As far as the Maulana’s dharna is concerned, it is true that he couldn’t extract the PM’s resignation and compel another
round of elections. But it can be argued that perhaps that was only his stated objective while the true motive of the dharna was to focus on, and undermine, the Miltablishment leadership that “selected” Khan in the first place and has propped him
up since. The logic of this indirect approach is inescapable: by challenging and exposing the Miltablishment, he was buffeting the pillar on which the PTI government stands and deepening the cracks in that unholy alliance. Certainly, the pointed accusations
during the dharna, followed by the petition in the Peshawar High Court, would seem to confirm this line of reasoning. Indeed, the timing of the dharna in November may be said to align with the proposed retirement/extension in the tenure of the army chief most
directly charged with the political engineering that has aroused the ire of all the other stakeholders. So when the Maulana claims his dharna was successful and he got what he wanted, we can only deduce that it has must have something to do with the Miltablishment
which should become clear soon enough.
Nawaz Sharif’s narrative is also alive and kicking. His supporters and voters in the Punjab
are relieved that he will live to fight another day. They are a cynical lot, having learnt to shrug off the martyrdoms of the Bhuttos. They rallied around Nawaz when he returned to Pakistan after ten years in exile and they will likely do the same again when
he returns or when his heir apparent Maryam steps into the arena.
Imran Khan is the biggest loser. His “same page with the Miltablishment” roar is sounding hollow. His allies are beginning to flap their wings. His words and body language suggest an erosion of trust with the “Selector”
and deep anguish about the current situation. He senses a state of siege, and therefore wants to bring back loyalists into the team. Now the NAB chairman has announced his intention to target the PTI to redress the balance. And the chief justice of the Supreme
Court, Justice Asif Khosa, has ticked him off for doubting the credentials of the judiciary by letting Nawaz Sharif off the hook.
Miltablishment’s “experiment” with Imran Khan has come a cropper and its credibility has plunged. Imran Khan is clearly not the man of the hour billed by his supporters. On the other hand, Nawaz Sharif’s popularity has soared (a recent
poll shows he would sweep the elections now) while Maulana Fazal has overnight become a leader of substance. It’s only a matter of time before the Miltablishment’s latest experiment is relegated to the dustbin of Pakistani history and we are obliged
to start at the beginning all over again.
22 Nov 19/Friday