The card of mystery from another country

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The farce appears to have gotten a little out of control. It’s not a fight between “good and evil,” as Prime Minister Imran Khan would have us think, nor is it a fight for democracy, as the combined opposition insists. Political opportunists, wealth seekers, and self-important hangers-on are all free to play. It’s a brutal power battle in which we’re all victims due to a lack of alternatives.
With only a few days until the vote on the prime minister’s no-confidence motion, political wrangling has reached a new low. Given the constantly shifting loyalties and alliances, the numbers game will be a nail-biter. The scenario is now shifting by the hour, with no clear end in sight to the escalating power battle. The Supreme Court’s decision on the presidential defection and disqualification clauses will likewise have a big impact.
Just when it appeared that the game was lost, the prime minister made a surprise move, regaining the PML-backing. Q’s the prize is the Punjab chief minister’s position, which the Gujrat’s Chaudhries long desired. Surprisingly, the opposition apparently reached an agreement with the PML-Q, vowing to back Pervaiz Elahi for the position. The party’s abrupt about-face when everything appeared to be set is rather intriguing.
The Prime Minister is using religious and nationalist slogans to rally his supporters. The cunning Chaudhries appear to have made their own political calculations. The PML-decision Q’s to support the PTI appears to be motivated by their strong mistrust of the PML-N and their old political rivalry in Punjab. The opposition’s vote of no confidence in Punjab’s chief minister has raised the stakes in the current political drama.
On two fronts, the PTI is now fighting for survival. It’s a war for both Islamabad and Lahore. The end result is intertwined. It is clear that the outcome of the National Assembly elections, which are set to take place in less than a week, would have a significant impact on Punjab politics. The fight for Lahore is just as precarious as the fight for Islamabad.
In the midst of shifting political sands, the situation remains entirely uncertain. The PML-readmission Q’s to the fold may have given PTI supporters hope that the party could win the election. However, given the long odds piled against it and other allies hedging their bets, it remains to be seen if it can triumph. The prime minister has made it clear that he is willing to make any concession to rescue his government.
He’s doing the same kind of wheeling and dealing that he’s been criticizing the opposition of doing. As the danger to his power grows, the ‘moral high ground’ he claimed to have gained appears to be slipping away. The Prime Minister has toned down his arrogance and is now willing to go to any length to buy political allegiances. The PTI’s latest pact with the PML-Q is a clear evidence of the country’s political duplicity.
With Usman Buzdar’s fate already sealed in the face of a no-confidence motion, it was expedient for the Prime Minister to give in to the PML-demand. Q’s Buzdar’s resignation may have saved him from the humiliation of being voted out by the provincial assembly, but it will not save the PTI government in the province. The unceremonious retirement of the man on whom Imran Khan had staked his whole political future, ignoring internal resistance, signals a shift in the political winds. The rise of an unknown politician from D.G. Khan to one of the country’s top political positions has also been a major source of friction between the civil and military sectors.
Meanwhile, the PML-agreement Q’s is likely to further fracture the party. It’s unclear whether all PTI members will vote for Pervaiz Elahi, including the numerous dissident factions. If Pervaiz Elahi is elected chief minister, the PTI’s already dwindling support in the country’s most powerful province will be exacerbated.
The PTI is also desperately attempting to prevent the MQM, another estranged ally, from joining the opposition. The group’s support will be vital, if not critical, in the final count, thanks to its seven MNAs. The MQM, like the PML-Q and other smaller coalition parties, has always looked to the security establishment before making political decisions.
However, now that the military leadership has stepped down, the group is left to decide on its political trajectory on its own. It has also been able to strike hard bargains with both parties as a result of this. With an eye on the upcoming election, the group’s main goal is to restore itself as the most dominant political force in urban Sindh. If the PTI decides to join the opposition, the game is likely to be over for the administration.
The fight isn’t just taking place in the National Assembly. Imran Khan has also made the decision to bring the conflict to the people. Imran Khan, like other populist leaders facing opposition from elected officials, is playing the religion and nationalist cards. He is attempting to rally his supporters by using religious slogans and portraying the power fight as a battle between ‘good and evil.’
But it’s his accusation of a ‘international plot’ to depose him that’s the most worrisome. He displayed a paper at a public rally in Islamabad last week, claiming it contained evidence of a “foreign-funded conspiracy” to destabilise his government. He stated he was being punished for refusing to follow foreign diktat and pursuing a “independent foreign policy.” The source of that letter, however, was not mentioned.
It is, without a doubt, a significant allegation of foreign meddling in the country’s domestic politics. However, rather of taking the problem to the appropriate elected and security bodies, the prime minister chose to make it a public issue, raising doubts about the claim’s legitimacy. Such accusations will not assist him in resolving the matter.