Asif Haroon Raja
[ An historical review leading to analysis of the current situation. ]
Major events between 1970s and 1990s
Pakistan located at the crossroad of South Asia, West Asia and Central Asia, and being a Muslim country, a nuclear power, and blessed with best armed forces, is an eyesore for the three strategic partners USA, Israel and India, since it is seen as a bottleneck in the way of their global ambitions.
It is owing to these concerns that hidden hands have fomented insurgencies in Pakistan former FATA and Baluchistan, and the country is kept in the grip of political instability and economic morass. Whenever it reached the economic take off point to become economically self-reliant, the rug was pulled from under its feet to keep it dependent.
After its grand success in erstwhile East Pakistan in 1971, RAW was tasked to focus on Sindh and Baluchistan. RAW penetrated into Sindh in the 1970s with the help of Sindhi nationalist parties led by GM Sayed’s Jeeay Sindh Movement. Insurgency in Baluchistan in 1973 led by Marri and Mengal tribes was supported by India, Afghanistan and former USSR. BSO and BLA were funded and weaponized. Insurgency died down in 1978 after the ouster of ZA Bhutto and skillful handling by the Governor of Baluchistan Lt Gen Rahimuddin.
During Gen Ziaul Haq’s regime, Movement of Restoration of Democracy (MRD) was launched in rural Sindh by the PPP under Mustafa Jatoi in 1983 since Benazir was in exile. It was joined by other Sindhi nationalist parties and the movement had the support of India. Indira Gandhi hosted World Sindhis conference at Delhi which was attended by MRD leaders.
Soon after, Lok Sabha passed a resolution in support of the cause of Sindhis, similar to the one passed in March 1971 in support of Awami League (AL) in former East Pakistan. Since the movement became a threat to the federation, all its leaders were put behind bars and MQM was created in Karachi as a counterweight to Sindhi nationalism. It intensified Sindhi-Muhajir tussle and resulted in rural-urban divide, and since then the province is engulfed in ethnic fracas.
The MQM under Altaf Hussain was soon hijacked by RAW and it was tasked to work on the model of AL. Ethnicity and militancy were fueled. Funds, weapons, training of militants and guidance were given to enable the MQM leadership to terrorise the people of Karachi into submission, make Karachi as its impenetrable bastion, then expand the political power to other urban centres of Sindh and at an opportune time declare independence and create Jinnahpur. The CIA and MI-6 also extended support.
Britain was keen to make Karachi as a free commercial port as an alternative to Hong Kong which was to be handed over to China after completion of 100-year lease agreement. For the US, Karachi harbor located along the Arabian Sea suited its geo-strategic interests in the region from where it could threaten the flank of Iran, dominate Hormuz Strait, the sea-lanes and choke points in the Indian Ocean, and remain within easy reach of vital oil producing Middle East and resource-rich Central Asia.
The educated and mentally sharp Urdu speaking community with a secular bent of mind matched the psyche of the West. Two operations had to be launched in Karachi in the 1990s to cut the power of MQM to size but it grew stronger during the nine years rule of Gen Musharraf.
Events after 9/11
After 9/11 and enactment of new counter terrorism laws by USA, the terrorism has been used as a tool by the US and India to achieve their objectives. The US-Israel-India-Afghan nexus based in Kabul has been hatching series of conspiracies to destabilize and fragment Pakistan.
Besides massive covert operations with the help of paid proxies to exhaust security forces, other tools used are low intensity conflict along the LoC in Kashmir, political destabilization, economic emasculation, strategic encirclement, diplomatic isolation, hybrid war, water terrorism, ethnicity, sectarianism, religious divides, inter-provincial disharmony, friction among state institutions, spoiling civil-military relations.
Driven by the desire of taking control of Central Asia’s untapped mineral resources and to lay pipelines to ship oil and gas to Europe and beyond, Gwadar propped up in the US calculations as a suitable jumping off point particularly after Gen Musharraf signed an agreement with China in 2003 to develop Gwadar as a deep sea port. Hence, Baluchistan was marked as a target and Baloch insurgency led by Bugti, Marri and Mengal tribes was triggered in 2004.
The emergence of CPEC in 2015 further energized the US, Israel and India nexus to step up their efforts to detach the southern province of Pakistan including adjoining parts of Iran under the idea of Greater Baluchistan. US Congressmen demanded Baluchistan to be separated from Pakistan.
It has been easier for the foreign intelligence agencies to cultivate fifth columnists, Sindhi, Baloch and Pashtun nationalist political parties of smaller provinces due to their backwardness, less means and long list of grouses against the federal government, Punjab and the Army.
Militant groups like JSQM, SLA, MQM, BLA, BRA, BLF, TTP, Jundollah, and their affiliates are the creation of foreign agencies and are on their payroll. In addition, there are quite a few anchors, journalists, bloggers politicians, bureaucrats, pseudo intellectuals, and liberals in elite class, runaway political leaders, working on foreign agenda.
Since 2002, half a dozen foreign agencies stationed in Kabul have been jointly conspiring to denuclearize and balkanize Pakistan, but thanks to the armed forces and the ISI, their nefarious designs couldn’t succeed.
The PPP under ZA Bhutto had played a role in the ouster of Ayub Khan who had turned Pakistan into a model state of the developing world, and in ruining the industry of Pakistan and promoting secularism once he came to power. He is credited for galvanizing the spirits of the people after the 1971 debacle, and for initiating Pakistan’s Nuclear Program, and bringing about unity of the Muslim World through OIC Session in Pakistan, a leaderless organization which King Faisal had agreed to lead.
Bhutto established the strategic linkage with China, through Karakoram highway. Bhutto was politically powerful and he could be brought down only through non-political means. Thus the religious parties and a group of political opportunists got together to play the game. An alliance was formed by nine parties in 1977 under the banner of PNA whose mission was to topple ZA Bhutto regime and to eliminate him. When it couldn’t, Gen Zia took over the reins of power in July 1975 and remained in the saddle till his death in a plane crash in August 1988.
The PPP under ZA Bhutto’s daughter Benazir (1988, 1994, and 2007) and later under Asif Zardari (2008) had consented to rollback Pakistan’s nuclear program and to cut the power of the Army and ISI to size in return for the US patronage and monetary benefits and to remain in power. However, it failed on both counts and due to its poor performance it has shrunk from a national to a regional party with Sindh as its citadel.
Punjab is the only province which couldn’t be penetrated by foreign agencies to incite rebellion against the state or to activate insurgency. Whatever the moral depravity of Punjab based political leaders, they didn’t play to the tunes of outsiders by rebelling against the state or seeking independence of their province.
One reason is that Punjab is much more literate and prosperous than all other provinces, most political leaders are big landlords, businessmen, industrialists, and armed forces/civil services are Punjabi heavy. South Punjab being less developed is vulnerable to subversion and it had produced Punjabi Taliban for a short duration after Lal Masjid episode in 2007. Punjab is however prone to cultural invasion of India.
Comparison of PPP and PML-N rules (2008-2018)
After the 5-year black rule of the PPP under Zardari from 2008 to June 2013, during which Pakistan’s economy slumped, terrorism peaked, energy crisis and corruption scaled new heights and prestige of the country nosedived, PML-N under NS regained power and he became 3rd time PM. The PML-N’s performance was far better and it produced impressive results by tackling the issues of energy and terrorism, stabilized the economy and lifted the GDP to 5.8%, and above all signed over $ 60 billion worth CPEC.
However, it had to put up with Imran Khan (IK) led PTI which had emerged as a 3rd force in late 2011. Due to PTI’s politics of agitation and judicial activism, NS was disqualified in July 2017, and the baton was handed over to Khaqan Abbasi for the remaining one year. NS and his daughter Maryam were convicted and jailed in June 2018 on account of failing to give money trail of assets.
Under the given circumstances, PTI’s victory in July 2018 was a foregone conclusion and it formed governments in the Centre, and Punjab with a narrow margin and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with majority.
PTI’s over two years rule
IK’s vision of Naya Pakistan was based on the fundamental socio-economic principles of Riasat-e-Madina; a corruption free Pakistan and return of the looted wealth of the people of Pakistan. These issues have been pushed strenuously for the last two years, focusing on corrupt politicians, under a smear campaign, launched so vigorously, that has besmirched political parties as well as democratic values.
The Courts of Law, NAB, FIA and the intelligence agencies are in hot pursuit of the corrupt without any significant improvement in day to day life of the common folks. Unchecked use of authority and rulers inability to govern, has led to loss of authority and power deflation. Restrictions on the Press has further eroded the moral authority of the government.
The situation has thus created a stifling atmosphere forcing the opposition to join hands, to correct the course. Bilawal Bhutto was able to put the ‘humpty dumpty’ of the opposition together, which consists of two major political parties and a strong religious party/group JUI-F, that can mobilize large crowd as it did last year in Islamabad (Isbd).
It is a formidable lot, ever garnered together for a common cause, and is creating difficulties for the government, particularly when IK himself says, “Both PML (N) and PPP are the product of the establishment.” He should know that establishment’s mood changes with the mood of the public, though the ‘pitch’ may be the same.
Convicted and ailing Nawaz Sharif (NS) in exile, his convicted daughter Maryam Nawaz and senior leaders of the party have adopted a belligerent posture. Since September 20, NS is giving acerbic statements from London. After his slogan of ‘Khalayee Makhlooq’ (aliens), subtly accusing the military for his ouster in July 2017, he is now openly saying that his fight is not against Imran Khan (IK), but against those who brought him to power in July 2018.
Going a step ahead of what IK had done from 2014 to 2018, he gave a call for disobedience, nonpayment of tolls and taxes, laying siege to the capital and major cities to paralyse the government and to disrupt public life. He couldn’t have behaved so aggressively had he not been assured by the British government that he will not be extradited to Pakistan under any circumstances.
Absconder Altaf, tagged with dozens of criminal cases of heinous nature was given refuge in London after he fled from Karachi in June 1992, and was given British citizenship. From that time onward, he enjoyed full liberty of action to remote control the MQM and spew venom against Pakistan. His hate filled speeches against premier institutions were banned by Pakistan after his treasonous speech in August 2016.
Similar action is being suggested for NS who is dubbed by his bashers as Altaf-2.
Finding the noose tightening around their necks and pushed against the wall, most of the political parties in the opposition ganged up under the banner of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) after holding All Parties Conference (APC). The APC held few indoor meetings in which NS, now declared by the court as an absconder took part through online video link from London.
JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who is not a member of parliament, has been chosen as the leader due his sway over thousands of Madrassa students and his well-organized party’s street power.
The lead role has been assigned to JUI (F) with a political purpose, unlike religious parties of PNA who strove for Nizam-e-Mustafa. It means that, in any future et-up, JUI(F) will gain significant political space for itself, something that was long awaited, particularly during the 2018 elections, when religious parties tried to enter the mainstream national politics, they were denied entry, particularly Maulana Samiul Haq, who stood on the side of PTI, but was ignored.
Elated by importance given, the JUI-F leaders threatened that if the Army tried to disrupt the movement, they would storm Corps Commanders offices in the capital cities, and they will do what the Afghan Taliban did with the US forces in Afghanistan.
The PDM has 11 parties including PML-N, PPP, JUI-F, ANP, JUP, PkMAP. The PDM took off on 16 October by staging a public gathering at Gujranwala arranged by PML-N, where Mariam Nawaz, Vice President of PML-N, led the show. The stadium was almost full to its capacity and all the leaders delivered fiery speeches and upbraided Imran Khan (IK). Their theme was that the government is selected, confused and inept, has ruined the economy, made the lives of the people miserable, and it must quit.
The sensational part of the session was the online speech of NS delivered from London. Instead of firing salvos upon his political rival IK, he trained his guns on Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and the DG ISI Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, holding them responsible for disqualifying him, converting PML-N victory into defeat and gifting inefficient PTI regime to the nation which has rolled back the progress made by his regime.
This is the first time that such a direct attack was made on the army chief and was not well received by the majority.
Alarmed by the dangerous course of action of the PDM, the govt in an effort to stem the movement got a FiR registered in Lahore by an unknown person against the whole lot of PML-N senior leaders including three retired Lt Gens as well as PM AJK. They were accused of sedition. It raised a storm since the one registering FiR was found to be PTI affiliate, close to Governor Punjab and police history sheeter. It gave another handle to the opposition to beat and embarrass the government with.
Miffed by the venomous tirade of NS against the army chief and DG ISI, and others casting aspersions on him and his party, the PM pledged not to show any mercy to the corrupt and the criminals. The decision to use force was taken. Shahbaz Sharif was nabbed and put in jail, Zardari indicted and the witch-hunt started. IK mobilized the Tiger Force, as Bhutto used FSF, with dire consequences. It will create a critical situation for the government calling for the Army to take-over. Whereas, the masses are in no mood to invite another military rule.
The second public meeting was staged at Karachi on 18 October which was hosted by the PPP under Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Akhtar Mengal head of BNP-M was also present.
The event was however vitiated by Capt retired Safdar, husband of Maryam at the Mazar of Quaid-e-Azam where he and his wife and other party leaders had gone to offer Fateha and he disrespected the sanctity of the grave by chanting slogans ‘Vote ko Izzat do’ (respect the vote) and also raising a slogan to pay respect to Miss Fatima Jinnah. His brazen act was widely condemned and sentiments were expressed on the social media demanding strict action against him.
Carried away by media reporting, the local leaders of PTI overreacted and decided to take action against him. An unknown person Waqas registered a complaint in the police station, who was later found to be a proclaimed offender, and was not present on the site. He took a false plea that he was threatened by Safdar.
The public meeting took place in Jinnah garden in the evening and it was the biggest ever organized by PPP at Karachi, but like the Gujranwala gathering, the size was underrated by the government spokespersons. Leaders of all the 11 parties delivered fiery speeches and each one highlighted the ills of the government. NS decided not to speak either because of reservations expressed by some within the party, or the PPP leadership conveyed to him that Sindh govt wouldn’t be able to cope with the aftereffects. The meeting dispersed peacefully and none had any inkling that a storm was brewing up.
Based on the complaint, the SHO and then the IG Sindh Mushtaq Mehr was pressed by local PTI leaders to register FiR and arrest Safdar, and when the purpose couldn’t be achieved, the ones sitting in Isbd got activated to get the job done. The story in circulation was that due to the dillydallying of the IG, the DG Rangers Sindh was probably asked by some quarters to ensure Safdar’s arrest.
As per Safdar and Maryam staying in a hotel, the ones who came to arrest him at 4 a.m. on Oct 19, broke the latch of the door and barged in. He was whisked away in a police van.
The spokesperson of PML-N and former Governor Sindh Zubair Umar reported next morning that he was informed by chief minister Sindh that IG Sindh who had refused to register FiR was abducted from his house by two unknown persons, brought to the Rangers Sector Commander office where he was compelled to register FiR and arrest Safdar.
The whole day the media was abuzz with news on the developments in Karachi. Safdar was released in the afternoon on bail. However, the fallout effects continued and signs of misgivings between the federal and Sindh govts on one hand and between the Sindh Police and Sindh Rangers mounted which was not a good sign. Besides rise in political temperature, things took an unpleasant turn when over 60 senior officials of Sindh police put up leave applications for 60 days and the IG didn’t come to his office. Some quarters raised fingers on the Army and ISI arguing that without their involvement the IG couldn’t be abducted from his house at midnight.
After the press conference by Sindh Chief Minister in which he failed to clear the muddle, Bilawal held a press conference and he candidly confessed that he had no face to show to his guests who had been mal-treated and that he took exception to the undermining of the authority of Sindh administration and warned that it will have repercussions. He asked Gen Bajwa to intervene and probe the matter.
Sensing the gravity of the situation, DG ISPR Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar held a press conference and informed that Gen Bajwa after speaking with Bilawal had directed the Corps Commander 5 Corps to hold an inquiry and find out who were involved in the midnight operation. It was a welcome initiative to ease the tension. Sindh govt has also ordered an inquiry.
The PPP leadership met the senior police officers and convinced them to postpone their plan to proceed on leave for ten days till the completion of the inquest and they relented. Sindh CM vowed to proceed against the culprit who registered FiR on fake charges at the behest of PTI leaders.
Whosever planned the drama in haste without due thought and consideration with a view to discredit PML-N and create strains in the relations between PPP and PML-N, it backfired and it benefitted Maryam and Safdar. The episode further galvanized the PDM and inhibited the government from taking tough action against the protestors. The Establishment Division in Isbd has however, backlisted all the police officials who had put up leave applications and would be soon posted out from Sindh starting from grade 20-21 officers.
The PDM held its 3rd public meeting at Quetta on October 25 which was hosted by JUI-F. The stadium was full to the capacity and the crowd was fully charged raising vociferous slogans. NS made a long venomous speech on video link from London in which he spelled out the charges against Gen Musharraf and his core team, against the present army chief and the DG ISI in detail and about the episode at Karachi which he underscored to prove his contention that there was a state above the state.
While appreciating Sindh police upon their defiance, he incited the army jawans and young officers to disobey wrongful orders of seniors. His speech was not telecasted but is in circulation on social media.
What was disturbing was Maryam’s charge-sheet and invectives against Lt Gen retired Asim Bajwa, and her support to the cause of missing persons. Donning Baloch dress, she intermingled with their families and expressed solidarity with the Baloch people. She carried the photo of BLA terrorist Rashid Baloch involved in attack on Chinese Consulate in Karachi.
Bilawal also spoke on video link from Gilgit. He lambasted the detention of PTM leader Mohsin Dawar and Safdar saga in Karachi. Sardar Mengal delineated the issues of Baluchistan. Mahmood Achakzai fumed that they should be allowed to visit Afghanistan without visa otherwise they will dismantle the border fence. JUP leader Shah Awais Noorani crossed the limit by stating that he wanted Baluchistan as an independent state. Fazlur Rehman took time to deliver his sermon on failed foreign policy of the govt, and appeared confident that the PDM will bring down the inept government.
Besides commenting on the decision of Supreme Court in respect of Jusice Qazi Esa, all the speakers spoke on the subject of enforced disappearances and about incompetence and mismanagement of the govt. None had the courage to say that PTI had nothing to do with the inequities of Baluchistan.
The fourth PDM meeting is scheduled at Peshawar on Nov 22, the fifth at Multan on Nov 30 and the sixth at Lahore on December 12 which they speculate would be the biggest gathering. I hear that Maryam intends to play the second video of Judge Arshad Malik in that meeting at Lahore. This video shows the meeting between the judge and NS at Jati Umra in which he stated who all pressured him to punish NS.
In his October 25 speech, NS had made a mention of the judge who was allegedly pressured by present DG ISI not to release NS and Maryam before the elections and also indicated his role in the Faizabad dharna enacted by the TLP.
In their view, the incumbent regime has lost the confidence of the people due to its poor performance and making their lives miserable. They consider that due to IK’s inefficiency and naivety how to run the state affairs, the economy is in shambles and is on the verge of becoming a failed state.
For the first time in the history of Punjab, the largest party PML-N has lit embers of defiance against the federal government and raised the slogan of ‘Jaag Punjabi Jaag’ and is confronting the military leadership.
For the first time Punjab has got engulfed in regionalism, which was the choice of smaller provinces, and Punjab stood as a bastion against such fissiparous tendencies.
For the first time, politicians are firing direct shots at the army chief, DG ISI and senior generals, which is a dangerous development. Whatever be the grievances, NS and other PDM leaders should have refrained from giving strength to Indian agenda.
NS wouldn’t have taken such a big risk without full assurance by the host country that he can continue to live in the safe haven of London without any worry.
The mantra of corruption and now of ‘traitor’ are losing gloss.
The military establishment is getting its image spoilt on account of the pervading impression that it is partisan and sticking to its bad choice.
Those in corridors of powers and their fans are suggesting the use of sledge hammer to stifle voices of the opponents. This option may give a temporary reprieve but will certainly not be a lasting solution and might further complicate matters given the rising trend of provincialism and constraint of 18th Amendment.
Operation Searchlight was launched to save the country from splitting but it didn’t help and led to the division of the country.
ZAB was hanged but his ghost is still alive and the PPP is intact. ANP leaders were declared traitors and banned but they are still functional. MQM Altaf has been ostracised but bulk of MQM with same leaders and activists and target killers are politically operative. Even MQM London has not been banned. We have foolproof evidence of PTM playing into the hands of foreign powers and it acts as facilitator and handler of TTP but it has not been banned. No runaway MQM, Baloch rebel leader, HH, Tariq Fateh have been brought back. PTM has not been proscribed.
The big question is, like PTM, why PDM was allowed to launch the movement and why was the evil not nipped in the bud? Why we are always behind time and let a mole get converted into a mountain?
No movement in third world can succeed without foreign backing and funding. Possibility of connection of PDM with outsiders cannot be ruled out. If so, have we traced the connection and channel of funding and what steps have been taken to disrupt the linkage. Or, we are too busy in so-called accountability, in fulfilling the demands of FATF and in restoring peace in Afghanistan?
In my view PDM is not the problem, poor performance of the government is the real problem because of which it stands on a weak wicket. Its allies are untrustworthy and so are some own cabinet members and advisers. Had it performed and shown marginal progress in the last two years as compared to its predecessors, the opposition could never have gained heart to adopt a confrontationist posture.
Confrontation by the Opposition without the support of the public is of no value but what is worrying is that the PDM has begun to draw bigger gatherings in its public meetings mainly due to price hike.
By claiming that the two meetings at Gujranwala and Karachi were a flop will not help in breaking the momentum of PDM. The government is still hoping against hope of a split between the ranks of the PDM without giving leeway to anyone and without showing good results on ground to provide relief to the masses.
The PDM retains the options of sit-in at Isbd followed by non-cooperation and mass resignations in January to force the government to step down or call for mid-term elections.
The current situation has taken a dangerous turn since foreign powers are involved. Reportedly $ 3 billion has been invested to create disorder. The game-plan includes hybrid war to poison the minds to accentuate divides; brew political instability, ethnicity, Shia-Sunni and Deobandi-Barelvi conflicts; and demonize the army leadership.
Pakistan cannot cope with the perilous agenda of Indo-US-Afghan-Israel nexus, water terrorism, war on terror which has been stepped up, low intensity conflict along the LoC, fifth generation war, tumbling economy, 2nd round of covid-19, and now the political instability which is leading towards civil war like situation.
There are reports that CIA along with RAW, MQM London, BLA, interior Sindh militant groups like SLA and PPP would start a new war in Sindh and the aim is to detach it from the body of Pakistan.
IK is loath to meeting the opposition. Knowing Imran Khan, who “fights, till the last ball”, he would prefer the matter to be decided in the open field.
Deep state political manipulations have not worked and has intensified civil-military tensions which have now escalated to the level of hostility.
Options open. Possible options available are as follows:
- The government to let the opposition play its hands and Imran to fight it out to an uncertain end.
- IK’s Achilles Heel is rising inflation and increasing food prices. The government to start delivering and producing results by way of controlling the price spiral and providing jobs to the jobless in order to disrupt the building nexus between the PDM and the people.
- Disallow future meetings of the PDM, put all its leaders in jail as suggested by the hawks and expedite taking court cases to their logical end. It is not desirable since history teaches us that use of force and selective accountability have always proved counterproductive. It will compound the mess.
- Both sides show flexibility and adopt a conciliatory approach and find a political solution for early elections, leading to a coalition government and save the country from a painful transition.
- Failing to control the situation, IK to give a green signal to the army to declare martial law. Or, when things go wrong for the PDM, some among them may appeal to the Army Chief to take-over the reigns of the government. Or else, Gen Bajwa himself delivers the coup de grace due to the PDM crossing the threshold of national security. All three options seem less likely.
The way out
The only way out to cool down the political temperature is national dialogue and for that the policy of confrontation will have to be replaced with policy of engagement, accommodation and reconciliation. If that will be the ultimate solution, then why so much of purposeless fuss and tall claims were made?
There is no one inside the country to act as a referee and a pacifier to defuse the explosive situation which has become grave. In the past, the judiciary or the military used to douse the fire. Today, all have become controversial and none can claim to be clean and non-partisan. If the leaders of PDM are a bunch of rogues and traitors, the government in power together with its allies are not angels and have similar traits. Yesterday PTI and its allies were firing salvos against the elected government with no holds barred and today the opposition is playing the same game.
If the politicians of opposition parties are corrupt and thieves, yet amongst them are clean and competent ones also, who have experience of governance, and have respect for rule of law and democratic values.
It is this lot that has to be motivated to take charge and establish the precedence of a clean change-over. I have a gut feeling that the dice will ultimately fall in favor of Shahbaz Sharif (SS), President PML-N who is presently in jail. Irrespective of the propaganda launched against him, none can deny that among the lot he is the best administrator and a deliverer.
Forming a new PML under SS comprising politicians from all other factions of PML with a clean record could be considered and Punjab handed over to him.
PTI also needs thorough cleansing since it is full of bad eggs from other parties. So is the case with Religious Right parties, but there is no mega scandal against any religious leader.
PTI-New PML- refurbished members of Religious Right after forming an alliance should contest elections and strive to gain two-third majority and form governments in the Centre and in provinces.
The new experiment will succeed only if the whole electoral machinery is reformed, and the judiciary, police, bureaucracy are thoroughly revamped. Only then the people will give another chance to parliamentary democracy. Otherwise, the ultimate solution is Islamic system which has never been tried.
The writer is a retired Brig Gen, war veteran, defence & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, Member CWC PESS and Veterans Think Tank. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brig. General Asif Haroon Raja is on the board of advisors for Opinion Maker. He holds an MSc war studies degree. A second-generation officer, he fought the epic battle of Hilli in northwest East Bengal during 1971 war,
He served as Directing Staff Command & Staff College, Defence Attaché Egypt, and Sudan and Dean of Corps of Military Attaches in Cairo. He commanded the heaviest brigade in Kashmir. He is tri-lingual and speaks English, Pashto, and Punjabi fluently.
Currently, he is a defense analyst and columnist and writes articles on security, defense, and political matters for numerous international/national publications. He is chairman at the Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, & Member CWC PESS & Veterans Think Tank
He is also the author of many books; ‘Battle of Hilli’, ‘1948, 1965 & 1971 Kashmir Battles and Freedom Struggle’, ‘Muhammad bin Qasim to Gen Musharraf’, and Roots of 1971 Tragedy’. His latest book is ‘Tangled knot of Kashmir : Indo-Pakistan antagonism: vol. 1 and vol. 2″