Are we entering the post-Sharif and post-Bhutto phase of Pakistani politics?

By Yaaser Awan

On 25th November, 2017 the government of Pakistan banned all private TV channels from going on-air. It also banned Twitter, Facebook and other social media site. On the same date it was in the news that former interior minister Ch. Nisar Ali Khan’s residence was attacked by the protestors as a reaction to the FaiazAbad sit-in, as government used force against them. The former interior minister escaped successfully, it was also in the news. Let’s don’t believe what you just read.

Same was in the news about the residence of federal law minister Zahid Hamid. It was attacked by same kind of protestors. Luckily the minister and his family were not present inside. Zahid Hamid is considered the architect of the constitutional amendment which is creating all this mess. Same was true for the residence of provincial law minister Rana Sana Ullah. Let’s don’t believe, again, what you just read in this paragraph.

Nawaz Sharif’s (NS) family is fighting the cases in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court. By doing so, the family is also fighting for its survival. The advisers of the family have advised to linger on the process. Let’s drag it to 2018 elections. Let’s fight this battle on two fields; political and constitutional. If the family is able to motivate its voters and make them believe that all cases against the family were politically motivated, that even the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) was backed up by military establishment with which it made an under-hand deal, then 2018 elections can be easily won.  The family won’t lose anything, including the money in question.

But the question is: will the MNAs of PMLN be able to go into election campaign freely after what happened to the residences of Ch. Nisar, Zahid Hamid and Rana Sana Ullah? Same were the allegations of Asif Ali Zardari that in 2013 his Pakistan People’s party was not allowed to address public gatherings in the election campaign, which is why his party lost.

Zahid Hamid was also a minister under Pervez Musharaf. More than 40 MNAs like him were also a part of the Musharf government, and now they’re with PMLN. Will Zahid Hamid himself, being considered the architect of the conspiracy of the amendment, be able to address public gatherings? Or will he be under fear that some religious fanatic could take his life? This already has happened many times in the country. Will other PMLN MNAs and MPAs be able to address and run their election campaigns; what to talk of winning their constituencies? Won’t they also be complaining like Zardari, after 2018 elections, that they were not free to go through the election campaigns?

Most renowned journalist Hamid Mir tells us that he was sitting with a PMLN MNA in his drawing room. The next day National Assembly had to elect Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as Prime Minister of Pakistan after the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif. The mobile phone of the MNA was on the table. On Hamid Mir’s inquiry the MNA told that he is waiting a call from military establishment so as to know whom he should vote for! The MNA never received a call from the military establishment, Hamid Mir testifies. What result we should get out of this? Has the Army stopped calling? If yes, why they have stopped doing so? Is army tired of putting their money on same old horses? Is army ready to give fresh blood to the Pakistani politics, unlike the 2013 elections which is alleged to be rigged by the then Military Intelligence chief General Kayani in favor of NS?

Military establishment must also have learnt a few lessons by now. If not, there still is time for them to learn few good lessons. They had backed the Muhajir Qaumi Movement, converting a city like Karachi into mini Beirut in 1980s. The only gain was the vested interest of General Zia. They had backed Nawaz Sharif even till 2013 elections. The result must be analyzed by the military establishment themselves.

Hasn’t the time arrived yet when Pakistani military should stop backing fake leaders? If not, this is the time they must decide; because this is the only solution. In a country where never ever a religious party has been able to win an election and form a federal government, the establishment also must have confidence in the common sense of the voters. The voters know whom to vote. Don’t rig elections to make leaders like Nawaz and Altaf  win, who neither serve the military, nor the people of Pakistan.

Are we entering the post-Nawaz family and Post-Bhutto family phase of Pakistani politics? The voter is already mature. Will the military establishment also get mature not to back leaders like Nawaz Sharif and Altaf Hussain. Will the political parties also get matured or have already become mature enough to get rid of the excess baggage they are carrying by supporting Sharif s, Bhuttos and Altafs of Pakistan? Only time can tell.