By Wasib Imdad
If there is one thing that is predictable about Pakistani politics, it is its unpredictability. The air in Islamabad is too heavy with talks going around about Maulana, Nawaz Sharif’s exit, Qasim Suri facing a no confidence and, of course, Imran Khan’s Kartarpur masterstroke. Its Maulana’s second week in Islamabad and things are as uncertain as they were on the first day.
Khan thought that he had dodged the Maulana bullet. Maulana himself, midway, lost the path he was travelling on. He, now, seems to have held his nerve and brought things back to calculation. His plan A, apparently, was choking Islamabad and forcing the government to take some drastic measures and mess up everything. The government, so far, has dealt things staying at a distance. This has made Maulana re think. He thought the government would make a mess out his crowd. Loss to life and property would be on the cards and ultimately his path to the next polls would cut short. Maulana’s plan A wasn’t a complete failure. It wasn’t completely successful either. He made the government kneel down to hear what he actually had to say. If things are looked at with a microscopic view, the hooliganism prior to the dharna has died down and has now surfaced techniques of cautious political handling.
Handling things over to the Chaudhary brothers, on itself, shows that Imran Khan doesn’t trust the Khattak led group and their negotiating skills. Chaudharies of Gujrat, too, seem clueless on how to turn Maulana over to pack his crowd and go back home. What options is Maulana considering now? Eavesdroppers say that Maulana is thinking, as his first option, to give a shutter down call, second is to stop the major highways and motorways across the country and the third is to force the opposition to resign from their seats which will automatically lead to the government collapsing. Maulana needs to keep a 360° view towards everything as it will be him who will lose and any misadventure will cost him heavily.
He, himself, claimed in a recent television interview that the government has pushed him to the wall and now he has no way of going back. He usually stays calm, handling tough questions has been his forte and he never loses his cool knowing what and how much to speak. He never puts all his eggs in one basket and leaves a path open to return. For him, U-turn is never a big deal but, yes, he never has claimed it as a trait of a great leader; a laughing stock only piled by our very handsome PM. Recently, but, I have seen and observed that Maulana seems searching for words to force his narrative. He seems angered and desperate. It is this desperation that seems to bring tough days and nights ahead. Maulana is alone. He was helped to climb the stage by shoulders provided N league and PPP. Both took their support away and he has been left alone to face the yearning gazes of the crowd. His resources are expiring, his people are tiring and retiring leaving only fright in his heart. The culmination of his dharna episode would certainly determine his political route ahead. The answers are to be heard in days to come.
As of I write, Mian Nawaz Sharif is at his Jati Umra residence in Lahore. He was shifted there after spending two weeks at the Services Hospital Lahore. His health is deteriorating and it is a quizzing scenario for all the stake holders who want to get rid of all sorts of blames, be it moral or political. Shehbaz Sharif wrote to the Ministry of Interior for the removal of the Ex Premier’s name from the ECL. The letter has become a shuttlecock between the government and NAB.
Nawaz, till his last heard words, was unbridled on his civil supremacist stance. Khan too stands firm on his no NRO ground and has, time and again, claimed that plea bargain is the only legally acceptable option that is open if the Sharif family wants any relief. Questions, however, would float around once Nawaz Sharif’s air ambulance leaves the runway. Khan’s tough stance would be viewed with suspicion and Nawaz would be ridiculed for cracking under heat again. People would ask that how, despite having the best of the medical fraternity, is Nawaz Sharif going outside? If going is a must then what about his return and the major cases that are pending in the courts? What if he goes and never comes back, walks around fit and healthy like Ishaq Dar, Sharjeel Memon, Dr Asim and co.? Why do the government’s spokespersons keep calling Shehbaz Sharif as the game changer. What sort of a game that is being played, has he changed and who, from the power corridors, has lent him a helping hand and, yes, what about the common man? Is he only going to chant the political slogans, stuff the ballot boxes, fill the procession arenas and pay hefty taxes? Or is there some sort of respite, something to cheer for him in the Naya Pakistan?
Khan needs to list out of the box solutions, now, as all the ones he had in his box failed and failed miserably. If there is any rabbit left in his hat, a rabbit related to a magic trick that positively affects the common man, then he needs to pull that rabbit out right this second. He needs to unpack and unveil, from his policy stock, any bamboozle, hoodwink or flimflam, if there is any, regarding public welfare. Any delay further, and the continuation of the same pale fruitless policies would pump more and more sectors protesting on the roads and it would be Imran Khan who will be deserted by his close aides then. My friends, that is the labyrinthine politics of today.
The writer is an Islamabad based Broadcast Journalist. He tweets @wasib25