The trouble with being over confident is that you see a leaf fall and you think you know which way the wind is blowing. The dust over the NA-120 election is slowly settling. The battle is over, the war far from. The stakes are getting higher. There can be only one survivor. Let’s look at the winners and losers from this battle of NA-120.

The first winner has been the establishment-backed Milli Muslim league which openly used the picture and ideology of UN banned Hafiz Saeed which only recently has been condemned in the BRICS summit by countries including best friend China. Their endorsement in the political arena allows them a larger playground to wreak havoc with Pakistan’s image globally.The religious factor in politics is here to stay, or at least this is how the husky boys see things.

 Fed up with anti-establishment stand of the parties like JUI-F and dismal performance of the Jamaat-e-Islami, they have played another card by launching militant parties like MML. Little do they know that this will end up as a Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and will come back to haunt Pakistan a while later.

The fear of the victory of PMLN in NA-120 was too much to handle for the powers that be. To break down the vote bank of PML-N various banned outfits were launched to make sure Nawaz backed candidate lost.

Imran Khan has played his part and is useless now. People like Hamza Abbasi have already sensed the change of mood and are ready to jump ship. His recent tweet praising Hafiz Saeed is a crude example of his cunning foresight. The thing I like about Hamza Abbasi is that he is very smart and plays to the audience, the only one that matters. The thing that worries me is that he might be too smart for himself.

Leading to the NA-120 election, internal attacks were concealed but rampant within the PMLN. Nisar’s statement of avoiding a clash between the institutions and asking parliament to remain in limits is tantamount to treason. How can an elected parliamentarian equate a supreme institution like parliament with a subservient institution like the armed forces, I fail to comprehend. Moreover, some within the Sharif family allegedly failed to play an active part in the election which raised quite a few eyebrows. This could just be speculation.

The huge crowd which Maryam pulled every day during her campaign must be a damning sight for the husky boys. They are clearly unnerved and might unleash something worse and sinister. Eventually they will fail but it will take its toll on Pakistan which is why I think it is the biggest loser of the election in NA-120.

The lab which we call Pakistan must go through some more experiments before it takes a definitive shape and before the institutions realise their rightful and constitutional place. As I said earlier in one of my articles, Nawaz, Bilawal, Maryam or for that matter any political leader is irrelevant in the long run. It is not a clash of personalities rather it is a clash of the supremacy of the civilians. It is time that those who masquerade clash of institutional interests as clash of principles must be taken to task.

One hypothesis which I was pretty sure about has been confirmed is that the PML-N stands with Nawaz. Anyone else in the Sharif family would be naive to think otherwise. Having talked to a lot of voters in the recent weeks it is clear like a sunny day that Maryam will be a force to reckon with. She definitely proved many wrong and is now ready to lead the party. Her visit to church during the election campaign and address to the Christian community sends a clear message that religious bigotry will not be tolerated anymore.

The re-opening of Hudaibya mill case at this moment clearly signals the growing pressure being faced by the courts. The streamlining of banned outfits as touted by General (r) Amjad Shoaib has already begun. I believe the establishment has a few more tricks up their sleeve, each probably more lethal than every previous one.

The complaints of PML-N about their voters and agents being picked up and the journalists not being allowed to properly cover the election is not a promising sign. The murmurs coming from USA to blacklist certain intelligence officials in Pakistan is alarming and I sincerely hope that the people at top must lend an ear to these rumors.

The creating of more civilian posts in ISI is a very wise move and it passed without any apparent hue and cry. Government must not think that there will be no reaction. They must not blink. Expecting silence is like hoping against hope. In this struggle, PML-N will go the distance. Nawaz has been the prime minister thrice. What more can he possible achieve? He has been a politician for decades. Perhaps it’s time for him to be a statesman.