- And the establishment’s dilemma
The PDM has plans like resignations from the assemblies, a march to Islamabad and a sit-in aimed at paralyzing the federal administration. Attempts to create dissensions in the opposition alliance have failed to achieve the purpose. The JUI has expelled four of its leaders while the PML(N) and PPP have categorically rejected the move suggesting the release of their leaders in return for an end to the ongoing protests. The JUI(F) chief would not be attending the Garhi Khuda Bux gathering today. He would however be represented by five of his party leaders. Meanwhile Maryam Nawaz would be present at the occasion. A PML(N) leader has said his party would not mind if the long march is delayed till March on account of the cold weather. Despite differences persisting among the components of the PDM, the alliance faces no immediate breakup.
The PTI government was never so desperately in need of crutches provided by the establishment as it is today. The Prime Minister’s incompetence at managing the allies has already led to a break with the BNP(M). Its tactic of promising the pie in the sky to every ally while knowing that it cannot deliver on the promises, has this time led the MQM to ponder dissociating itself from the alliance. The PM must have gone into conniptions when advised by GDA leader Pir Pagara to free opposition parliamentarians currently in custody and hold talks with them. As time passes there seems to be no end to the ruling alliance’s predicament.
We are told that Pakistan faces an imminent threat from India. There is a need under the circumstances for the establishment to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of building a house of cards that needs its continuous support. This has led the leaders of the ten-party alliance to name names in public gatherings that should be embarrassing for the offstage players. The JUI(F) has announced it will hold a dharna in Rawalpindi if NAB is not reined in by those who matter. To enjoy universal support the establishment needs not to be seen a party in the ongoing political standoff and has to consider the demand for every institution strictly confining itself to the sphere allotted to it by the constitution.