LAHORE - The political situation is getting murkier and the holding of elections on time is becoming uncertain as Minhajul Quran Chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri is ratcheting up pressure for the change of what he calls corrupt and exploitative electoral system.As of today, the Election Commission of Pakistan is taking necessary steps to ensure free and fair elections, but there are many who doubt that an elected setup will come into being once the present assemblies serve out their term. There are also others who think that the elections will be held on time, notwithstanding rumours to the contrary.The speculations about the future scenario are very conflicting. While some insist that people will use their right to vote during the next few months, others say that the country is moving fast towards another military intervention. Both sides have arguments in support of their respective contentions.The sudden emergence of Dr Tahirul Qadri on the political scene after several years of absence and his contacts with various political forces give rise to assertions that the electoral process is going to be a casualty. And the support lent by two important allies of the government, the MQM and the PML-Q, to the agenda of the TMQ chairman strengthens this view.It is being speculated that the long march on Islamabad, scheduled for January 14, will aggravate the situation to an extent that a military intervention will become inevitable. The supporters of this theory argue that the army will never let the country drift into anarchy. They think that once the new setup takes over, steps will be taken to put the economy back on track, hold the corrupt elements accountable and recover the looted national wealth. It is said that details about the looted national wealth are already with the relevant authorities. Political circles give tremendous importance to the MQM’s decision to support Dr Qadri’s reforms agenda. The MQM is a well-connected party and it takes calculated decisions, without taking any kind of risk.The PML-Q delegation’s meeting with Dr Tahirul Qadri and backing to his demands also raised many an eyebrows. Those knowing how ‘long armed’ and well-informed the Chaudhrys of Gujrat are can easily conclude that the TMQ is not alone in its struggle.The MQM’s decision to join hands with Dr Qadri is not without any reason. Analysts say that both the coalition partners are jumping out of the PPP’s ‘sinking ship’ because they have an idea of the shape of things to come.According to a knowledgeable source, the PML-Q and the MQM will move together and devise a joint strategy. For the time being, the sources say, the two parties will stay part of the coalition, although after supporting Dr Qadri’s agenda there is no moral justification for them to do so.Many in the PML-Q believe that Dr Qadri stands no political future, but he is certainly a ‘spoiler’.Some in the PML-N think that the establishment is in contact with the Sharifs at certain level and discussing term of engagement with them. In their opinion the pressure being mounted through the TMQ and the MQM is aimed at bringing the Sharifs to terms. The PML-N is determined to get the elections held on time, no matter what the price. The media persons are absolutely confused about the future situation.A TV analyst claims that the elections are likely to be held on May 6.If so, the assemblies will serve out their full term and cease to exist on March 16, as also claimed by various federal ministers.There are conflicting reports about who would be the caretaker prime minister. While some journalists are of the view that both the PPP and the PML-N may agree to offer the mantle to Justice (retd) Nasir Aslam Zahid, some others think that PML-N Senator Ishaq Dar stands a greater chance. A columnist from South Punjab has given reasons that go in favour of the former finance minister, whose son is married to Mian Nawaz Sharif’s daughter.The PML-Q believes that more than 300 MNAs to be elected in the next elections will be the old faces. However, they may reach the parliament on the ticket of parties other than the ones from whose platforms they had contested the previous elections.The independents will also be elected in large numbers and they will subsequently join hands with parties that serve their interests better.