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Resistance, reconciliation and hypocrisy

Riyatullah Farooqui

The writer is a senior journalist.

One of the major benefits of the current hybrid system in place in the country is that before this system there was an ambiguity as to who among the politicians believed in complete political independence and who believed in respecting the limits set by the Establishment.

Thus, in political analysis, there is always the division that so-and-so party and its leadership are anti-establishment, and so-and-so pro-establishment. For a long time, the impression remained that the PPP was the anti-establishment party while the PML-N was the pro-establishment party.

General Musharraf not only overthrew the Nawaz government on October 12, 1999 but also deported the Sharif family, giving the impression that rifts have emerged between the PML-N and the Establishment. The possibility of becoming pro-establishment again was vanished.

Undoubtedly, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto also saw the situation in the same light. This can be gauged from the NRO which was a significant step towards marital relations between the PPP and the Establishment.

As a result of this NRO, the PPP, which had the illusion of being anti-establishment, was ready to make the house of the establishment flourish. But with the martyrdom of the lady, the whole game went awry and what happened was astonishing. N-League entered the house of the Establishment without wasting any moment.

Analysts could not focus on the close friendship between the Saudi royal family and our establishment. Perhaps taking advantage of this friendship, truce reached between PML-N and the Establishment. But the N-League’s own offspring proved to be very useless. It gave birth to Zia League, Junejo League, Q-League and some other leagues but none of them worked.

Thus, General Kayani had no option but to accept the N-League. When the PML-N came to power for the third time in 2014, they started showing their attitude as soon as they came. The Establishment had already devised a strategy against it in the first year. What happened in Panama is not so old. And the 2018 election and what happened after that is only a matter of tomorrow.

The manner, in which the PML-N challenged the Establishment from the PDM platform, for the first time, began to give the impression that it is now an anti-establishment party. And this impression was not only accepted but also spread by all the pro-PMLN analysts, including me.

In this situation, the hushed house of the Establishment was not seen by the PPP. Therefore, it was decided to try again the scheme which had failed as a result of the martyrdom of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

Despite the aggressive progress, it was a difficult time for the Establishment. It had been almost thirty-five years but the party had failed to produce a worthy part from the N-League. Astrologers also predicted that a baby girl would be born who would be called “S-League” and that she would make a name for herself.

Instead of trying the PPP, the Establishment decided to work with the new-born baby, on whom it had been bestowing gifts since 2010. And that’s how the hybrid system came about. As a result, the PPP distanced itself from the N-League. This further reinforces the impression that the PPP is now the pro-establishment and the N-league anti-establishment parties.

But once again, the same thing happened in 2008. Once again, the N-League could not bear the friendship of PPP and Establishment. Therefore, when it came to the extension of General Bajwa, the PTI had started the same game that the N-League has been playing, that is, betrayal.

It was in the midst of failing the extension scheme when suddenly the N-League stepped forward and favored the Establishment with a forced hug. But the problem with the Establishment was that it had assured the PPP of the next turn. So despite the extension vote, there was no difference in attitude from the N-League.

Since then, the N-League has been playing the role of setting up two camps called Resistance Group and Reconciliation Group. It is believed that one group believes in resistance and the other in reconciliation. But in reality, the task of the resistance group is simply to narrow down the establishment and persuade it to compromise.

The biggest proof of this is that there is no one in the resistance group except Nawaz Sharif and his daughter. Have we seen any third leader of N-League making aggressive speeches? By placing 95% of the PML-N in the reconciliation group, Nawaz Sharif has saved them from the “unacceptable” category.

In such a situation, the question becomes very important that if N-League has really become anti-establishment then why the entire leadership of this party is not in anti-establishment mode? Consider that this party has not held a single public meeting in the last two years where its entire leadership has had to give speeches and these meetings are for the honor of the votes cast.

While the incumbent Prime Minister is standing against the Establishment, the N-League is putting its weight behind the Establishment. Najam Sethi is in London. Since his meeting with Nawaz Sharif, he has been constantly claiming that the PML-N has decided that it will no longer target the Establishment, but will turn all its guns on Imran Khan.

Does anyone remember what Nawaz Sharif and his daughter said in the PDM meeting exactly one year ago today? That we have no fight with Imran Khan, our fight is with those who brought him, Imran Khan has no status. And that is what is called “resistance.” Now, after a year’s journey, how did Imran Khan suddenly become “important”? This is the worst kind of opportunism and hypocrisy.

Thus, the present hybrid system has erased all the impressions of the past in Pakistani politics. And it has become clear that even Nawaz Sharif, who plays the role of honoring the vote, can neither oust the most unpopular government in history like Imran Khan on his own nor come to power without the umbrella of the Establishment.

Therefore, their competition at this time is with the PPP which has made all the preparations to take the place of N-League in Establishment’s ward. And the PPP is beginning to feel the pressure. Qamar-ul-Zaman Kaira, the failed leader of PPP Punjab, expressed this two days ago by saying that N-League should clarify whether it wants to resist or reconciliation?