In an earlier article I had commented that Pakistan has successfully evaded a nadir on an instability trajectory that could have given an impetus to overt international interventions. The objectives of my assessments are now well known. Demonise the armed forces of Pakistan through every conceivable method and open gateways to wresting control of Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities. But this most likely scenario has been averted temporarily and not removed. Though the formula to restore civilian supremacy through tainted crooks has thus far produced no results, moths are at work within and outside the politic body to deliver the most dangerous and unkindest cuts.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has been slow but sure. The process to punish corruption has moved into the accountability phase. After removal of a corrupt prime minister, a peaceful transition to power has taken place through the Parliament. The Sharif family has already moved to UK and most likely to remain in a self-imposed exile.

In threat perception, statesmen must not only be cognisant of the most likely scenario but always aware of the most dangerous. They must plan for the worst. 

To comprehend my thesis, let us first recuperate how this scenario unfolded.

Economically, 2006 was a good year for Pakistan. But by 2007, the cookie began to crumble. Circular debt in the energy sector began to mount and international oil prices shot up. A crisis to pitch President Musharraf against the Chief Justice was manufactured and the general fell for it. Suddenly, there were energy crises all over the country. Sugar and wheat cartels aggravated the artificial crisis. Feeling vulnerable and weak, President Musharraf began to negotiate reconciliation. This part of the plan was executed by Pakistani economic hit-men lead by a Prime Minister in power.

The reconciliation had a methodology to insert exposed crooks with international vulnerabilities into the political system. The idea was that it would be easy to handle, convince and tame politicians who have skeletons in the cupboards. Benazir unlike General Musharraf saw through the plan and decided to challenge it. Therefore, she had to go and she went. Her assassination was not a terrorism event but a fail-safe assassination operation.

President Musharraf tried desperately to cling to power only to realise that his most favored successor was no more with him. At an opportune time the judicial crises was defused through a cellphone call and a judicial sacrilege committed. Crows were perched where eagles dare.

Unpopular and besieged, Musharraf chose to leave. NRO 1 imposed the first group of thugs on Pakistan. To ensure that the plan remained on course, an extension facilitated a NRO 2 with rigged elections to impose the bigger group of thugs. A situation was created to facilitate NRO 3 for 2018 but was averted by default once negotiations between Imran Khan and General Raheel Sharif failed during the Dharna. The military understood the script and decided to avoid any military intervention in politics. General Bajwa has continued the policy.

In light of the above narration, it is now easier to understand why it is crucial for Sharifs to establish a linkage between the military and the judiciary: perhaps also explaining why the judiciary has been thus far reluctant at invoking Article 190 of the Constitution. It is for this reason that it has adopted a cautious, slow and assertive approach. In reaction, the Sharif clan and select media groups have opened a relentless barrage against the Judicial-Military nexus.

But plan 1 has not worked and gears must be switched to more lethal options. A dangerous contingency plan is now in play. The architects of NRO 1 and 2 have embarked on a more destructive course for the same objective. A time is not far when the nuclear debate against North Korea will shift to Iran and then Pakistan. Pakistan must be prepared.

The collection of thugs and crooks in London reminds me of the Shakespearean witches and their lethal brew of intrigues. Before England successfully moved into its parliamentary democracy, its political system was full of intrigues, betrayals, murders and witchcraft. The Shakespearean drama was enacted in the midst of such political turmoil and witches had an important role to play. They cajoled, provoked, imbued ambitions, seduced, enticed murders and got their blood. These metaphorical witches are once again collecting in England to brew a lethal mix.

Imagine Altaf Hussain, the self-styled Baloch separatists, Sharifs and their henchmen on a rendezvous with witches. It is no coincidence that well-crafted Baloch sub nationalist banners have started appearing all over Switzerland, Belgium (EU) and France. All actors have a common theme in demonising Pakistan and its Army. The pace at which this dangerous game is being played makes it nigh possible that some international groups midwife a government in exile to embarrass Pakistan. Time is of essence and policy makers in Pakistan must remain cognisant and sensitive about this issue.

Unfortunately, Pakistan’s vulnerabilities provide many precursors to set the fire alight. But the one that would have the most immediate effect is economic. As a jump off point, Pakistan’s economic meltdowns in a post Sharif era will make them look good. The common theme could be, “so what if they were crooks, at least they delivered”.

Remember that the Sharif Family business and cartels nestled around them control Pakistan’s consumer market; the only growing index in the economy. Circular debt like 2007 has once again piled up. Pakistan’s energy sectors are at the mercy of PSO, OGRA, NEPRA and IPPs. Sugar and wheat mafias are in waiting. Pakistan is already in a debt trap. Foreign and internal debt is snowballing. Rupee is deliberately over valued to pull the plug. Pakistan is ripe for another engineered meltdown. Someone has to just pull the trigger; and there are many within just too eager to do it.

Also remember that the Finance Minister may never return. Governor State Bank is not a banker. Chairman SECP is compromised. President National Bank has confessed to money laundering. The country has no agriculture and industrial policy. There is nothing to hedge Pakistan’s interests. To top it all, the witches are in a trance of hurly burly. 

Already some skeletons have begun to sing. General Musharraf’s disclosure on the murder of Benazir Bhutto is an admission that his handle theory was fabricated. Apart from leveling allegations against Zardari, he needs to tell the nation about who briefed him on this theory. He needs to be brave and not selective in his disclosures.

Meanwhile Pakistan’s way forward is defined by McCarthyism in accountability, quick dispensation of justice and neutralizing the witches of London. Pakistan has found timely allies and must fight the battle to the finish. The man known for ‘no way but my way’ must not be allowed to pull any trigger.


The writer is a political economist and a television anchorperson.