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Thursday, May 25, 2023

Pakistan’s undisputed establishment and the ‘strings’ attached

The author discusses the political scenario of Pakistan and highlights who is really in charge. According to the author, the powerful establishment of Pakistan is still the undisputed king.

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After thirty-three years of the musical journey and winning over millions of hearts all over the world, one of Pakistan’s most acclaimed musical bands and my personal favorite ‘Strings’ disbanded. They took to social media to announce and fans including myself had to face a sudden nostalgic sadness over it.

‘Strings’ disbanded itself after thirty-three years but there are strings in the country that are still intact after seven decades. The strings of the status quo are held strongly by the powerful establishment of this country. And the manifestation of this is reiterated by the events that have unfolded in the last couple of weeks.

The politics in Pakistan is not defined by dignity, integrity, and commitment, rather, by the winds of interests and where they carry the political class. The strings remain in the hands of the powerful establishments, each string keeping pressure on the sensitive parts of the political class.

Ever since the introduction of a third party on the horizons of the politics in the country and increasing political polarization, the sensitivities have increased.

Read more: Op-ed: Pakistani politics may be more banal than its analysts make it out to be

Why was the PDM formed?

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led by Imran Khan won the 2018’s General elections and gave birth to a new political contention.

Major parties including PML N, PPP, and JUI-F were not ready to accept the opposition benches in the National assembly and started propagating the conspiracy of Election rigging by the establishment.

With the accountability sword looming over their heads and Imran Khan ingeminating his accountability campaign against these parties, increased the political confrontation.

Read more: Was PTI’s accountability drive politically motivated? Apparently, yes

The major political rivals of the past, whose leaders convicted for corruption and their trials took up by the courts, started moving closer to each other. These major political rivals were not happy to see a new string attached by the power circles to establish a third major political force in the country.

Thus, they started lining up to save their interests by apparently fighting to detach themselves from the strings of the establishment.

The previously popular Pro establishment parties now started becoming revolutionaries. Using growing political polarization in the country, they started propagating their anti-status quo and far-reaching ideas.

The desperation led them to hold an All-(opposition) Parties Conference in September 2020. The APC was organized by the PPP and it was concluded by the announcement of an alliance of ten opposition parties including PML-N, PPP, and JUI-F under the name of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

Read more: Does PDM represent common Pakistani’s interests?

Hopes dashed

Maulana Fazl ur Rehman from JUI-F was elected its President and the apparent agenda of PDM was set to restore democracy in Pakistan in its true sense and bring the powerful establishment to be answerable to the democratic forces.

PDM started its agitation in the following months by organizing major rallies across the country. The way its leaders propagated their contempt for the establishment and the government which they consider to be ‘selected’ rather than elected and promised their resolve for democracy made me truly think, “Are the shackles finally going to shatter and strings to break?”

But the events that unfolded in March 2021 onwards made me rethink my statement above. The ‘Establishment’ proved once again that the strings are held intact more powerfully than before.

Read more: PDM movement is a Jihad against PTI’s government, declares Maulana Fazlur Rehman

The Senate debacle

The senate elections which were held on 3rd March brought out a new political dilemma in the country. The PDM alliance unexpectedly won the General seat of the senate from the National assembly against the majority of government alliance.

Former PM of Pakistan Yousaf Raza Gillani defeated government nominee Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and it tumults the government of Pakistan as if a string is pulled by the powerful establishment.

Following senate elections and arising political turmoil, PM Imran khan had to take a vote of confidence and he was able to gain it with ease. And it made the PDM fall back to its rhetoric. The strings attached were being carefully controlled.

Read more: Can Imran Khan game Pakistan’s political system?

The Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the senate’s election followed and opposition in spite of holding majority votes in the Senate, lost the elections. This spectacle bewildered the whole country and speculations took over the whole Capital once again.

Yousaf Raza Gillani who defeated the government in the National assembly was now defeated by the government in the senate. Sadiq Sanjrani was back as the chairman of the senate and strings held intact again.

Read more: Chairman Senate Election: Is establishment supporting PTI?

The establishment is still the undisputed king

PDM had announced to hold a long March against the government and increase agitation by resigning from assemblies following senate elections. But PPP stepped back and thus there has been a constant confrontation inside PDM for the last couple of days.

The so-called revolutionaries succumbed to their personal interests once again and the status quo remained intact. The decades-long rivalry of PML-N and PPP took over their revolutionary objectives and petty politics once again settled in.

Read more: Of lost agendas and personal gains: the withering PDM

Events that followed since the formation of PDM, cut short for this article, have reiterated the fact that the strings controlled by the establishment are unshakable.

The personal interests and needs of the political class of this country have made the status quo powerful than ever before. The powerful establishment of Pakistan is still the undisputed king and “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men” are still in servitude.

The author is a doctor by profession and can be reached at drumairashraf95@gmail.com. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.