…And the show was not held!

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Nawaz is on a collusion course with institutions and mass public contact is the next step

One had heard that that there would be fireworks but the show was not held. Deposed Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif (MNS) arrived in usual fashion. He was given full protocol and as reports said, there were 17 selected PML-N leaders in a crowd of 172 who received him.

This large number included officials and Airport Security Force’s Personnel who escorted him to Islamabad’s Mughlai red-stone Punjab House where Governor Punjab, ministers and other courtiers welcomed him.

Later in the day he was served a court notice by NAB officers to appear on November 3rd. More about the case next week.

Indeed it is brave of MNS for leaving behind a critically ailing wife and even braver for him, Maryam and her hybrid husband to face the music here. Perhaps he has faith in English romantic poet Shelley’s verse- “if winter comes, can spring be far behind”. About his activities in London my friend-journalist Zahid Hussain wrote in a column’ that it was part of what he called the ‘London Plan’.

The plan: top of PML-N hierarchy including Shahbaz Sharif – who is hoping to be the next PM, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqqan Abbasi (SKA) and others under a ‘London Plan’ strategy will relaunch the deposed Prime Minister.

SKA believed that MNS should not avoid court hearings. His long absence even on genuine grounds would make the task easier for the disruptive powers to splinter the party. As such the first thing on Mian Sahib’s agenda is to mobilise the people through rigorous mass contact.

PML-N insiders say that notwithstanding Maryam’s high voltage pep talks, PML-N supporters are sinking deeper into depression. And the powers that be – with their Trojan horses inside the rank and file of PML-N – are already working over time to splinter the party that has no ideological bind such as PPP.

However, one group in the party opposed to Shahbaz and Ch Nisar believes that the two are back stabbing MNS. They are toeing the establishment’s line and want a minus one formula so that one takes over at the Centre and the other in Punjab.

It is said with some credence that though the impression by pro-Nawaz media is that the establishment wants enforcement of the minus-one formula as a solution to the political stalemate, it is actually the brainchild of the two who are opposed to Maryam’s confrontationist politics inching towards a clash among institutions.

Shahbaz and Nisar feel that Nawaz’s appearance before NAB court would dilute the situation while their anti group says it is a conspiracy of the two to get Nawaz out. Either way it keeps Maryam blocked from emerging as the Iron Lady of the party. Closer circles claim that their pressure has succeeded in sidelining Maryam. She, however, continues to provoke.
In this background Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif threw a bombshell saying that he tried his best to arrange a meeting between Mian Sahib and former President Asif Ali Zardari but failed as AAZ is in no mood to talk or to have anything to do with MNS. Indeed, AAZ’s case is that of once bitten twice shy. He had many times bailed MNS out of difficult situations. Instead of showing gratitude, MNS and his ministers continued to play dirty with PPP.

Not giving him time to cool down, MNS has pulled out his guns accusing Zardari of speaking ‘some one else’s language’. Obviously he is referring to the language that he speaks better, understands like mother tongue, not realising that PPP is avowedly an anti-establishment party. The language MNS hinted towards is the one that he has spoken all his political life – courtesy lessons he was taught by his masters in jackboots.

It is ironic that MNS is undermining the NRO of which he is the main beneficiary that enabled him to return to Pakistan – without being chain-tied to a seat back to Jeddah when he attempted a return on his own. It denuded President General Musharraf of his uniform, made elections possible with amnesty to all those in exile to participate in them and lead to Benazir Bhutto giving her life for the democracy that we have today. MNS says that he would not be part of another NRO, one wonders then why efforts being desperately made behind the scenes.

In his interactions with the media during court appearances one sees a much pulled down MNS. As far his body language goes – only a competent psychiatrist would be able to discern. He is in a denial mode, his belief that he did not commit any wrong is essentially a psychotic condition. He sees in himself as both ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’ and he also wants the nation to believe it – instead of seeing dirty water nallahs (canals) he sees rivers of milk and honey. It is a “sazish” (conspiracy) of those powerful elements who don’t want Pakistan to have a motorway network to the moon and other planets that the two Pakistani brothers Karamazov are famous for.

One could see a growing itch for clashes and dead bodies to put the establishment on the defensive. Strategists are confident that the army cannot afford to open another front and that too with the people of Punjab. The quixotic lot among the PML-N’s ‘Gullu Butts’ are even talking of people who might behave like the Turks who took to the streets to beat black and blue the rebellious generals who attempted an abortive coup against elected President Erdogan.

Journalist friends say that shows of strengths were planned before landing in Islamabad but some how they didn’t seem to work. One expected that if PML-N can manage to collect 100,000 people or even half of that every day of his case hearing – it would be like something of a revolution in Pakistan.

Chamak (shine) would be the name of the game for mobilizing people, including violent rabble rousers. 20 plus dead bodies would set the ball rolling and Muslim leaguers could send a strong message to the establishment and the judiciary that ‘The Godfather is much too strong to take on’.