Nawaz or Rawalpindi?

Imad Zafar

Nawaz Raheel3

Things are unfolding slowly and dramatically on the political horizon of Pakistan.There is nothing new, the same old mindset of “My Way or the Highway” is being adopted from the Rawalpindi Guys. The hanging of Mumtaz Qadri, Tacit Approval of his funeral on mass scale, getting Musharaf out of the constitutional cage and then unleashing the agenda to weaken the already weak civil Government.

Timings of the bomb blast on Easter festival in a public park in Lahore was meaningful and it was a complete security and intelligence failure. Instead of revisiting the policy towards terrorists and looking at the intelligence failures, the guys from Rawalpindi choose to manipulate the situation by backing the protest of the religious fanatics who were observing Mumtaz Qadri’s ‘chehlum’ two weeks earlier.

On the eve of Sunday in Lahore it was blood everywhere. The kids who went for a joy ride in the parks were given the ride of the death. It  was horrible and depressing to see all that and on the other hand religious fanatics in Islamabad were trying to attack state institutions and easily occupied the Red Zone which is the most sensitive and so called best protected place of the capital. It was a message, a clear message to the civilian Government, liberals and international community. Message was very loud and clear from the guys behind this siege of capital and it said, “it is us who call the shots not the civilians and we are not going to change our narrative”. A narrative that is bieng built on distorted history, false beliefs and facts and that breeds extremism. In any case civilian Govt was bowed to its knees within hours and soon the officials from the Government were speaking the script given by the establishment. A shaky and weak appearance of the Prime Minister on the television in his special  address to the nation was evident enough that what actually was going on behind the scene.

A civilian govt that survived the 126 days siege of the capital from the main opposition party PTI can understand that who are the bosses of this second siege or dharna. The other message was for the liberals in Pakistan that Zia’s ‘islamization’ is not over and neither do the security establishment intends to end it. After all it is hard to waste goons who can destruct any thing and kill any one on mere the slogans of religion.Third message was for the international community that we mean business and we will not tolerate the undermining of our institution . The guys from Rawalpindi may have been successful in weakening the democracy and the democratic Government but what they still do not realize is that what if democracy fails or is hijacked again, they cannot rule directly for sure as they don’t want to lose billions of easy dollars under Kerry Lugar bill that is clearly  linked to democracy neither do international community will tolerate a martial law.

This leaves them with the option to  run the show  from behind the scene with the help of a puppet politicians who are more then happy to lend his shoulder to them. so what is stopping them from ousting Nawaz Sharif whom they dislike and whom they never trust. Nawaz Sharif has learned with the passage of time that his survival is solely dependent on the civil society and international community .After all it was the famous lawyers and judicial movement that paved the way for Nawaz Sharif to the power corridors and then international players sealed the deal for him. Thus, since the start of his third term in the PM office he is cleverly playing his cards. He is backing the civil society in Pakistan to create liberal image of Pakistan so he can pursue his economic agenda easily by presenting the soft image of Pakistan.

On the other hand Nawaz Sharif is depending heavily on international players for his political survival most prominent among them are Washington, London and Saudi Arabia. Guys from Rawalpindi are somewhat in a fix about how to throw Nawaz out of the power without annoying the international players. After all you can do nothing when you have a weak economy and international donors stop sending aid. This time Nawaz has played good, he has put all his stake on international establishment rather then banking on local security establishment.That is why he is still able to survive. But will this continue in the future because with every passing day the new conspiracies are launched to oust him. Busy in dealing with conspiracies he cannot do much to achieve his economic agenda and if at the end of his term in office he is not able to boost the economy or he becomes unsuccessful in providing relief to a common man he will be a dead political figure like Asif Zardari.

Though, Nawaz Sharif is clearly doing his best and with infrastructure development and Metros he has won the hearts of many but still a lot need to be done. It is a very hard battle, he needs to revive the already crippled economy,  needs to fight terrorism and extremism in the society and on the other hand he faces a clear risk of a defacto coup against him from Rawalpindi. The power chessboard always belong to the one who plays the right cards at the right time or who can come up with a stalemate. So far Mr Nawaz Sharif is holding his cards close to the chest and the Khakis are playing their cards very well as usual. Sharif in this battle has gained the confidence of civil society in Pakistan for the first time and is dear to Washington. This chess board is clearly moving to the conclusion and only the time will tell that who among Nawaz Sharif or Rawalpindi can come up with the stalemate.