In Pakistan, a snap election may be on the horizon
The artificial “change” and self-created “revolution” in Pakistan seems to be collapsing under its own weight.
There is growing public frustration this winter over the country’s gas and electricity crisis. The economic indicators are pointing down, and the recent visit by Prime Minister Imran Khan to Turkey yielded no results in terms of loans or investment pledges. The current account deficit is growing by the day and the circular debt is touching new highs. The expected loan from the International Monetary Fund is not coming anytime soon, as the body has already emphasized that the current government should come up with strong documentation for its proposal and accept its strict terms and conditions, which include an increase in electricity tariffs and further devaluation of the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar.
In the meantime, the Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government is still preoccupied with optics and making lofty claims. It seems the incumbent government is doing nothing more than putting political opponents in jail and making claims that are far from accurate. The powers who put PTI in power perhaps overestimated Khan’s abilities, and now they are watching helplessly as the economy sinks.
The change that was promised to the masses is not visible anywhere. The sole focus of Khan’s government is to somehow secure loans from friendly countries and convince the IMF to bail Pakistan out of its economic turmoil. The PTI government seems to have lost its way completely and it is curbing dissenting voices in an effort to create a more positive picture. The question that remains, however, is, how long will the PTI government be able to sail its ship through the storms engulfing Pakistan?
How long will the PTI government be able to sail its ship through the storms engulfing Pakistan?
Many whistleblowers are of the view that Asif Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party has been given the nod by the invisible forces to bring about an in-house change. At the behest of the invisible forces, Zardari last year successfully toppled the government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in Balochistan. So he seems to be the backup plan for the invisible forces in case Khan and his team are unable to steer the country out of economic and political turmoil.
Zardari is being joined by Maulana Fazal ur Rehman (the head of Jamat-e-Ulmae Pakistan) and Fazal is also leading the alliance of a right-wing religious political parties alliance called Mutehda Malis-e-Amal ( MMA). Fazal is also considered close to ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif and he may be given the task of somehow convincing him to join the grand opposition alliance in order to bring about an in-house change and topple the government, However, Nawaz and his PML-N are not yet ready to trust Zardari and the invisible forces.
Many in the PML-N, including Sharif, believe the PTI government should be given a reasonable amount of time to run the affairs of state, and that it would be best if PTI fails due to its own incompetence. Sharif is probably not interested in fighting Khan and instead wants to fight it out with the powers who installed the former cricket star as prime minister. Without the co-operation of the PML-N in the National Assembly, Zardari and Fazal cannot play the numbers game and turn the tables in their favor. On the other hand, the invisible forces will never let the PML-N gain any political space in Punjab until Sharif shuns his narrative and bows his head before the invisible forces.
This makes the equation more interesting, as right now an in-house change cannot be brought about without Sharif’s PML-N joining hands with Zardari’s PPP and the invisible forces. So a snap election at the end of this year is the only way to change the pawns on the political chessboard. Khan’s government is heavily dependent on the votes of parties like the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Balochistan Awami Pary (BAP). Both these parties can easily back off from supporting the Khan-led government at any given time.
If Khan does not succeed in bringing investment to the economy and addressing the economic and financial crisis, in September or October a no-confidence move can be launched against him in the National Assembly. Without the help of the MQM and BAP, Khan will not be able to survive a no-confidence move and it will eventually result in a call for a snap election. The remaining question, however, is whether the invisible forces will be able to yield the desired results in another election, especially if Sharif is not joining hands with them. After all, it will be a huge risk to hold another election while Sharif’s narrative of “respect the vote” remains popular.
Mushadiullah Khan, a senior senator and stalwart of the PML-N, believes Zardari has been given the nod by the establishment, and instead of bringing about an in-house change, the powers that be will go for a snap election. Mushaid is not sure at what point in time this development will occur but he believes that “something very serious will happen in the year 2019.”
The way things are proceeding, it is not very hard to predict that sooner or later the incumbent government that came to power through a fractured mandate will have to call a snap election, as it is not able to address the economic woes of the country. Such is the state of affairs that Dr Farrukh Saleem, who was appointed as a spokesperson for the government on the economy and energy, was fired after he criticized his own government and said that the current PTI administration did not understand economic management and had no idea how to get the country out of the crisis. This reveals a lot about how things are moving in a direction where the invisible forces will be calling another snap election to change the pawns and put another puppet like Sadiq Sanjrani at the helm with the help of the Zardari-led PPP and other small parties.
The question, however, is, will the change of faces make any difference in addressing the problems the country is facing? Prime Minister Khan needs a miracle to somehow get the economy out of turmoil and in doing so buy some more time. Sharif will be more then happy to somehow grab his fort of Punjab again if the new elections are held, and he will not be interested in forming a government in the center with the invisible forces again in the driving seat and the country’s economic problems getting worse. We must wait until the end of this year to see whether there will be a snap election or an in-house change. The never-ending suspense of the Pakistani game of thrones is keeping everyone on their feet.