There are no clear signals that Musharraf’s political venture is getting support from the establishment; nor can there be many reasons for such support. One, the army is clearing the very mess that Musharraf had admittedly created and two, why would anyone reuse a fired cartridge instead of a fresh one? After all, there was nothing special with the person of Musharraf, which he himself seems to firmly believe in, except the stick that he no longer holds. But Zardari must have smelt some rat when he questioned who was backing Musharraf in a rather confident tone, a tone that is not in much vogue after the raid on 90. How then, can Musharraf’s recently enhanced activity be politically interpreted? Assuming there is no such thing as was apprehended by Zardari, does the question bear any relevance? He is possibly just reading far too much between the lines for having fallen within the general exception of the operation in Karachi.

What is more relevant, perhaps, is that the MQM is in trouble; no political party can survive for such a time as the MQM has done with the violent and criminal tactics that are so commonly associated with it. The JI is another example but violence in JI has been mostly limited to its wings and has not become a part of the mainstream politics of the JI in such a way as it did in the case of the MQM.

A fear is now gripping the PPP: that the same model that has been applied to the MQM could be repeated in its case too. Many journalists and anchors considered close to the establishment are now foretelling a similar fate for the PPP.

The PMLN having learnt the “right lessons” from its survival from the dharnas is happy with whatever little is on the table, and is more interested in enjoying the “perks and privileges” that are associated with “whatever little is on the table”. Meanwhile, the PTI, after selling every ideal and making every compromise possible under the sun, in order to get access to the corridors of power, wants to enjoy the ride. After its (mis)adventure, it would rather avoid any “unnecessary risks” and wait and see what turn the establishment’s machinations take and how it can fit into them. So, the agreement on a Judicial Commission, out of the blue, demonstrates that both parties are exhausted and up for a break from confrontation.

While the PMLN is in survival mode, the MQM is in exit mode, the PTI in entry mode and the PPP in flight mode; the all-powerful establishment is in fight mode. Its back in the driving seat. Apex committees, not heard of much before, are not that novel a concept. Does the old demand of the National Security Council ring any bells? A lot of them have now been established, at all levels that matter. Even at the levels not demanded before.

Leaving aside the power struggle among the power players amongst themselves, what is going on at the governance level; the level that directly impacts the life of the man on the street. The PMLN takes governance as large multi billion visible projects with allegedly big kickbacks flying abroad. The PPP usually achieves that kickbacks flight without bothering much on big visible projects. And what about the harbinger of change? The party of change has changed little except on its social media pages; by all accounts, in substantial terms, its business as usual in KP.

On the larger political canvas however, the space for the establishment is diminishing, despite the recent comeback. Its peak time is long over but it’s the political class that has been failing us by not rising to the occasion and grabbing real power which is up for grabs. Owing to the failure of the existing political class, a huge political vacuum is there for new political forces. The million-dollar question is: who will fill that vacuum and when?