ISLAMABAD: The question these days on the lips of almost every ordinary citizen is what will happen on August 14, the 67th anniversary of the creation of Pakistan.
The political temperature in the country is rising with every passing moment with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif-led government now keenly seeking help, support and advice from every political leader without taking into consideration their weight and stature in a bid to find a way out from the current political impasse. Surely, several of the leaders that PM Nawaz Sharif met or talked to in the last few days would be of no use or help to him at this critical time. Anyways, good for them to be in the glare of media after a long time.
A month-long celebration events that the government had promised have already been sidelined by tall claims of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s chief Imran Khan and Canadian cleric of Pakistani origin Dr Tahirul Qadri that days of Sharif-led government in office are numbered. Imran Khan is so far determined not to call off his ‘Azadi’ (independence) march on Islamabad planned for August 14 until the removal of the government, which he terms as ‘despotic and monarchical’, while Qadri predicts that the current government would cease to exist before the end of this month. More interestingly, Dr Qadri on Thursday revealed that Sharif brothers and their families have completed all preparations to run away from the country to United States, as, according to him, this time the Saudi and British authorities would deny them space to spend an exiled life in their countries.
Contrarily, the government has decided to deal Qadri and his followers with an iron fist while showing some leniency to PTI followers. The government’s strategy seems to keep Qadri and his supporters at distance from Imran Khan’s upcoming protest march. It appears that mostly “so-called” nationalist leaders from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces gave this suggestion to Nawaz Sharif. Leaving aside Qadri and his directionless mantra of revolution, the lines for a turf war have already been drawn between Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan.
The only demand made lately by Imran Khan was to conduct fresh elections in the country under supervision of a new election commission.
At the same time, he has warned the government to avoid creating hurdles in his way; otherwise, according to him, he would paralyze the entire country. But the ambiguity which seems in Khan’s stance since he embarked on warpath to overthrow Sharif’s government was that how would he achieve this goal? The only way out mentioned in the constitution for removal of the elected government is through a vote of no confidence in the National Assembly. Mr Khan cannot even think of bringing a no confidence move against Sharif’s ruling PML-N with the support of his 34 members in a house comprising of 342 members.
This leaves Imran Khan with two options; either, the PM should dissolve the National Assembly and announce fresh elections or Mr Khan’s demand should be met through some extra-constitutional step. Will PM Sharif opt to dissolve the National Assembly after enjoying a thumping majority in the house? Certainly, he will not. Although, Imran Khan has not clearly defined his plan for pursuing his objectives in the ambit of the constitution but, no doubt, has become nightmarish for PM Sharif-led dispensation. If he continues with his plan of long march and succeeds in turning it into a big show by paralyzing the country through his prolonged sit-in in the capital city, then, in such a scenario it will be the military to call the last shot.
The generals are closely watching the current situation from the garrison city of Rawalpindi with their binoculars. The invocation of article 245 by PM in Islamabad has already made their job easier. It would be just a simple order and the soldiers will change the direction of their guns. Hence, Sharif brothers need to realize to play their cards well and break the political deadlock before it gets too late. None from many political brokers or heavyweights would come for their rescue once things go out from their control. In such a situation, many from the long brigade of their MPs in National Assembly will not waste time to sit in the lap of other political actors with the blessing of military establishment.
However, it would be premature to suggest what will happen next but the political stakes for both Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif are high at this point of time with seemingly no win-win situation in sight for any one of them.
Also to be on record: The most active in this gambit of political twists and turns are the “Tamasha-men” in our media mills, especially TV stations. You just task them with anything and they will perform. Indeed, they are good performers. Some were seen not in a distant past while reciting holy things on TV channels while others jumped into electronic media from backgrounds having no relevance with the field of journalism. Our political junta blindly relies on these male actors, fond of make-ups (preferably use lipsticks and foundations of different shades and colours to look prettier in light than they actually are) and flashy dressing, as if they have a magic wand that can help them in resolving their problems or fulfilling their dreams. They keep the nation busy with their imbalanced, biased and concocted views and poor analysis in manner as if they were the reincarnation of Plato or Aristotle. They comment on every subject under the sky with the confidence and authority of a guru, as one independent analyst observed. As soon as they wind up their tamasha, the first thing they ask from their camera crew or participants in their “tamashas” usually is: “Kaisa raha show” (How was the show). Superb, great is the common reply while TV viewers and many politicians, especially second and third tier leadership in political parties, keep wondering as if what will happen next!!
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