LAHORE  -  The way the ruling PML-N is playing its cards on the political chess-board, there is a growing concern in the political circles about the future of democracy in Pakistan.  

While it is worrisome for many to see the government on the confrontational course to settle scores with its visible and invisible enemies, the two main Opposition parties, the PPP and the PTI think differently on the issue.  

The PML-N leadership believes that some individuals in the judiciary and the Armed Forces are behind the conspiracy to destabilise the government. The latest incident taking place at the premises of Accountability Court involving Pakistan Rangers has further strengthened its belief in this regard.  

It transpired during background interviews with leaders of the PPP and the PTI that the two parties had different takes on the likelihood of the democratic process getting derailed as a result of the clash of the titans. 

While the PTI leadership doesn’t see reversal of the political system, the PPP seems apprehensive of the moves by the two sides.   

For the PTI, however, the visible imbalance in civil-military relations was not without its political repercussions, but only for the PML-N.  

PTI’s spokesperson, Fawad Ch has reasons to believe why there is little or no chance of military intervention in Pakistan in the existing situation.  “Pakistan is a modern political State which could not be compared with Saudi Arabia, Iran or Afghanistan. There exists a political consensus among the PTI, the PML-N and the PPP that they would resist any move to roll back the political process by any force. Also, our economy which requires 9 to 10 billion dollars annually to avoid bankruptcy, cannot sustain the anticipated international sanctions which may follow after a military coup”, Fawad told The Nation.    

The PPP leadership, on the other hand, is very much concerned over the current volatile situation. It has deep concerns over the PML-N’s handling of the present crisis arising out of the Panama verdict. PPP leaders think that the ruling party may rock the boat if it ran out of options at any stage.  

“We are closely watching the situation to firm up our response”, PPP’s spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said in his cautious response to The Nation’s query about his party’s assessment of the current political scenario.  

Also, the PPP chief Asif Ali Zardari chaired an important meeting at Zardari House, Islamabad yesterday to have consultation with the senior party leaders over the prevailing situation.  

PPP is walking on a tight rope as far as its dealings with the PML-N and the military establishment is concerned. The situation is such that it has to keep its communication channels open with both of them. A little mistake can ruin the entire strategy.  

Interestingly, when a similar situation arose at the time of PTI’s sit-in in August 2014, the PPP leadership had then viewed it a move from the powers that be to incapacitate the civilian government. It had then conjectured that a new model of intervention was taking its shape in which there would be no Martial Law and yet the civilian government’s capacity to make decisions independent of the establishment would be curtailed to a greater extent. This was so because the previous PPP government was also kept under constant pressure throughout five years which largely eroded its authority to make important policy decisions.  

But in the present situation, the PPP leadership is reluctant to believe that the current pressure tactics being applied on the present government are the continuation of establishment’s policy of treading on civilian government’s toes by creating one issue after the other. It now thinks that the PML-N leadership is responsible for the current state of affairs due to its mishandling of the situation.