For a Pakistani nothing could be more shameful; foxes, vultures and hyenas closing ranks in the name of democracy to suck the last drops of blood from stones in shameless abandon; a feeding frenzy on a carcass refusing to die. In many ways what happened in Latin America and Africa is being repeated here.

Covert CIA interventions in Latin American through crime gangs, corruption, bubble economies, meltdowns, mismanagement and hire purchase of segments of intelligentsia is what created banana republics. The scene was repeated in Africa. Pakistan in its present state is not far behind. It is in the crosshairs of multiple invasions.

There are three elements in Pakistan that attract ire. For champions of democracy, Pakistan is a carcass from which they must satisfy their hunger in short-term mega corruption and long term resources. This is not possible without taming the army and judiciary. For outsiders, it is the country rich in natural resources like gold, copper, chromite, uranium, precious minerals, oil, gas and lignite. Pakistan must be made into a Congo with no armed forces. For geopolitics, it is the armed forces that stand guard to the nuclear arsenal. Though the long-term objectives of the three may be divergent, in the short term, they remain allies of convenience.

The biggest challenge facing Pakistan is to figure how to wade out of these crises with its identity and national interests intact. Pakistan’s fault lines are widening each day and the ruling elites are in no mood to stop the rot. Shrinking the swamp is a herculean challenge that warrants national will and a new social contract. Maybe, it is the people of Pakistan backed by judiciary destined to lead it.

I have repeatedly written that in order to overcome challenges, Pakistan must seek advice from Latin American countries like Cuba, El Salvador, Sandinista, Honduras, Argentina, Mexico, Columbia, Nicaragua, Chile, Peru and Venezuela. Then will emerge stories with remarkable similarity to Pakistan.

Pakistan is facing and fighting external threats on its eastern and western fronts. The Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) are pitched in counter terrorism efforts on multiple fronts. The internal front is grappling with a coalition of organised criminals and gangs of political parties in Karachi. Army is being kept away from hardcore extremists in Punjab because in this game of thrones, these may be the design’s coup de grace. There is a sustained low intensity conflict sponsored by India from Afghanistan in Balochistan. Some ethnic political parties are waiting for the right moment.

Alarmingly, this war of attrition does not end here.

The entire context of Pakistan’s security is being deliberately ignored and relegated by the ruling establishment and its allies. They reckon they are fighting a far bigger battle for the survival of democracy and parliament. Their allies on this battlefront are a strange mix. Self-styled liberals and guardians of democracy have coalesced in greed. Fed by billions in dollars laundered away from Pakistan and being ripped from mega projects, there is no shortage of money to buy opinion makers. These comprise the fashionable drawing room liberal left, self-styled human rights activists, pseudo intellectuals, freelancers and media persons. Strangely these liberals are also joined by a band of religious right, ethnic political parties and merchants of death.

So while the army fights organised crime, gangs, terrorists and external threats, daemons are trying their best to make Pakistan a failed state so as to cause crises of governance, provoke outside intervention and reduce the military to the level of police. Then they, like looters of Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Central African Republic will be free and unchecked to loot Pakistan’s precious resources.

Economically, Pakistan has moved deep into the quagmire beyond a point of siege. It is already in surrender. World Bank verdicts in favour of India on two additional dams manifest this surrender. The debt trap is beyond a snowball, now an avalanche. The oft claimed GDP of five is built on one-time corrupt development indices. Motorways, mass transit programmes and large infrastructure projects provide spillways for corruption.

Also ignored is the fact that better governance results in manifold improvement in sustainability than money revolved through corruption infested mega projects. But governance is not at premium. Someone is hell bent to turn Pakistan into a frail and porous termite hill – an unstable state; these someones can be traced to the Charter of Democracy and the 18th Amendment. The rant of Chairman Senate against judiciary directly connects to the architect of this dangerous legislation.

The Annual State of Education Report (ASER) on Education is as shameful and alarming as it gets. Education has moved from a somewhat more efficient federal mechanism into the hands of politicians in the provinces. Too many cooks are spoiling the broth and generations of youngsters being made vulnerable to vested agendas. School education is plummeting.

The 18th Amendment through devolution has shaken the entire edifice of the state in crises. There is no redemption in sight. The events and bad governance are rapidly moving Pakistan towards a meltdown and an undeclared state of confederation.

The Supreme Court verdict on Panama is a setback for forces of sham democracy and liberalism. They are on a self-serving destructive course of maligning the judiciary and calling it judicial martial law. The narrative being spun is that the deep state has made a puppet of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Corruption by Sharifs to the tune of billions of dollars is not an issue.

Attacks on the judiciary and military are persistent and provocative. They are inviting a military intervention to go down as martyrs and create crises of governance that invites international intervention against Pakistan Army. This motivation is based on the many destabilising trajectories prepared by think tanks in USA. But this is very dangerous thinking. It would be suicidal to engage a battle-hardened army with nuclear weapons in a conventional invasion. Some Bonapartists and Neo Clauswitzians suggest that an internationally franchised intervention, using standoff technologies of Shock, Awe, Daisy Cutters and MOAB could damage Pakistan’s armed forces to a point of using UN inspectors to de-nuclearise Pakistan.

On the Panama front, battle lines are ready and drawn. Accountability courts are being packed with friendly judges. The Chairman of Rawalpindi Bench was promoted overnight from Grade 19 to officiate in 21. Combined investigation teams are already loaded. How much can one implementation judge do? The criminals are posturing to go scot free. The policy of defiance and sudden death is all too visible. How will the military stay out of this mess?

For patriotic Pakistanis, the ball is in the court of Supreme Court of Pakistan. Having taken the first step, they are under obligation to carry the process of accountability to its logical course. If the assertion of the apex court turns out to be a one-time bubble, it will be bad news for Pakistan. If it asserts, good governance followed by a broad spectrum pro-Pakistan policy will propel the country to a fast track of recovery. It is time to act.

As our physical training instructor in St. Anthony’s used to tell us, “Get down on your girders and be ready to roll.”

The writer is a political economist and a television anchorperson.