Strategic Notes: How Chaudhrys dealt with the Azadi March

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RIAZ MISSEN
Chaudharys of Gujarat have claimed to having reached with him an understanding whereby he ended his Islamabad sit-in without achieving his goal — the PM’s resignation.
Chaudharys worked silently and kept media away from their deliberations with the Maulana and his associates. But Chaudhary Pervez Elahi is in the limelight now, after Maulana has started leading prayers on provincial highways reiterating his pledge of letting the rulers rule even for a single day.
What Elahi has revealed so far is enough to understand that Chaudharys’ gains through engagement with Maulana exceed that of the parties to the conflict (PTI and the JUI-F).
Chaudharys’ real worry in politics is the PML-N; they have not even hesitated to sit across the table with the PPP leadership, which once had implicated them in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, but they have engaged with Sharifs only in zero-sum game.
Their experience in politics has convinced them to believe that that the more the PML-N’s space in Punjab shrinks the more they will benefit.
Chaudharys seized opportunity when General Musharraf snatched power from the PML-N in 1999 — the PML-Q sucked electable from this party and found agreeable partners in the form of the MMA to dominate the post-2002 scenario.
A political scenario in which the PPP and the PML-N are sidelined has benefitted the Chaudharys and the Maulana — the both. And it has not happened in too a distant past. Chaudharys appear to have assured Maulana is that they would love to take him on their side if he is willing to be part of the game.
It seems Chaudharys have made the Maulana seek solace in his towering position in politics, which he has gained through his dharna. He rose to prominence due to the reason that the top leadership of the leading parties was in jail. The situation is little bit similar to that of the Musharaf era when PPP and the PML-N leadership were on self-exile letting Maulana and the Chaudharys dominate the political scene.
From the deliberations made by Pervez Elahi at media, there also appears the possibility that the Chaudharys have explained to him the cost of advancing the interests of the ‘condemned’ parties. Though the Chaudharys while engaging the Maulana had nothing to offer him but they made him realize that there was no benefit in prolonging his dharna at Islamabad after crossing the red line
Whatever has transpired between Chaudharys and the Maulana may not be known exactly, what is obvious is that dharna is over to the much relief of both him and Imran Khan. Whatever he does to the provincial governments and how he is dealt with is not something that should not bother the Chaudharys.
The PML-Q has rekindled in the hearts of the JUI-F leadership the hope for the existence of a vacuum in politics, similar to that of the Musharraf’s times. After his interaction with the Chaudharys, the Maulana must be in a better position to understand and act not only to the advantage of himself but also the Chaudharys of Gujarat as well.
As for Maulana, he will keep treading on the path of protest till he is advice by his ranks and files to be at peace and no more indulge in, what is increasingly becoming, a public nuisance. The local administration, read Deputy Commissioners, has to deal with him not keeping in mind the complexities of politics but the public pressure due to incontinence caused to them. It is where the Maulana would move to his Plan C. What lies ahead for the Maulana, Chaudharys know but they will not reveal it right now.