The legitimacy of the electoral process after which the present government has come into power used to stoke a lot of emotions. The supporters of the ruling party – subdued of late – used to resent any allegations of rigging, pre-poll or not. Later, when the performance of the government was found wanting, they still stuck to their guns regarding the electoral process itself. In fact, the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly even went to the extent of banning the use of the word ‘selected’ on the floor of the House. One could use it, of course, but it would be expunged from the record. The irony of the very same Deputy Speaker’s election declared null by the Election Commission of Pakistan due to recent revelations of rigging wasn’t lost out on many.
The recent meeting between the captains of commerce and industry have further confirmed and then cemented some suspicions. Specially seen in the backdrop of the government’s revenue czar reportedly going to the garrison city multiple times a week.
Add to the mix above the recent interview of the interior minister on Channel 92 by Arif Nizami.
The man is known to be thick with the deep state and was reportedly brought in to the portfolio at their behest. In a moment of candour, he said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif could have been the premier for a fourth time as well had he not listened to a troublesome ‘three or four’ people surrounding him. Realising that he had said too much, he didn’t elaborate despite being asked repeatedly by Mr Nizami to name who these people were. The latter even tried to tease him out of the man by naming names and asking for a yes/no; the minister didn’t bite. Barring, of course, saying that he wasn’t referring to Chaudhry Nisar.
The poor performance of the government, whether on the economic front (lesser tax revenue receipts this fiscal than the last; a first in our history) or health (the dengue situation metastasizing into a full-on crisis) or even corruption (the KP information minister’s rag of a newspaper getting huge amounts of government ads) or other areas, are still palatable for a large number of the ruling party’s supporters. Truth be told, even the idea of piggybacking off the deep state into power was acceptable to this depoliticised lot. But having screamed themselves hoarse over the fairness of the elections, these newer sets of periodic revelations would really be a bitter pill to swallow.