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PDM is upping the ante in its mission to overthrow Imran Khan’s government

The recommended response for the government is to improve its governance and bring down prices of daily commodities radically before the next PDM meeting scheduled at Peshawar. If this succeeds, it will deflate the momentum of PDM, otherwise the PDM which is a collection of rogues, will keep notching up the pressure, writes Asif Haroon Raja.

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Ayaz Sadiq’s controversial statement 

There is a lot of fuss over the Ayaz Saqid’s imprudent statement made on the floor of the house regarding the release of Wing Commander Abhinandan in February 2019. In his bid to dispel the impression given by Ayaz that Shah Mehmood Qureshi was yellow on the occasion, PTI leader Fawad Ch fired an erroneous salvo saying that we had hit India inside Pulwama, thereby giving another handle to Indian media to beat Pakistan’s government with. PML-N minister and former defense minister Khurram Dastagir on a TV show Friday evening, threatened that if pushed further, he will disclose more sensitive details of the said meeting. More bombshells are expected.

The patriots are up in arms and want immediate action. They are getting frustrated over the muted response of the army. What they forget is that force has seldom worked particularly when the ruling regime has skeletons in their closet, the judiciary is tainted, the police and bureaucracy politicized, economic health is poor, political polarization has scaled new heights, and geopolitical environments are grave. Moreover, the govt is so far not delivering. Gen Musharraf’s Emergency Plus on Nov 3, 2007 couldn’t break the lawyers’ movement even though he had substantially improved the economy. India has been unable to snuff the liberation movement of Kashmiris in spite of complete lockdown for over 14 months, use of brute force and putting all the political leaders in jail.

Read more: Ayyaz Sadiq refuses to apologise: Implications for Pakistani politics?

Abhinandan episode was blown out of proportion

For what it is worth, the Abhinandan episode is little more than a storm in a teacup blown out of proportion by the media hacks for their own purposes. Politicians are always throwing muck at each other, in recent times more than others. We are making a mountain out of a mole hill which is in fact only making the situation worse.

The only sensible, time-tested way for the armed forces is to stay as far away from politics and politicians as possible. In this case, notwithstanding DG ISPR’s statement to put the record straight, it would have been perhaps more appropriate and dignified if the Ministry of Defense had issued a short statement that the version of events as claimed by the ex-speaker was not factual and that the army should not be dragged into any political issues.

The enemies of Pakistan have been working hard to destabilize Pakistan and create anarchic conditions. What they couldn’t achieve is being achieved by the 11-party alliance

In the previous days, any contact with the politicians was looked upon with great disfavor. You only dealt with civil servants in the Ministry of Defense and that too only for official business. Life, as an officer was much simpler. You did your job and let the politicians get on with theirs. It appears now-a-days everything is acceptable. One doesn’t know if it has done politics any good, but the armed forces generally have suffered badly.

Read more: Pakistan’s politics: Art of manipulating societal sentiment for personal aggrandizement

As far as the government is concerned, things have not proceeded as had been predicted. The $200 billion looted wealth has not been recovered, corrupt elements not convicted and jailed, corruption not eliminated, institutions not reformed, debt burden not reduced, economy not stabilized, not a single promise fulfilled due to lack of finances. In nutshell, the situation today is shoddier than what it was in June 2018. Besides the economic challenges, the government is up against a formidable PDM. Imran Khan is ruing his decision of letting Nawaz Sharif proceed to London and is now paying the price. He is claiming that NS would be brought back by January. In all probability, he will add one more unfulfilled promise to his list of promises when the British government will express his inability.

Nawaz Sharif’s claims

NS wouldn’t have adopted such a venomous posture had he and his family not been subjected to crude propaganda campaign during his rule, character assassination, disqualification for life and jail term. The diatribe continued even when his wife was on death bed, he was in jail and was sick. He is convinced that he was repeatedly betrayed by the establishment, and recalls the way he was ill-treated, wrongly maligned and given a raw deal under a conspiracy. He boasts of his achievements due to which he got elected three times and got two-third majority twice. He is convinced that his performance was better than others and could have delivered more had he been allowed to complete his tenure and hurdles not created in his way. He is convinced that despite propaganda and the handicaps, his party would have won had the elections not been rigged. He strongly feels that his vote bank and popularity are still intact.

As far as the government is concerned, so far it is expressing its anger and singing the mantra of ‘Ghadar’ (traitor)

The scars of 1993, 1999, and 2014-18 haunt and torment him. His family members and confidantes further stoke his moans. Having lost his job, prestige, health, Jati Umra, circle of friends and dear ones, pleasure of a comfortable life and peace of mind, he has become rebellious. He will therefore keep firing slingshots from his safe haven against the establishment and the govt whom he considers responsible for his woes, incite the military and civil employees, and at the same time buck up nationalists in smaller provinces and the media, and talk of democracy, constitution, and issues that are hurting the people.

His group in Pakistan led by Maryam would continue to support his hawkish and anti-establishment stance by making fiery speeches and hurling threats. Another group within the party led by Shahbaz Sharif will keep posing as moderates and open to dialogue and cooperation, while the types of Sanaullah would behave like fanatics. Three-pronged strategy is meant to confuse the govt and prevent it from taking all-out harsh measures.

Read more: Is PDM a product of poor governance?

Government should step up 

As far as the government is concerned, so far it is expressing its anger and singing the mantra of ‘Ghadar’ (traitor). Almost every member of opposition is put in this category because of which this title is losing its significance. The recommended response for the government is to improve its governance and bring down prices of daily commodities radically before the next PDM meeting scheduled at Peshawar. If this succeeds, it will deflate the momentum of PDM, otherwise the PDM which is a collection of rogues, will keep notching up the pressure. They don’t have anything to lose from disturbing the law and order and creating anarchy. The enemies of Pakistan have been working hard to destabilize Pakistan and create anarchic conditions. What they couldn’t achieve is being achieved by the 11-party alliance. If the elections can be rigged, why can’t the alliance be broken through manipulation in the overall national interest?

Asif Haroon Raja is a retired Brig Gen, war veteran, defense & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, Member CWC PESS and Veterans think tank. asifharoonraja@gmail.com. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.

 

 

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