Ongoing moves on Pakistan’s political chessboard reminded me of the popular TV serial, ‘Game of Thrones’. I admitted to one of my colleagues that we were passing through defining moments in our history, where a wrong move could cost us our sovereignty. Many of my friends are political gurus with uncanny perception and to a man they agree with me. Since I am not equipped with such a gift, I tend to rely on the ‘pulse’ of the people, as this determines the course of nations. I do so by interacting with the man in the street through casual conversation and am generally rewarded with a spontaneous response.

One of the hot topic these days is the PM’s absence from the country on account of a heart-related surgical procedure and an alleged power struggle within the ruling family. If one lends an ear to the many stories doing their rounds, one can detect a common thread that runs through all narratives. This hints at an intra-family power struggle spanning two generations. It also obliquely points to a resultant situation, where a split appears to have occurred within the ruling party with important figures (including some ministers) discreetly sympathising with one side or another. If we set aside all rumors and take a pragmatic view based on body language and other circumstantial events, one could perhaps say that all is definitely not well within PML N. The question is, how effectively will this situation be exploited by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf and the Pakistan People’s Party?

The cricketing Khan carries a reputation of being naïve and strong-headed. His political bumbling is indicative that he is also a poor judge of character and impulsive as far as decision making is concerned. These weaknesses are also well known to his opponents. Political savvy analysts say that PTI was suckered into the ToR opposition alliance by the PPP. This was done to keep an effective check on him and prevent him from taking a solo flight – a course that could have generated better and speedier results. Restricting PTI options was also designed as a safety measure because if a PTI-led accountability movement had gone ‘viral’, it could have put almost the entire opposition leadership in the dock.

As far as PPP is concerned, there appears to be a whiff of change and a subtle lifting of morale since Bilawal’s appearance on the political stage. Old Bhutto stalwarts, who were earlier critical of the young man’s abilities have now been heard to comment that he is gradually developing the Bhutto charisma. They however are apprehensive of Mr Zardari’s influence on his son and are of the opinion that Bilawal must follow his own better instincts.

The latest player to join the game and which has adopted a line from the National Anthem as its name, is not a factor to be ignored. The question whether this party has a sponsor or otherwise is likely to become irrelevant because the party’s message holds a lot of hope and therefore attraction. The force multipliers in this party are educated young men, who have discarded the once too often repeated themes of conventional politicking. Nonetheless, Mr Kamal and his colleagues are slowly gaining ground and making inroads into our political pie.

Chief Justices ought to fade out gracefully away from all controversy, but the notion appears to have been ignored by a former CJ, who decided to join the ‘industry’ and launched the latest member of the political bandwagon. In all honesty, I don’t see any future for the new arrival and would still advise the gentleman to hang up his spurs and rest.

And last but not the least, there is the ever present pulse of the people. At this point in time it is screaming for accountability and change. If a political change does take place accompanied by a wave of accountability it will generate huge shock waves along with the possibility that vultures, which are even now waiting on the sidelines will swoop in to take the pickings. The event may also not be free of violence. It would therefore be in great national interest that the popular will of the people be given an ear so that for once it may be said that the “People of Pakistan spoke and were heard”.