What is worse than a card being played? A card that doesn’t know it’s being played. To make better sense of this statement replace the word card with ‘pawn’. This sums up the difference between the current situation of Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri. Qadri at least knows he is being played. I have a feeling he secretly likes it.

We have all surely heard about Game of Thrones. Well, today let’s run through a local version called the ‘Game of Cards.’ The only difference being that in our local version there is only one winner no matter what, well up until now anyways. But things are beginning to change. The basis on which the empire of our huskies is build has started to crumble, very slowly but surely. On the surface everything seems calm but this calm may be the silence before the storm.

I have a few reasons to support this argument. In a game of cards, when you are forced to play all your trump cards quickly, this shows that something is wrong somewhere. The trouble with following precedents is that you are always looking towards the past and cannot foresee what will eventually hit you. The trouble with intrigues is that you never know who is on whose side until the game is over. 

Let’s see what went wrong for the previous winner, our very own huskies.

Let look at the first card. Nawaz was disqualified, albeit on reasons not suited to disqualify even a peon. Even if he did something wrong, where are the proofs of billions of dollars that he embezzled? Was he worse than Lt General Sajjad Ghani, who was politely punished for his corruption? Disqualification of Nawaz on petty charges reflects an uneasy and loosing of control over the game of cards. The expectations were that the PML-N would crack and two or three factions would be created. That did not happen. Let’s dwell on why. MNAs and politicians always switch parties noticing the mood of the people as well as that of the huskies. In this case they have sensed that may be, just may be the huskies are fighting a losing battle. Not to say that Nawaz does not have his loyal people. Chaudhries of Gujrat also seemed to have lost hope. If it was 10 years ago maybe we would have seen them being more active. The transition from Nawaz to Abbasi was very peaceful which must not have gone down well with the huskies. Appointing a judge to oversee NAB proceedings is just like in old times when a woman accompanied the bride to make sure she settled in her husband’s house. In the end she ended up creating more harm than good for the couple. This trend thankfully ended.

Let’s move on to the next card. The creation of Milli Muslim League by Jamaat-ud-Dawa which is better known as the front face of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, an organisation which is known as a designated terrorist group to the world. For years they have been just limited to charity work, street protests and other militant activities. Creating a political party out of JuD just shows that stakes have been raised. The huskies no longer trust Imran Khan or Tahirul Qadri to do the job for them, not that they like to stick with same cards every time. The problem with the game of cards is that there are only 52 cards and you don’t get all of them if you are playing with someone. They are beginning to understand that things might get out of hand. If a day so comes where huskies do not trust the parties like Jamaat-e-Islami and other religious outfits this means things are slipping out of mind. MML now will be used to keep a check on other politicians and to issue certificates of Sadiq and Ameen. I doubt they will succeed. I believe people might just have had enough of this.

Now to the third card; it has been played time and again and successfully. The trouble with fooling people is that you can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. Tahirul Qadri has returned from Canada to pressurise the political administration particularly Shahbaz Sharif to make sure the cattle stays in the field. He might succeed for a while because let’s face it the Model Town Massacre was a tragedy. However, many people do not know that some officers do not take orders just from their civilian bosses. An example is the security on the day of the announcement of the Panama Verdict by the Supreme Court. There was no need for issuing an alert to increase security as PML-N had said it would accept every decision. Some people were hoping against hope that PML-N would react like it did in the '90s but surely Nawaz knows how to play this game better now. That plan therefore went down the drain. Qadri will try to create a scene and with his army of loyal supporters he might try and give another dharna, which might just be his last.

Warning shot sare being fired. There was a bomb blast a in a truck which had been standing at the spot for some days. It has been confirmed by people close to Nawaz that it was supposed to be the route which the former prime minister was expected to take. I somehow draw parallels between this blast and the one which took place in Karachi during the rally taken out for Benazir Bhutto in Karachi in 2007 which she survived but met her fate on December 27 the same year. The message to Nawaz is simple and clear. We are watching your every move. Take a leaf from the history book.

Nawaz’s decision to travel from GT Road also did not go down well with the powers that be. Imran has spoken out, Qadri too has poured in his two cents. So called defence analysts are also vomiting their thoughts onto the public. I foresee a strong battle in which Nawaz might lose the battle but will not be out of the war. He will be down but not out. He seems determined. I fear for the life of Nawaz therefore all the security must be provided to him. I also believe IK and TuQ should also be given all the security they deserve. I might disagree with their beliefs, not them. I focus on action and words not people.

Whatever happens, decades from now when people will look back at this time they will realise that out of all Nawaz was on the right side of history, starting his career like most politicians under the establishment umbrella but very soon coming out of it and ending up fighting for the civilian supremacy! Imran will be remembered as a fool who played into hands of a dying and frustrated section of the society.

As Milton says in Paradise Lost “All is not Lost; the unconquerable will, and study of revenge, immortal hate, and the courage never to submit or yield.”

The stakes may be rising. A rising tide will raise all ships but one. Which one will that be? Coming days will reveal.