NationalVOLUME 16 ISSUE # 07

Heading towards disorder

All political parties, including the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and eleven parties of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), are rapidly pushing Pakistan towards disorder with their poor politics, hateful statements and policies. There should not be any doubt about Imran Khan’s failure to solve Pakistan’s problems and people’s difficulties. With his haughty and undemocratic attitude, Imran Khan is losing his popularity rapidly among the people.

He has not even taken a single step for introducing reforms in the Punjab police, judiciary, NAB, FIA and other state institutions. His government has failed to control corruption, prices of food and other daily-use commodities. Unemployment and inflation are increasing. In short, after almost thirty months in power, he has not fulfilled even a single promise he made with the people before getting power in the Centre, the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

His incompetent ministers and corrupt advisors are just criticising opposition leaders, especially Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Shahbaz Sharif, Maulana Fazlur Rehman etc for all the problems and challenges Pakistan and its people are facing. Since they don’t have any solution to the problems, they are diverting the people’s attention from the burning issues by using harsh words against the opposition leaders. They are calling opposition leaders traitors and anti-Pakistani openly.

On the other hand, rallies of the PDM at Gujranwala, Karachi and Quetta have been a huge success. Thousands of people attended the jalsas. All the parties raised the “vote ko izzat do”(respect the vote) slogan in the gatherings. They have demanded not only free and fair elections but also non-interference of the establishment in governance.

Almost all PDM parties, especially the PML-N, JUI-F, are openly speaking against the army’s role in Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, are now directly accusing COAS General Qamar Bajwa, ISI DG Lt-General Faiz Hameed and ISPR Director General Maj-General Babar Iftikhar of creating a mess in the country. On November 2, during the launch of PML-N’s “Sher Jawan” force in Lahore, anti-army slogans were raised in the presence of Maryam Nawaz. She also claimed that the PML-N would not allow some generals to hide behind “wardi” (uniform). “They will have to be answerable for their deeds,” she claimed. Maulana Fazlur Rehman and his party members, including Maulana Attaur Rehman, are also severely criticising the army.

Then, Ayaz Sadiq, former Speaker of the National Assembly and PML-N leader, made a very alarming and shocking statement on the floor of the Parliament about India and Pakistan’s war in February of 2019. Without mincing words, the former Speaker alleged that Pakistan had released Wing Commander Abhinandan, an Indian pilot, under threat and fear of an Indian attack. Ayaz Sadiq claimed that Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and military personnel were trembling in fear of an Indian attack that night. So, to avoid the attack by the Indian forces, Abhinandan was released, he claimed.

By giving the statement, Ayaz Sadiq and the PML-N have not only damaged Pakistan but also undermined the victory of its air force. It was an attack on the image of the army. The army had declared Abhinandan’s capture and release a victory against Indian aggression, but the statement of Ayaz Sadiq has negated the established stance of the army. The statement has also provided a face-saving opportunity to India in a conflict that its air force lost in daylight.

The Indian media is playing with the statement expertly. Unfortunately, the PML-N has not condemned the statement. The PDM has also not said anything against it. Many analysts are of the view that the statement is an “extension” of Nawaz Sharif’s narrative. ISPR DG Major General Babar Iftikhar tried to criticise the statement in his press briefing. But, it is a hard fact that the PML-N leadership and its allies in the PDM are undermining Pakistan’s national security narrative without any fear and hesitation.

Analyst Saad Rasool writes: “This saga started with Nawaz Sharif’s infamous ‘Dawn leaks’ episode, which the Army (ostensibly) swallowed in the larger national interest. A repeat assault was then made by Nawaz Sharif during an interview in Multan, when he claimed that Pakistan had been involved in cross-border terrorism in India. And, conveniently, Nawaz Sharif’s statement was issued just in time for the Indian counsel to quote it during Kulbhushan Yadav proceedings before the ICJ. Then, Nawaz Sharif upped the ante further, alleging that the Pakistani establishment ‘stole’ American missiles (from Balochistan) to make their own. Then, in Gujranwala, he made specific allegations against the Army Chief. Then in Quetta against the Army Chief and the ISI DG. And all the while, every speech, every statement of Nawaz Sharif, in this regard, was flashed as breaking news across the Indian media. And then finally, this episode of Ayaz Sadiq has served as icing on the Indian cake.”

The PTI government and its officials are raising a hue and cry against Ayaz Sadiq. Some are calling him a traitor. But, interestingly, the PTI government has utterly failed to take any legal and remedial action against Ayaz Sadiq, Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Capt (retd) Safdar, Owais Noorani and other PDM members, who are openly speaking against the army and Pakistan’s national interests.

Nawaz Sharif has burnt all his boats and his outburst is considered by many political experts as a “suicide”. Most of the PDM parties and members are following his line. The PTI government and the establishment will try their best to deflect the situation through new promises, threats and arrests. The PPP can leave the PDM because it has its interests in the provincial government. But, the PML-N and the JUI have no interest in any province. They will continue their anti-establishment and anti-PTI protests.

If Gilgit-Baltistan elections are rigged, the PDM will become more popular. Poor economy, dharnas, strikes, long marches, terrorism and foreign intervention will make matters worse.