The opinion of the Judicial Commission is historic but avoids apportioning blame and fixing responsibility. Critics are challenging its legitimacy on ignoring Section 4 of the Ordinance which itself is considered unconstitutional in presence of Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1956. However, ignoring paras 533 and 534of compulsions and expediencies, a herd of opportunists comprising political hyenas and vultures have descended on the presumably dead carcass while jackals wait to make their move. These cannibals include a team of life long critics of Imran Khan, pseudo experts with a flexible conscience and political opposition hell bent on proving that two wrongs make right. Do not miss underlingsor jackals,adept at switching loyalties and eager to claim crumbs that fall from the master’s table.
But beware!A movement backed by millions of Pakistanis is neither dead nor fizzled. It is rather a Royal Rumble in which minions have their moments of gleeful ecstasy to be tossed out of the ring by the indomitable. Sociologists familiar with mass awareness will testify that an inclusive idea cannot be killed. To keep the pyre burning, a lot depends on how Imran Khan after an essentialbreather rallies these ideasto success. To begin, he has a golf handicap of moral and ethical principles favouring him.But he is also courted by caddies who would not hesitate to make a wrong pass at a crucial moment.
The government and some sections of the media went hoarse that the dharna movement had military backing. Lt. Gen Pasha the ex ISI Chief was repeatedly blamed for events in 2014 when he had retired in March 2012after refusing an extension over differences with Gen Retired Kayani. Logically, having fallen out, it was impossible for him to exercise any influence. But Pasha had to be discredited.Considering that the government is privy to details, Khawaja Asif measuredly shifted the blame on Lt Gen Retired Zaheer ul Islam for carrying out surreptitious activities on a personal grudge against a media house. He also exonerated and praised General Raheel Sharif. Later Zubair Umar rescinded his statement about the involvement of General Pasha. True to this confrontational approach, been embarrassed in corridors that matter, PML-N is covering trails and attempting to extract maximum political advantage from a dangerous situation it created at the cost of PTI and Pasha. In due course, this is a point on which PTI will rally and bounce back.
The intrigue was never linked to GHQ and PTI. The General Staff Branch in GHQ that controls Military Operations, Military Intelligence and sets strategic tasks for ISI was too busy circumventing obstacles being put by the political parties and establishment against Zarbe e Azb. They were visibly uncomfortable with the notion of mass protests whennational cohesion was crucial.Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif considered Zarb e Azb a bulwark against his authority and was edgy. A leading channel reported that PM Sharif being suspicious of GHQ backing to street agitations wanted the Joint Parliament session to adopt a resolution seeking resignations from COAS and DG ISI.The attempt to baitGeneral Raheel, as a negotiator with PTIproduced no results. The entire parliamentary drama fizzled for reasons not known to the public. But there is always another side of midnight.
GHQ was worried that Nawaz Sharif may replay his habit to initiate an ill-advised action against some top ranked military officers and stall ongoing military operations aimed at internal and regional stability. In a discussion packed with tension, Prime Minister confronted General Raheel with supposedly hard evidence (collected by state of art snooping equipment) of his complicity. On immediate verification, it turned out to be a fabrication and intrigue of rouge elements with no connection to GHQ. Theultimate objective was to replace General Raheel with a chum to put an end to counter terrorism operations. This drama was crafted and controlled from outskirts of Islamabad through an individual in regular contact with Sharifs. Whether these individuals managed to contact and convince PTI leadership is a question Imran Khan must address to rid the party of jackals.
If the government claim of a strong moral and ethical standing is true, it must hold an investigation through the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1956 into allegations on PTI-Pasha nexus.If it fails, the initiative will shift to PTI and become the second rallying point.
Is Imran Khan doubly lucky or does his sincerity and matter of fact demeanor bestowopportunities created by follies of his opponents?Perhaps it is both.
Imran Khan’s essential pause is crucial for his party and Pakistan. In military terms, he must go through the rigours of a debriefing with lessons for future and acquire the art and tact of dealing with the judiciary and military.
First, he must institute an inquiry within the party to know the mistakes and unlearn fallacies of the past. He must understand why supporters of the party are going hoarse over the ill advice he kept getting in the past one year. This is essential to come clean and connect with the aspirations of the people who support the party. It will also bring the tridimensional conflict between the opportunist, sycophants and those reflecting aspirations of the people to a logical end. If he remains obstinate, the party will split.
Secondly, he must constitute a team of worthy advisors who must regularly brief him on internal and external environments. These advisors must exclude people of political ambitions and comprise a team of economists, strategists, diplomats and learned scholars. A part of party secretariat must operate as a shadow prime minister secretariat. The team should make policy papers, train and advise parliamentarians and also provide developmental plans to the KPK government.
Thirdly, the KPK ministers and office holders have to become more visible during tragedies and calamities. The monitors he appointed in the past have not delivered. The party must make a special monitoring team on KPK to jump start socio-economic development and mega projects on shared economic interests. 2018 is still far away whilst a good plan with matching intentions can work miracles.
And while his experts do the above, Imran must sit back and read ‘The Remains of the Day’ by Kazuo Ishiguro to break out of his long imposed shell and know that majority of people in Pakistan love him. His dedication and loyalty is not to a few select but the many that comprise poor, unwashed, hungry and trampled.

 The writer is a retired officer of Pakistan Army and a political economist.

samson.sharaf@gmail.com