soldiers translated into brawls and shoving matches. Speaker Asad Qaiser was bullied and disrespected. Despite their ongoing feuds, Bilawal Bhutto and Shahbaz Sharif sat next to each other. Their body language and their confused utterings conveyed a sense of defeat. All the machinations of Grand Master Zardari failed to produce results. Their bold assertions of having created breaches in the treasury benches came to naught.
Democracy is a numbers game, and as I have always asserted, numbers don’t lie. The Government was able to hold onto all its supporters totaling 221 members. The Opposition hemorrhaged. Their total count was 219 members; however there were 16 no shows. Some for genuine reasons, others found their leadership’s antics against national interest disgusting. The Bills passed with an unambiguous margin of 18 votes; 203 versus 221. It is time for predictors of a PTI implosion to get a reality check. PM IK isn’t going anywhere for the next 2 years.

Fortunately Maryam Nawaz and Maulana Fazal were not entitled to participate. One was defeated; the other is a convict. Notwithstanding this, they were upto their shenanigans off the playing field. Maulana with his conspiracy theories so often debunked. Maryam embarked on her latest drama as her hearing date approached. Apart from her grooming from finishing schools; she has acquired superior skills in intrigues and disruption.

After her claim of “owning no properties”; she followed through with the Calibri font saga. Then there was Judge Arshad’s video scandal. Her latest onslaught is through the affidavit of ex Judge Shamim Ahmad. A longtime political lackey of Nawaz Sharif; he was made a judge of Sind high Court only to be thrown out a few months later because he lacked merit. Then he was made the head of Gilgit-Baltistan court. His claim of being privy to a conversation between a former Chief Justice and another Judge is ridiculous while sitting in the boonies. Lying through their teeth is a part and parcel of PML (N)’s methodology. Their bluff has been called by the Islamabad High Court. It would be interesting to watch this drama unfold.

However there is little time to rejoice. PTI has finally broken the chokeholds holding up its legislative agenda. It is wide ranging and ambitious. The 33 Bills passed in the Parliament will impact the lives of every citizen in some form or the other. The list makes an interesting read. First and foremost is Electronic Voting Machines. Like everything else; PM IK is trying to drain a swamp perpetuated and institutionalized by the Sharifs to facilitate electoral fraud.

There are reforms to the legal system. The one that stands out the most is Anti-Rape Bill. This scourge is a huge blemish on our entire society. Then there are Bills that will punish the criminal profiteers causing misery to the common man. The financial regulatory Bills include easier loans for the farmers and remove lacunas in existing laws. The list goes on.
This is just the beginning. All these laws have to be implemented. This is going to be the biggest challenge for PTI. Laws are only as good as the team that implements it. As I have written multiple times before; PM IK has to take a close hard look at the level of competence of his team. Rome was not built in a day. Now at least we have a blueprint. It’s time to prove the naysayers wrong.

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