Dreaming Big or Redirecting Energy

The three major political parties have failed in delivering goods and services. Such a failure has created a ‘space’ for a new political entity.

Is a ‘pack up and go home’ scenario developing for the PML (N) led new­ly installed coalition government? If yes, why so soon? If not, then why are so many ‘coincidences’ pointing to­wards its fall?

Several questions are loom­ing large in front of the pres­ent Pakistani political land­scape. The most important of these questions – is there some space for any new political par­ty - to look for answers to the coun­try’s woes and miseries, particularly in the realm of politics and economics – has been addressed by a former PM of Pakistan. Indeed, it was a Saturday Night Special. One of the TV channels hosted the trio - Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, and Miftah Is­mail as they confirmed the launching of a new political party - without reveal­ing its name.

Although they sounded too good to be true, the three of them were able to provide a glimmer of hope to the infla­tion-chomped and politically molested people of Pakistan. In a critical Shake­spearian situation: a horse, my kingdom for a horse- even a glimmer of hope must be taken as good news.

Here is what the trio maintained or revealed:

-The three major political parties have failed in delivering goods and services. Such a failure has created a ‘space’ for a new political entity. The recently held polls have exposed the real worth of all parties. Has the new government provid­ed any direction? What has it done so far except repeating its past mistakes? The country is being run through the IMF - even that is not being handled by the government properly. There is a strong resentment prevailing in the minds of the people; the government has been forcefully ‘installed and imposed’ rath­er than ‘formed’ based on popular senti­ment. Clearly, the people of Pakistan are running short of options.

-Therefore, a new political party is being launched and a reform agenda will be presented before the people to bring changes in almost every sector and sphere of government. Clarification - it would not be a party like PML (Q) or the Istehkam-e-Pakistan. The party is being formed without any patronage as getting support from the Establish­ment would further complicate matters. As for joining the party, we have not ap­proached anyone; in fact - several lead­ers have approached us and held fruit­ful meetings. We do not necessarily want power as one could work for the coun­try even from outside the corridors of power. We will be discussing the real is­sues and their solutions. It is as simple as that. Meanwhile, our party will grow. Rest assured – the party will accept only the people with an untarnished past. The first line of leaders will be men of integ­rity. The ‘rejected lot’ shunted out by other parties will not be acceptable.

A dream-like situation. Isn’t it?

Paul Auster, an American writer once remarked: we are continually shaped by the forces of coincidence. The trio’s interview and announcement of launching a neat and clean new politi­cal party has coincided with a) the com­mencement of a countrywide agitation ‘Tehrik-e-Tahaffuz-Aaeen-e-Pakistan’ (Movement for Protection of Pakistan’s Constitution) by a six-party coalition spearheaded by PTI b) the rumors of Khan’s exit from incarceration in early May c) Nawaz Sharif’s criticism of his own brother’s newly formed govern­ment and the reincarnation of Mujhey kiun nikala mantra, and d) the viral vid­eo clip of certain dacoits taking selfies atop a police vehicle. In the backdrop, is another rumor reverberating in Islam­abad that ‘the next two months are go­ing to see some change.’ To top it all, the Maulana’s conspicuous silence has add­ed some spice to the conspiratorial po­litical environment.

Conspiracy theories aside, the fact re­mains that even after having the gen­eral elections; the assumption of offic­es of the PM and the President by SS and AAZ respectively, and followed by yet another controversial Senate elec­tions; the unending political uncer­tainty in the country would refuse to fade away. In fact, the contentious elec­tions’ results and the mysterious rig­marole of form-45 and 47 would mar an already uncertain political environ­ment. The strong public sentiment that their right to vote was sacrificed at the altar of the law of necessity – seems too much to handle even for the ruling co­alition partners. What was the fun in forming a government if the PML (N) stalwarts such as Rana Sanaullh, Javaid Latif, Khurram Dastgir and Saad Rafiq not only lost their seats but were also not considered for the vacant Senate seats? Without a shred of doubt, the 2024 elections have resulted in a fed­eral government over which no one ex­pressed satisfaction- not even the two major coalition parties. Did Asif Ali Zardari know more than his political rivals that he chose to go for the consti­tutional posts for his party rather than joining the Cabinet?

It is widely believed that if a free and fair election is held today, the symbol-less party will get more seats than its ri­val two major parties combined. Some other ‘widely believed’ facts include a) The present government has neither the will nor capacity to bring the country out of trouble b) Khan is the most popular and the least ‘acceptable’ leader in Pak­istan c) Even after paying a heavy price for the incidents of May 9 and 10, PTI is still under the cloud d) Khan wants to mend ways with the powers-that-be but refuses to publicly apologize for his or his party’s role in the May fiasco e) The cases against Khan could be ‘reversed’ just like the Avenfield, Flagship and Al-Azizia ‘crafted and fabricated’ cases. Just a nod from upstairs and everything could be honky-dory again!

On the other hand, it is also evident that a) PML (N) has lost its grounds even in its stronghold – Punjab, thereby creating serious concerns for the par­ty supremo and his loyalists b) NS was looking forward to becoming the PM for the fourth time. He has been ‘deceived’ – big time c) PPP is practically a party of Sindh d) MQM got more than it was expecting e) The Istehkam-e-Pakistan party along with Jahangir Tarin has dis­appeared from the scene altogether be­hind many familiar questions, and f) The Maulana’s mulling over period to ei­ther join the government openly or the opposition is gradually prolonging. He is holding his cards close to his chest. What is he thinking?

George Bernard Shaw once said: ‘If history repeats itself, and the unexpect­ed always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.’ The meaningful smile on Shahid Khaqan Ab­basi’s face didn’t tell the whole story. However, his brimming confidence did convey an unequivocal message – he is ready to handle the hot potato.

Najm us Saqib
The writer is a former Ambassador of Pakistan and author of eight books in three languages. He can be reached at najmussaqib

The writer is a former Ambassador of Pakistan and author of eight books in three languages. He can be reached at najmussaqib1960@msn.com.

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