Politics of alliances by Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

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Analysis: Imran Khan’s U-turn or a new game plan!!

The political weather of Pakistan starts to heat up as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) have girded upon their loins against the incumbent government. But this time their strategy appears to be different. They do not want to dislodge the government rather they are looking for some arrangement for an in-house change. Although both PTI and PAT will launch their movements separately, yet are expected to join hands at the end of the day as they did during their previous dharna. The previous attempt proved barren as they could not succeed to dislodge the government despite the fact that they enjoyed sizeable support from masses and ‘powers that be’.

This time the support that it mustered earlier may not be available for a host of reasons which makes things even more difficult. PTI since its last dharna adventure appears to have lost its steam and the considerable support among masses owing to its internal party differences and possibly even their chairman’s second marriage.  Political pundits further believe that intra party elections controversy too took heavy toll on the PTI and thanks to some saner elements within the party the elections proposal was shelved albeit for the time being. Imran Khan has hinted at holding the elections, however heavy weights of the party still believe that such elections should not take place at this time particularly when the party is gearing up for a mass movement against the government.

Keeping in view the political realities, both PTI and PPP may not be in a position to perform well in case early elections are called. This is probably why some PML N leaders would want the prime minister to go for early elections as they feel that the party will possibly return to the assemblies with an even bigger mandate. The PM however does not appear too agreeable, he is in no mood to take any risks and would rather stay in power as long as possible when he can “serve” the people better while in power with all the resources at the disposal.

Politically, perhaps the PPP is the worst poised among all the parties. Surprisingly its performance in Azad Kashmir elections was quite dismal.  In Punjab too the party has been struggling since long while in KPK and Balochistan is desperately looking for some new faces that could whip up its otherwise faltering image.  Therefore, PPP will prefer that the elections are held on schedule. This being the key reason, the PPP may not become part of any adventures (or misadventures!) of any movement that seeks to topple the government or even paves way for early elections. Then, PPP would never like the PTI  coming to power hence no chances its becoming part  any anti-government campaign.

There is also some gossip circulating about the prime minister resigning and then vying for the post of President of Pakistan. It may turn out to be a smart move if the ultimate purpose of it is to get immunity, nevertheless it is certainly not as easy as it seems on a planning board. The information probably has been leaked in order to gauge the public mood and reaction of those powers that really matter including the opposition parties. Positively, PTI will confront any such move head on while some other parties will jump on the bandwagon once they realize that the move can materialize and will get public support as well.

Summing up, the government may witness some unruly scenes on streets and roads in the comings days but luckily not with the same force and vigour of the dharna movement simply because PTI may not be able to muster much support this time.  But the government is also not on a sound footing either for a number of reasons, Panama issues being the primary one. The coming days will see both government and opposition poised crucially for action. Here comes the role of ‘powers-that-be”, which would ideally want that all issues must be resolved while being within the precincts of Constitution of Pakistan.