The big news on Tuesday was the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor assuring the populace that the military was not in any way involved in the upcoming elections.
The military is a non-partisan institution says Gen Ghafoor, adding that the army will execute its duties in line with ECP’s code of conduct to maintain peace in the country.
That should settle it. There has been much talk in recent times of aliens, angels, jins and all kinds of supernatural beings trying to meddle in the polls one way or the other. There is, of course, the little problem of the military having had a long history of far from impartial involvement in the country’s affairs.
The worry of such involvement is ever persistent. The country’s history makes it a reality. Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) peddling of the “khalai makhlooq” narrative has made it all more potent.
But hey, this presser should really put an end to any misgivings. The ISPR DG was so convincing after all.
Everyone seems to be holding their breath. Nawaz and his daughter Maryam are set to return on Friday. The caretaker government has announced they will implement the orders of the courts as per the law. For this, they are practically shutting down the city, and the airport is going to be sealed top to bottom.
The League here in Pakistan and in London seems to conveniently be ignoring all of this. Shehbaz Sharif is still working hard at making preparations for the big return. He will be worried however, because his mother is insisting she will come out to Lahore airport to receive her son.
Nawaz, too, is ignoring the government’s insistence that he will immediately be arrested and sent to Islamabad. He is looking forward to an entire rally before he goes on to surrender himself at the NAB office at Thokar Niaz Beg.
This is going to be a tricky one for the government, the NAB, the police, the League and all else involved.
ALL ABOUT THE SYMBOLISM:
SSP Malir Rao Anwar has been let off the hook on bail. Not much to do with the election, but all to do with the symbolism.
Here is a man accused of murder walking around free even as everyone else prepares to shut down Lahore for the Sharif’s return. Pakistan Today’s satirical publication The Dependent has put it well, “Rao Anwar released on bail, given Jeep ticket.”