Media platforms throughout Pakistan and independent columnists have shouted themselves hoarse in pointing out that contrary to popular belief, the apathy ridden Election Commission led by an octogenarian gentleman had not fulfilled their mandate as expected. Corruption had nothing to do with this performance, but it was lack of enforcement and inability to aggressively and boldly redress reported irregularities that tainted this august institution.
Looping images of political parties and the shenanigans of their candidates (some of whom are now holding ministerial portfolios) should have been enough to mobilize the Chief Election Commissioner, but this did not happen. Time put controversy to bed until the appearance of a NADRA thumb print verification report that put the electoral process in doubt once again. The said report generated a pronounced reaction from PTI, which viewed it as a vindication of their stance that malpractices at polling stations had cost them a number of seats, both at the National and Provincial level. In an emotional outburst, the PTI leadership announced that they would take to the streets, till their concerns were redressed.
While one can understand the frustration prevailing amongst PTI cadres on alleged election malpractices, Imran Khan’s threat of mass street protest will be an unwise move at this point in time. The cricket hero-turned-politician should at this stage knock on the Apex Judiciary’s door instead of adopting a line that may snowball into violence.
It appears that while Khan Sahib learned to swing the ball in the air and off the pitch in a very effective manner, he has imbibed little so far as political strategy making is concerned. People who know him say that he is too opinionated, goes public with his reaction too quickly and commits too much - too soon. A person once sought the secret of success from a great and wise king – “Patience and the ability to heed wise counsel”, the monarch replied.
PTI appears to be suffering from an interesting anomaly – it displays lethargy when it should be swift and it reacts impetuously when it should wait for the right moment. A case in point is the prompt lack of reaction and personal presence of PTI ministers and provincial leadership at the sites of the recent bomb attacks in the KPK capital and the rhetorical over commitment towards reforms that raised people’s expectations to an unachievable level.
The party is already under severe criticism - not only from its political opponents, but from within its cadres, for what appears to be an operational paralysis in governance. It was expected that the results of NA l by-election would be a rude wakeup call for the KPK Chief Minister, but this does not appear to be happening and as expected, this vacuum is being effectively exploited (and even filled) by the Awami National Party.
And now to matters military. The Prime Minister has deferred appointing the Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee till the appointment of the new Chief of the Army Staff. This could be an assertion of authority by the country’s chief executive or a political necessity. It would have been well if the Chairman Joint Chief of Staff had been appointed immediately on vacation, as a delay, even though short, is liable to give rise to speculation and rumor – something that is totally undesirable within the armed forces.
All said and done, the fire beneath the political soup kettle has been rekindled and the contents have begun to simmer once more. Interesting times are nigh for political pundits and television analysts, but as words and rhetoric are played to the gallery and television audiences, the man in the street is only interested in one thing – survival.

The writer is a freelance columnist.