Islamabad - Eighteen years back, in the same manicured garden of the then Spanish ambassador’s residence, enjoying the cool October breeze while being served with Spanish Tapas, the guests were in a panic as the event of the night unfolded.

They were discussing the military takeover, the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s future and the endangered democracy in the country. It was Spanish National Day reception on 12th Oct 1999 and a military coup was in the making, one of the guests reminisced about the military long preserved in his memory.

Ironically, yesterday, in the same garden, the point of discussion was nothing but politics and the country this time around was not Pakistan but Spain. Catalonia, which has been part of Spain since 12th century through a royal marriage and is designated as a nationality by its Statute of Autonomy, is on the verge of declaring independence. Its main nerve “Barcelona” happens to be one of the Europe’s most significant metropolitan cities and one of the biggest tourist destinations from all over the world.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, elected in 2011 for the first time, has weathered many political storms, seen many shades of grey and walked out with triumph in the past while dealing with his nemesis in the parliament. He had seen three elections in seven years of his rule due to hung parliaments, political deadlocks, and shenanigans of politicians. The septuagenarian Spaniard till now has proven himself not only a tuff taskmaster but a smooth negotiator as well. He has so far survived the storms, but this one is a tsunami and much more challenging. The rooster has come to roast, and his political acumen is on the test, as Catalonian cumbrous referendum has been declared successful by the Catalonians. This issue is for sure a complicated mess. “We too are in a serious mess,” commented a PML-N renegade senator when asked how hot was the political temperature in the capital.

“They are testing the patience of the powers to be. It will happen one fine day as this status quo can’t be sustained for long,” he added. Guests at the reception were also gravely concerned about Finance Ministers Dar’s health as well as his political future as both are interconnected to the economy of the country and bilateral relationships with the international market.

“Those who don’t want to leave are being forced to leave, and those, who have left, want be back one way or the other,” commented a European ambassador, referring to Chaudhry Nisar’s Press conference earlier in the day. “I am sure he is regretting it.

He now wants to be seen and heard, but he has missed the bus. His services are no longer required from either side of the aisle,” added an east European ambassador.

Most of the guests at the reception were very fond of ambassador Carlos Morales. He is not only an ardent reader but also a bibliophilic, who takes joy in discussing and arguing over any good book. A seasoned diplomat and a bachelor by choice, Carlos has an illustrious career ahead of him, as the retirement in Spain comes at the age of 65 years. 

–The writer is a freelancer

 

ab khan