Politics promises to bring about change every time a change is considered necessary. Even if the desired change is achieved, room for another change remains available. Often, a change for a purpose soon becomes a power-struggle and people start betting on one horse or the other completely forgetting that they are unknowingly becoming part of power-politics rather than beneficiaries. The demand for basic needs turns into sloganeering; political affiliations overpower the desire of living a comfortable life; economics quietly get sidelined; conspiracy theories are floated left, right and center to deflect attention of the masses from the real issues; hitting below the belt is accepted as a norm; cultural values or religion are used or misused to tilt the argument in one’s favour; and, indefinite hopes are once again attached to the soon-to-be-achieved change, totally overlooking the ‘sins’ of the past committed by the re-invented and re-invigorated but already tested political forces.

Justifications are found in abundance to put to rest any question that might surface after the desired change fails to satisfy the needs of the common man. The irony is that those who elect their leaders complain about the competence and performance of the same instead of cursing their own wisdom of choosing the wrong-ones or deciding to be wise next time. Every time, promises fall short of fulfillment. Each time, the grass looks greener on the other hill. Every time, tenure-extensions are sought for projects whose completion was promised in previous stints. Every time, opportunists get their way. Each time, the ultimate losers remain the masses.

Scenario One: The jugglery of the numbers game in the Senate revisits the country; the dissidents and allies become irrelevant and Khan retains his premiership. The focus shifts to the Punjab. The opposition likes to stay united, plan rallies and makes sure the government remains unsettled until the next election. The doubts about the establishment’s ‘neutrality’ re-surface; being on ‘one page’ humming starts with grins on the faces of TV anchors; a dozen or so PTI dissident legislatures or the erstwhile allies find excuses for being misinformed about the government’s endeavours of making Pakistan a force to reckon with; fresh development programs are launched; and, Khan emerges as the strongest leader, with no change in his political or personal demeanour.

Scenario Two: For the first time in Pakistan’s checkered history, a sitting PM is de-seated along with shaking or changing the present set-up in the Punjab. All Pakistanis including the opposition, objective observers and the diplomatic corps based in Islamabad believe in the establishment’s neutrality while the rumors of ‘not-being-on-the-same-page’ get approval. By the time the ensuing government finds its whereabouts, the main political parties are seen fighting for extra political space, resulting in an inevitable intra-opposition tug of war, causing yet another political turmoil. Khan and his PTI is immediately vindicated on all real or fictitious ‘failures’ as he proudly vows to come back to power even stronger. He keeps giving his opponents a tough time and a few sleepless nights here and there. All civilian Ambassadors serving Pakistan abroad on contract basis are recalled back to Islamabad with immediate effect.

Scenario Three: In case of further delay in convening the session for deciding the no-confidence move or various political parties coming to a real-time head-on law and order situation, the army steps in and announces dates of fresh election. Not knowing how to react on this seemingly out-of-the-box eventuality, Khan laughs at the opposition’s no-confidence move and makes fun of them in public gatherings, if allowed to hold them at all. As in the past, the ‘dear countrymen’ accept it as fait accompli while messages of condolences are received from the world on the sudden demise of democracy in Pakistan. The menace of terrorism and extremism is handled aptly and there is hardly any law and order situation in the country. Technocrats and retired bureaucrats are ordering new formal clothes while fresh ideas on geo-economics emerge to make Pakistan a self-reliant country. No one is bothered about the recently issued National Security Policy.

Scenario Four: Something out-of-the-ordinary happens in the country, catapulting the plans of the opposition of seeing Khan’s back. Conspiracy theories involving some ‘’foreign hand’ float in the political backyard as fresh strategies are envisaged to come to power. Loud calls for fresh general election are made in a well-orchestrated chorus as the candidates start the process of reaching back to their respective constituencies. The law enforcing agencies are put on high alert as an extraordinary situation demands extraordinary measures both inside the country and at the borders.

Scenario Five: In order to see the democratic system functioning and letting the Army stay away from politics, the Supreme Court comes with its own trump card, saving all stakeholders from embarrassment and proposing a win-win situation. Some unique interpretation of some law from the Apex Court is issued, bringing everything to a stand-still situation and all future steps are put on hold for an indefinite period of time. Simultaneously, a fresh election is called and life comes to normal with all political parties going back to the drawing board.

Scenario Six: A few elements from the first five scenarios somehow get combined and present a possible solution to the ongoing political turmoil in the country including a change in the form of government in Pakistan.

Regardless of which kind of cat comes out of the bag, a nuclear Pakistan keeps running into macroeconomics crises and struggling against current account and trade deficits, inflation, depleting foreign reserves and currency devaluations. GDP growth would keep the IMF busy in imposing stricter measures.