From Faizabad to the new year

November 30, 2017

Pakistanis all over the world heaved a sigh of gratitude and relief, when an end to the siege of the Federal Capital was lifted following the botched up police operation, without any unpleasant incident, through credible efforts of the Pakistan Army. Yet there were some, who appeared frustrated, angry and disappointed at the turn of events, so much so that it appeared as if the men in combat fatigues had upset a well written script, designed to trap them malignantly into a corner. These irate individuals appeared to be suffering from delusions that required reality checks to understand that vitriol sprinkling (subtle or open) would be treated as nothing more than rabid reaction to a grand conspiracy that did not unfold as planned.

Our enemies had identified decades ago that the country’s centre of gravity resided in the Armed Forces, in consequence of a peculiar threat environment and the moral failure of our political structure. It is for this reason that forces inimical to Pakistan’s integrity and existence focused their attention on the Armed Forces with particular emphasis on the Army. In this, they regretfully found ready collaborators within our system. These efforts became more and more desperate with the realization that our military had rapidly developed the wisdom and capacity to effectively deter or destroy hostile adventurism. It is for this reason alone that those emitting ‘fire and brimstone’ against the ‘Faizabad Agreement’ must cool down and let better sense prevail. In doing so they should also remember that troops were called under the relevant article of the constitution in what is technically referred to as ‘aid to civil power’. The military leadership was then requested by the same ‘civil power’ to ‘aid’ in resolution of the crisis, which was done in a remarkable manner and acknowledged nationwide.

Nonetheless, the ‘Dharna’ aftereffects have been more than momentous. The latest announcement by PML N leadership to suspend their public meetings in ostensible view of the threat, ironically created by their own ineptness, is in itself evidence that the PML N edifice is crumbling beyond retrieval. This could be a windfall for Imran Khan, who has already established a momentum in what can be labelled as the first time that PTI is playing politics, according to a well thought out plan. With no ‘counter jalsa’ on radar, the PTI pre poll strategy is more than likely to force multiply.

That there is near panic in the Ruling Party is now apparent. Internal chasms are not only visible, but are likely to aggravate in the form of resignations and defections. This, coupled with the Sharif Family’s internal power issues is generating pressures that are beginning to manifest themselves in the body language of both Nawaz Sharif and Mariam Nawaz. There is one person however, who appears unaffected by any ‘pressure’ and he is the disqualified PM’s former ‘ADC turned son in law’, who is willing to put a foot in his mouth at a moment’s notice, creating much amusement for media.

A relevant question now popping up frequently in private discussions relates to the outcome of the forthcoming General Elections as regards PML N. There was a time, when any notion of the party losing its grip on victory was considered out of the question. A significant change has now come about in this point of view – a change detrimental to the aspirations of the Ruling Party to win another term. With People’s Party in total discredit and disarray, the only political entity likely to gain from what is happening is PTI, provided they can effectively utilize this window of opportunity. It is the first time since Imran Khan stepped into politics that one can see a possible successful culmination of his long quest, provided Khan Sahib displays political sagacity and stays away from controversies. In short, the New Year portends dramatic changes on Pakistan’s Political Chessboard, changes that will hopefully put us back on track.