Kakar style intervention, maybe? | Pakistan Today

Kakar style intervention, maybe?

Nawaz may not remain the Sharif calling the shots

 

 

With pressure mounting with every passing day, the Nawaz government now clearly seems in trouble. Imran Khan’s Azadi march is set to hit the capital on Independence Day and Tahirul Qadri is also likely to announce his revolution any time now. While Qadri aims for a complete rollover of the system, Khan’s demand is limited to the removal of the government and re-elections.

In what seems to be a final attempt at defusing tension, Nawaz Sharif ended his political isolation and held meetings with the leadership of different political parties this week. The government posits that it is ready to negotiate with Awami Tehreek and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf to find a political settlement. However, with both parties continuing to move ahead with their plans, it looks nearly impossible that a solution can be found on the negotiations table. PTI has made it clear that the ‘time for talks’ is over and its Azadi march is imminent whereas Tahirul Qadri is not ready to settle for anything short of a ‘revolution’.

The heavy-handed government

With the removal of the government being the first order of business for both PAT and PTI, the government is seemingly doing whatever it takes to quarantine itself from the danger. Although PML-N wants to keep its options open by showing an inclination for negotiations, the state-machinery has been thoroughly activated to hamper the march on the capital.

Reportedly, Punjab police has started to arrest and detain the workers of PAT and PTI in many districts and thousands of motorcycles have also been locked up in police stations. Closure of petrol pumps on GT road has been announced and the capital has been sealed with hundreds of containers while the army had already been called in to ensure the law and order in the city under article 245. However, government’s iron-handed approach can also backfire.

According to some news reports the government has devised different strategies to tackle PAT and PTI. While it is trying to politically deal with the latter, PAT will be taken down administratively. Arresting the top leadership of both parties is also on the cards.

In a minor skirmish, feared by some to be the first of many to come, three policemen were injured after a clash with the PAT workers outside Tahirul Qadri’s residence in Model Town on Thursday night. The next day, violent clashes broke out between the police and PAT workers. Tahirul Qadri had earlier directed his followers to take on the policemen with force if necessary.

“The government itself is developing a situation of confrontation”, said Qazi Faiz, spokesman for PAT. He said PAT wanted to keep its agenda peaceful however the government is “instigating us to call for the revolution before time.”

According to some news reports the government has devised different strategies to tackle PAT and PTI. While it is trying to politically deal with the latter, PAT will be taken down administratively. Arresting the top leadership of both parties is also on the cards.

“The PML-N government is using all kinds of undemocratic means to halt our Azadi March”, said Ejaz Chaudhry, PTI Punjab president. He criticised the Punjab government for using police to intimidate workers of both parties. Chaudhry repeated Imran Khan’s statement that his party will choke the whole country if the chairman is put under house arrest. “PTI condemns the government’s behaviour towards Awami Tehreek and will react strongly if Tahirul Qadri is arrested”, he added.

Once in the capital…

Currently, only PTI has announced to march on the capital while PAT is scheduled to observe the Yaum-e-Shauhda on 10th August (today) in Lahore. As PTI has categorically negated any kind of possibility of calling off its march, it plans to take ‘at least a million people’ to Islamabad on August 14. Once people reach the capital in such big numbers, the situation can take any turn.

“If PTI stages a sit-in in Islamabad for a couple of days, it will shut down the capital and call for immediate steps to be taken”, said Hassan Askari Rizvi, a senior analyst. Rizvi believes that if PTI manages to gather a large number of people in the capital, “the government will not be able to stay as it is today”.

The army has always played a crucial, and mostly decisive, role in such situations. With PTI aiming for the prime minister’s resignation and the government calling it an ‘insane demand’, a deadlock is the only likely possibility and the final call, it seems, will have to come from the GHQ.

Rasul Bux Rais, an analyst and academic, believes “Imran Khan is a leader of national stature and can mobilise people in large numbers”. Rais also said that if Khan manages to sustain the crowd in the capital for a few days, PTI can expect a major breakthrough. However, he said, “media’s role will also be a key factor in determining if the PTI is able to mount pressure on the government”.

Boys with barrels

The army has always played a crucial, and mostly decisive, role in such situations. With PTI aiming for the prime minister’s resignation and the government calling it an ‘insane demand’, a deadlock is the only likely possibility and the final call, it seems, will have to come from the GHQ.

“The situation can get violent in the capital and violence will essentially jeopardise the government”, said Rizvi. “In the case of bloodshed, the stalemate will not continue and the army will have to intervene”.

Army intervention has never been a good omen for Nawaz Sharif. In 1999, his government was ousted by army in a coup whereas in 1993 the then army Chief General Abdul Waheed Kakar pressured Nawaz into resigning after Benazir Bhutto announced a long march against his government. He is currently faced with a similar challenge and his response — or the absence of it — will be crucial in determining his fate. However, Rasul Bux Rais thinks that PTI’s march can indeed result in a “Kakar style intervention”.

After demanding the audit of the ‘famous four’ constituencies for fourteen months, PTI has decided to come out on streets in a final attempt to remove the government. PTI is going all out for its August 14 march and Imran Khan has said that his eighteen years in politics have come down to it. On the other hand, Tahirul Qadri is upping the ante as well and the day of his ‘revolution march’ does not seem very far.

PTI has made it clear that it will also not shy away from resigning from the assemblies. If PPP or any other major political party decides to rock the boat, troubles for the Nawaz government will only increase. The currently pursued ‘crackdown approach’ of the government can turn the situation violent on D-day. Once people reach the capital and the situation escalates, Nawaz may no longer remain the Sharif who will call the shots.



5 Comments

  1. sajid said:

    Good article,Nawaz must resign one way or other,this government has badly disoppionted everyone

  2. waqas said:

    Absolutely clueless and inept,this government has pushed pakistan 10 years back

  3. aryanaslam said:

    The Govt is run by Kahsmiris ie Dars Khawjas and Mians though Kahmiris are Mians. How a kitchen capinet can cope with the situation

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