The ongoing rallies by the opposition PDM are different for a very subtle reason. For the first time, the existence of Pakistan Army as the ‘State above the State’ has been acknowledged and ratified by the nation. No more ‘Deep State’ or behind the scene action. It is now called the ‘Establishment’. Hereafter the Pakistan Army has a proper role in the political process of Pakistan as the Establishment. By keeping mum during the ‘Karachi Incident’, Imran Khan has passed the hot potato to the Pakistan ‘Establishment’ Army. Very soon this ‘Soft Dictatorship’ could be asked hard questions by the people,,, But then who knows…we are talking of Pakistan…even Xi does not know.
All the writing are excerpts from the Pakistani Media. The link to the original articles are embedded in the blue and bold headings. My originality is limited to opening and closing remarks which are in different colours to make them colourful!
‘Will hold Establishment in esteem if it apologises’ said JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman, who was the last to address the rally. He condemned the arrest of PML-N leader Safdar … Rehman insisted that he was not against institutions but “when they impose martial law on Pakistan or when they back a fake government, it is our right to complain and protest“. “Even today, if our Establishment stops backing [this] fake government, if it apologises before the nation that ‘we did wrong during the elections and ruined Pakistan’s mandate’, we are ready to hold it in esteem,” he said. (note a bargain is on with the establishment)
“Such things prove my point that there is a State above the State,” Nawaz said. “On whose order is the privacy of people violated? On whose orders are doors broken down? If even the province’s chief minister doesn’t know, then who is behind it?” He said that the PDM had risen against “unconstitutional power that has made Pakistan hollow from inside and out”. The PML-N supremo said that he names individuals “because I don’t want my army to be defamed”. He called upon Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed to “account” for the country’s current situation.
The days when Army could do back seat driving without accountability whilst expanding their businesses might be in danger. Let us see where it goes….
Pakistan has different drummers who beat different tunes. They beat every three years when they get itchy.
…But Pakistan marches to the beat of a different drummer. Here, we have the three-year itch. Although the Constitution gives an elected government five-year terms in office, sections of the ‘Establishment’, the judiciary, the media and the public all get fed up of the elected government’s performance after three years. Generals, of course, get to play far longer innings.
A campaign is unofficially launched, and drawing-room conversations are dominated by rumours of the latest scams. Instead of doing his or her job, the elected prime minister of the day is forced to concentrate on survival. For the last 30 years, this has been the pattern.
In Their Own Words…But the more important question right now is — what will the onslaught of the opposition achieve? Will it change anything or everything? Or will nothing change?It’s hard to say if it will be a transformative moment which will usher in great change. Hadn’t we thought the same of 2007 only to have hopes dashed as the years passed? This time around, hopes and expectations are more tempered, with the experience of history.
There has been a certain rhythm to Pakistan’s political turmoil over the last few decades. This rhythm has swayed key stakeholders — Establishment, major political parties, judiciary — to a beat that has quickened and slowed with the force of circumstance. We have whistled to the sweet melody of inclusiveness and transparency, only to bristle at the cacophony of repression and persecution. The funny thing is that sweetness of melody and the shrillness of cacophony have refused to fit in conveniently with the sharp contours of democracy and dictatorship. How else would we explain democrats wanting to be autocrats and autocrats attempting to be democrats? Hybridity may be new as a term but not as a trend.
It is such a trend that has traditionally looped our political system into a three-player arena: Establishment (E) plus political party one (P1) plus political party two (P2). The political arithmetic has therefore constantly added up:
E+P1 > P2, or E +P2 > P1
Then came the disruption. PTI as political party three (P3) elbowed its way into the arena by creating space for itself the way P1 and P2 had done for themselves earlier — at others expense. With four players in the arena now instead of the original three, the political equation had to be reformulated. The logic so far remained the same: the ‘Establishment’ flirts with the outside party in order to ensure the party in power does not weigh the system in its favour. In 2018, the new equation looked like this:
E+P3 > P1+P2
The mistake happened when the new desired equation went against the rules of this land’s organic equilibrium. Here’s how the new rulers wanted it to look:
E+P3 = (Infinity), and P1+P2 = 0
The rule to rule was broken; the equilibrium within disequilibrium was broken. Disorder was the organic by-product of this inorganic attempt to force-speed political evolution.
Here’s the reality though: PML-N is a reality like PPP is a reality, like PTI is a reality like the ‘Establishment’ is a reality. So let’s get the equation right:
E+P1+P2+P3 = Pakistan
Deep State is passe. Very Indian. Establishment is in. Does it not sound sophisticatedly Pakistani ? Nazakat you know! Also very simple and straight. No confusion. Say Establishment and every one understands you are talking of the Pakistani Army. Look. Papa johns is an Establishment. Fauji Foundtaion is an Establishment. CPEC is an Establishment. All very respectable businesses. Deep State is a bit like Mafia. Avoid yaar
Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar on Saturday said the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) consensus decision to keep Pakistan on the watchdog’s ‘grey list’ for another four months was a “diplomatic victory” for the government. “FATF has acknowledged our high-level political commitment and significant progress,” the minister said in a tweet. Pakistan has been on the FATF’s grey list since June 2018. Turkey was the only country out of 39 members of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which spoke for Pakistan to be removed from the Grey List at the Paris Plenary meeting on Friday.
The Saudis kept quiet. Only the Turks voted for them. That is why Pakistanis have changed their lineage to being Turks. Last decade, every Paki called himself an Arab. This decade they are all Turks. Next decade Pakis will be have Chinese lineage once CPEC starts functioning. However there is a disclaimer. Even the Chinese were part of the unanimous vote against Pakistan. So these guys instead of becoming Chinese might end up as Uighurs in a detention camp – that is what Pakistan is headed to be is it not?
The PM was very angry it seems.
“Whether I am in power or not, these thieves would never get back in power. I will take people to streets if they get back into power,” Mr Khan explained. He remarked either the protesting opposition leaders or Pakistan would survive…Asked about his opinion about the recently reported abduction of Sindh Inspector General of Police in Karachi, Prime Minister Imran Khan said: “Who was kidnapped?” He then recalled that sometimes PTI leaders got scared of opposition rallies but he told them they should not worry, as it was democratic right of the opposition to stage rallies. Referring to the IG House incident, the PM said: “I believe it is a comedy. When I think about that, I laugh. What is happening? It is unfortunate that all the enemies of Pakistan, including India and Israel, are with them.”
The only problem is that when he is out of power he will be on the streets anyway and will become a thief like those who now do not have power. BTW who was kidnapped? If the PM does not know, obviously there was no kidnapping. The IG of police had gone to have a drink with the Paki Rangers.
WHAT could have resulted in a very serious crisis was averted by the army chief’s timely intervention. The Sindh IG and a number of senior police officers after an incident of alleged strong-arming of the police command to register a case, followed by the shameful mode of arrest of an ex-soldier son-in-law of a former prime minister.
The most prominent person missing from the scene is none other than the chief executive of the federation. The prime minister has chosen to be a silent spectator. It is intriguing that he did not to talk to the IG, who is appointed by the federal government. He may have worked behind the scenes and allowed the army chief to handle the situation. The army chief did well to speak to both the head of the PPP and the IG to provide assurances that a fair probe would be conducted.
The entire saga stinks. Most of us who have devoted our life to public service are shocked. What happened is simply unacceptable to anyone who cares for the rule of law.
Surprise. Surprise. I did not know that some one cared for the rule of the law in Pakistan. This author is obviously praising the Army Chief to get a good post in the next dispensation
A very reasonable self-appraisal about Pakistan just like the portrait above
In the ongoing season of political difficulties in our country even the talk of establishing a strong and modern state is like saying that Congo, Afghanistan, Haiti or Sierra Leone in their current condition of statelessness can send an astronaut to the moon. I hold no grudge against these countries but in the real world in which we live these countries are bitter expressions of statelessness — something that we in Pakistan don’t wish for ourselves. Yet politics in this country never stops to invest in our statelessness. Why?
Even if there was a central authority to prevent statelessness from happening our enemies are making sure that even this authority is made controversial and in a politically created, free-for-all environment the very centre of gravity of our oneness, statehood and nationhood is so much weakened that we don’t need an enemy to disintegrate and destroy us — we should do it ourselves.
Last Heard. Pakistan is building a space station to send a joint team of astronauts to the moon. They will be from all the above mentioned countries ably lead by Pakistan!
The elite story…..
Political economy in Pakistan revolves around the goal of power grabbing, at any cost. Power is a desired tool to achieve two specific objectives – how to extract benefits and how to distribute benefits among affiliates and cronies…Since 1988 Pakistan has been on the path of reforms and with that the economy and governance have deteriorated. Successive governments have been trying to apply innovative tools but with no meaningful results…This has resulted in numerous challenges for Pakistan. Its economic and social development indicators show a dismal picture. The failure to introduce people-centric reforms is the real contributing factor to poverty (39%), food insecurity (58.5%), low education (24 million kids out of school) and the lack of livelihood opportunities (rising unemployment)…….The country’s elite are on the path to squeeze livelihood opportunities and capture all resources. In recent years, they have tried to enhance the scope of their influence and introduced new means of capturing resources…For example, there is a surge in the “post-retirement enlightenment syndrome”. The elite serve the national bureaucracy in their entire career and at the time of retirement they start talking about reforms and good governance…Now, they want to advise the government but during their active service they do not follow reforms. They are also venturing into new sectors or services, which have nothing to do with their expertise or professional experience…A new trend is emerging under which the elite are establishing non-government organisations. Except for a few, we can find numerous examples where the elite use such organisations for their personal benefit.
So Much For Now…whichever way it goes, we need to keep a watch.
We can take Pakistan for granted at our peril. 0 one day. 100 the next.