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Monday, September 25, 2023

Faisal Vawda “Military Boot” stunt: Will PM Imran take notice?

Faisal Vawda apparently trolled PML-N and PPP but there is a widely held perception that he primarily but recklessly ridiculed the army. Was he confirming the army’s role in politics? Will the captain "Imran Khan" be okay with such stunts?

Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda on Tuesday trolled the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for their unconditional support to the amendment in the Army Act by bringing a military-style boot in a live TV show. Mr. Vawda has been criticized for his ‘politically unethical’ act on social media.

Apparently, Vawda was ridiculing both parties, whose representatives were present in the studio, for backtracking on their claims of standing up for the civilian supremacy. He said the stance of PML-N and opposition parties change from ‘Vote Ko Izzat Do’ to ‘Boot ko Izzat Do’.

PML-N leader Javed Abbasi and PPP’s stalwart Qamar Zaman Kaira left the show to protest the ill-thought move by the controversial PTI leader.

The PTI government presented the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act, 2020, in the National Assembly (NA) and major opposition parties, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) offered their ‘unconditional‘ support. PML-N’s unconditional support to amend the Army Act was received with great surprise by many of its supporters and journalists who once thought of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, as a pro-democracy voice who stood up against the establishment. PML-N’s anti-army narrative got completely changed when it decided to offer its unconditional support.

Read more: Gir gaye Sajdon mein jb waqt e Qayam aya: PPP, PML-N & Army Act

In November last year, the Supreme Court (SC), in a historic judgment, directed the government to “remove ambiguity” in rules on the issue of extension in an army chief’s tenure. The bill to be presented in the Lower House today will seek to amend the laws governing Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force, and Pakistan Navy.

PTI leaders separately met central leaders of the PML-N, PPP and other opposition parties in a bid to achieve the number required to amend the law through the NA and ratify it from the Senate.

A delegation of PTI lawmakers comprising Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Leader of the House for the Senate Shibli Faraz and Senator Azam Swati called on PML-N leaders on Thursday morning, where the latter assured their support for the proposed amendments.

The PML-N delegation comprised Khawaja Asif, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Rana Tanvir, among others.  PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan, while talking to media, said that the party’s supremo Nawaz Sharif has given the nod to support the amendments through consensus.

Read more: What is Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act, 2020?

Interestingly, for the past few years, the PML-N has been at loggerheads with the country’s security establishment. The former prime minister even accused a senior military official of rigging last year’s elections in an attempt to facilitate Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party.

Sources informed GVS that Nawaz went for London after signing a deal with the establishment. It is worth noting that a picture of ailing former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at a local restaurant in London has gone viral on Monday. The picture shows Nawaz Sharif having dinner with PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, former finance minister Ishaq Dar, Salman Shehbaz, Hassan Nawaz and others.

Those who suspect a deal point towards the past. If the history of Pakistan is any witness to help then it may be true. No politically powerful person in Pakistan’s history has ever been punished in a court of law; convictions even if obtained in lower courts are almost always overturned by superior courts. The system simply does not have the will to punish powerful people- they argue. In this case, powerful sections of media, doctors and other actors active behind the scenes may be making a case to pressurized Prime Minister to let Nawaz go to London under a medical emergency, its being said.

Finally, it is yet to be seen whether the prime minister will take notice and direct Faisal Vawda to be careful when he appears on national TV next time or not.