Muhammad Arif : Chairman Centre of Advisory Services for Islamic Banking and Finance (CAIF), Former Head of FSCD SBP, Former Head of Research ArifHabib Investments and Member IFSB Task Force for development of Islamic Money Market, Former Member of Access to Justice Fund Supreme Court of Pakistan

Political and economic environment of Pakistan has become so alarming that everybody is saying “Allah Khair Kare”

In USA Joe Biden of Democratic Party has won with Senator Kamala Harris (Indian origin) as his vice president. Some analysts are thinking it better for Pakistan whereas others are terming it as no change for Pakistan. For the reality we have to look in to the history of Pakistan.

For its 74 years history it has remained under US influence. During all Military dictators Pakistan became part of SEATO and Cento during Ayub Khan; it fought war in Afghanistan under US forces against Russia in Ziaul Haq time. In Muharraf time he handed over to the USA physical basis in Pakistan. USA developed TNT (Taliban forces) in Afghanistan and Pakistan that killed lot of people in Pakistan. From 2008 to 2013 TNT was shattered by the Military action of Pakistan but now they have been again reuniting with lot of explosions and killings of our brave soldiers and children. Now in 2020-21, Pakistan is trying to go along with China with its CPEC project and investments. This is creating a rift between USA and Indian alliance with Pakistan on CPEC. So Biden entry as US president would make no difference for Pakistan as for their Afghanistan evacuation and closure of CPEC they would put their maximum pressure on Pakistan.

On political scene PTI and PML N (Now part of PDM) have to decide that how to counter these pressures. Since in Pakistan it is presumed that every government can remain in Islamabad if it has got the US support. So now the turning point is coming on and would reveal its decision within next four months.

In Pakistan with this back ground non issues are turning as main issues like On Abhi Nandan Issue a fighter pilot of Indian Air Force who was shot down and later handed over to Indian government has become an issue and it is being said that Ayaz Sadiq statement on this issue has created embarrassment for Pakistan. This is the position of PTI backed by establishment.

On another issue Anterior Minister of Pakistan Brigadier Shah has said “When the ANP assumed power and began acting against terrorism, the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan and Afghanistan killed the Bilours and the son of Iftikhar [Hussain],” he told a gathering. “This was a reaction,” he added. “Now I pray for the people who are supporting the narrative of [Pakistan Muslim League] Nawaz that Allah may protect them because I feel that they are vulnerable.”By this he indicated that another Taliban like movement can hurt PML N, ANP and JUI.

Shah, a former brigadier general and spy chief, is a controversial figure. In 2004, Australia’s Foreign Affairs Department reportedly refused to accept him as the Pakistani envoy. Leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party, another opposition group, have alleged their late leader, Benazir Bhutto, demanded Shah be investigated if she was killed. Bhutto was killed in December 2007, but Shah was never formally charged.

These unwanted statements and unwanted reactions have brought the establishment in to a fix. On one side a narrative is going on against them but on the other hand PTI is supporting in such a way as if PML N is correct. So both sides are hurting establishment.

In 2013 main political parties in Pakistan were celebrating a dawn of democratic continuity then are now admitting how wrong they were for partying prematurely. The few inches of democratic space gained through consistent politicking by the leading political actors is lost due to perennial “democratic” squabbling. It is easy to blame the “undemocratic” forces than accepting internal hemorrhaging caused by the lack of will to deliver, failure to fulfill campaign promises, putting personal gains before national priorities and expecting the long-standing rifts between state institutions to evaporate without seriously attempting to resolve differences through application of national spirit.

Things are not getting better even in 2020-21. Hopes of a politically united Pakistan are dissipating fast.

If delivery on promises is the benchmark in 2018, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) may find it difficult to hold on to its present numbers.

Main Problems, however, remains in Punjab. Political machinations and institutional interplay spanning over three decades have reduced the province into a playground for one political party – Pakistan Muslim League. It ruled with impunity when it could and when at times ultra-political developments took away power from the core group, the remaining party metamorphosed into factions sharing the brand name. These days the core group is PML-N is in trouble and in opposition.

Historically, the party played with the Army, conveniently called the establishment. But then Nawaz became the problem by becoming the “opposition”. Thrown out of power thrice for locking horns with the “powerful”, he is now facing court cases after being disqualified for life by the country’s apex court for actually not being very “Sharif”.

To many observers, Nawaz factor has now been satisfactorily controlled. But what to do with his party now a part of PDM an 11 party alliance. Those claiming that Punjab historically swings with the power wind may have a point. But what if many refuse to swing this time after PDM creates some waves in the political scenario.

But logically, why would a party that does not possess inherent ability to win on its own, be helped at all? Also if every Tom, Dick and Harry is so intelligent to know what the “helpers” are actually planning and would deliver, how intelligent the “planners” are? Is it possible that the plan of the “planners” is exactly the opposite since the prized prize – Nawaz’ ouster – has already been secured? Why award the trophy to a player who was too limp to win on his own?

Whatever is the result the defenders of Pakistan – societal, financial, political and martial — must work together to let the best player come in to power. But for the best player to win, the best player must be allowed to play on an even playing field. The feeling is that the playing field is seriously tampered with. That would not be good for the country and its people. In the murky political game of bloated egos and misplaced choices, Pakistan must not lose this time as its survival has mostly remained as part of miracles.

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