Writing on the wall
By Wasib Imdad
Just a while ago, a member of the Indian Rajya Sabha, Subramanian Swamy, who also happens to be the father of journalist Suhasini Haider, tweeted condemning the policies of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he sensed that the US and China have both decided to move Pakistan out of the grey-list and land it into the white. He says that Modi was given the local push on his anti-Pakistan mantra and his flight to isolate Pakistan through his diplomatic moves has crash landed but it is Imran Khan whose diplomatic wand seems to be displaying magic. So far FATF seems to be content with Pakistan and its steps post-October whereas Pakistan, along with answering the tough question posed, tried to awaken the international establishment regarding what else it needs to prove that its terror financing allegations are left in the dark of the past.
Social media is set abuzz with UK laying out the latest travel advisory for Pakistan asking its citizens to go and explore the country terming its airs to be safe to breathe. On the other hand, globally acknowledged monthly mag: The Economist, in its latest edition, laughs upon Modi calling him a symbol of terror & injustice; the downfall of the once secular India.
Locally, the latest figures of the Transparency International are in discussion. A report that terms Pakistan depleting in terms of cleansing off corruption, moving from 117 to 120 and scoring 32 on the corruption index. This is said to be a major blow for Imran Khan and his narrative that he had carried forth, built upon the space of 22 years. His critics say that those who were said to be the looters and plunderers kept the figures in control but the one whose integrity is idiomatic and honesty is unquestionable has corrupted the statistics. Transparency International praises NAB, the anti-corruption watchdog and its chief, saying that nearly 130 billion have been recovered out of the 530 references filed & finalised. Now here is where suspicions come to surface as on one hand Pakistan falls to the score of 33 on the corruption index but on the flipside, NAB, whose only job to do is to curb financial terrorism and mismanagement is piled with praise. This irony can be said, in sporting terms, that a team loses a game because of dropping catches & leaking runs while after the result the fielding coach is applauded upon his work done. Personally, for me the report itself lacks transparency. Research says that the data that has been used to make the report is of the year 2015-2016 and in actuality, it talks of the corruption when the PML-N was in power.
Let’s understand that the rifts within are intensifying. Be it Usman Buzdar vs. the Chief Secretary or Atif Khan Khattak vs. Mehmood Khan, be it the widening cracks within PTI and MQM or the power greedy GDA knocking the doors of PMO on a daily basis, be it the Chaudharies eyeing the CM’ship or be it the no confidence move against Jam Kamal; its rigidity and only rigidity for Imran Khan and PTI. Political Pundits see a major shakeup in the month of February and March which means that Imran Khan needs out-of-the-box solutions to the problems residing in the box. Shehbaz Sharif is busy in secret meets in London trying to fix his spot if Imran Khan is struck down. Imran Khan also knows that keeping the dissenting allies in control won’t be an easy burp to hold for long and a no confidence move may just be a nod away from behind the curtains. Imran Khan will then have two options, either to go through to the no confidence move and see who sides who or to slap the chess board to end the game without any winner. It will be advisable that Imran Khan must then masquerade as a common man and move within the cities and villages knowing the public pulse. Once he frees himself off the flatterers and hears what the common man has to say, only then the decision he takes will be a correct one.
Imran Khan may now think of striking his long awaited move of de-seating Usman Buzdar. It is now becoming next to impossible to save his beloved CM’s face and sell the party’s narrative in Punjab on his name. He has realized that restructuring the bureaucracy for nearly 6 rounds since holding power, it is no other but Usman Buzdar who has to be blamed for non-deliverance. The last bureaucratic shakeup took place in late November which was termed to be the best chapter of postings and transfers possible. Things however, failed to take a positive turn. Fawad Chaudhary is right seeking the resignation of Usman Buzdar, telling him that since he is the source of such disgrace for the else acceptable Prime Minister, he should himself hang his boots up. Buzdar seems to have other things on his mind. He is enjoying Fawad being attacked by Firdaus and Chohan while he has his sleeves folded for his tussle with the Chief Secretary. He has reportedly created a pressure group of 20 dissenting MPA’s and messages are being sent to the centre that bureaucracy is hampering his stride to delivery. Governor Sarwar also reiterated the other day that allies complain that Punjab is being run from the centre and bureaucracy doesn’t obey the political commandments.
The pressure group will succeed in knocking the Chief Secretary down or not? Only time will tell but the writer’s gut says that the going may be the writing on the wall post the last wakeup call when Khan reopens his notes returning from Davos.
The writer is an Islamabad based Broadcast Journalist. He tweets @wasib25