US withdrawal from Afghanistan is not a peace move; the way various factions are mapped and placed means a prolonged conflict to keep AFPAK destabalised.
USA will make selective use of its long-arm, keeping Pakistan engaged in hybrid zone of neither friend nor foe and work against a CPEC that confines Pakistan’s role to that of Egypt in Suez Canal.
In order to limit Pakistan’s outreach and independence, Pakistan is being trapped into a steep downward curve of bad governance spearheaded by 18th amendment and economic hitmen; some operating on behest of outside state and non-state actors and others for greed, loot and plunder.
The new generation of Jinnah’s Khotay Sikkay (political turncoats) is alive and kicking.
In the past three decades, they have wrested control of consumer markets like dairies, poultry, livestock, food grains and sugar. They control market elasticity and the government seems helpless. Some also control policies within the government and threaten with forty odd numbers. Worst the advisors and core of Prime Minister’s team continues to falter, pushing an otherwise honest and well-meaning prime minister into a corner.
Though violence in Afghanistan is usual, there is a surge of hostile activities in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. As indicated by deployments, hostile presence in Tora Bora range controlled by Da’esh, Al Qaida, ISIS and TTP indicate difficult times for Pakistan. The drumbeats of violence and low intensity conflict are getting louder.
Like their presence in Waziristan, post 9/11 till conclusion of Zarb e Azb, Afghan Taliban will play double game by turning a blind eye to the potpourri of Da’esh, ISIS and TTP.
Terrorists of Baloch separatist will keep debouching from Kandahar Region creating trouble in Balochistan and parts of Sindh. As a consequence, Pakistan’s defensive posture will be forced to wheel to the West giving India more freedom of action in IOK and working boundary. Recent escalation at Samba was a tester and warning shot. Pakistan has to hold back its friendship hand towards India.
Despite this danger and the recognisable threats, in Pakistan, it is business as usual. The country has yet to awaken to the impending realities.
In western strategic appraisals, a steep downward trajectory in governance could result in lack of control and complete anarchy.
The chequerboard is ready in all its forms and manifestations whose ultimate objective is outside intervention.
The recent EU initiative in support of France is a mere show of cards. More stringent conditions could follow, that could melt Pakistan’s non sustainable economy on the turn of a switch.
Just like the wage of sin is death, relying on IMF will haunt Pakistan in days to come. If the pyre rekindles, a new social contract may be the only option to stabilise politics.
Imperialist capitalism is exercising its vectors of direct control (SBP, IMF, WB, FATF, and WTO et al) leaving no options for thehapless masses, scourged by political market forces that have joined hands with the transnational system.
As Pakistan stabilises its major economic indices, these are but figures that can be swarmed any moment by circular debts, rising poverty, inflation, consumer prices and bad governance.
Corrupt cartels and cabals are busy squeezing their grip on a government paradoxically committed to anti-corruption while being unable to differentiate friend from foe.
It appears that the closest advisors, movers & shakers render inadequate options to address the difficulties of the common man. Majority amongst them have conflict of interests.
The PTI government is isolated from its diehard party cadres who in private express dissatisfaction. The party’s think tanks have no say in governance while those in power turn deaf ears. There has been no meeting of the party’s CEC since it came to power, rendering it redundant and as hapless as the people of the country.
The diametrically opposite approach of the new finance minister is a charge sheet on the past three years of economic performance. Though the media hype puts more blame on the government than the many positives it deserves, it is evident that Graduated Anarchy is being orchestrated from within and outside.
The dangerous road to destruction has been carved and no one seems to care amongst the government, political parties, judiciary, media, NGOs and religious elements. The quest to eliminate each other is like a Royal Rumble with everyone at each other’s throat.
Oblivious to the scenario painted above, every political party is busy in make-break strategy; how to topple Punjab, how to pass a vote of no confidence or how to exploit the gang of forty odd politicians of opportunity (a relic of Republican Party tradition) to down the tenacious Imran Khan. They are least bothered by the larger national interests as long as they extract a pound of Imran Khan’s flesh. There are wheels within wheels within wheels.
No one knows who calls the shots; a so called independent judiciary whose decisions largely favour one political party, elements within bureaucracy, the government or the so called establishment?
In the past three years, Pakistan could have availed fleeting opportunities, but for the insulated character of the economic advisory team. Nothing has been done to agitate Pakistan’s biggest engine of GDP: Agriculture. Those placed at helm are traditionally exploiters of the system. CPEC has not transformed into an economic boon. Consumer markets controlled by political mafia are out of control. Circular debt in energy sector is a time bomb.
Whatever the case, the present government is under multi directional siege and forced to feel vulnerable. In power politics, vulnerability breeds instability, lack of cognition and hasty decision making. When everything becomes ashes, what remains are losers.
With a floating invisible threat looming on the western border, it is time to devote concerted efforts towards grassroots economic stability, preclude political instability and give pause to the armed and civil armed forces to focus on future threats and devise plans.
Cartels and cabals, left unchecked will scuttle the best efforts towards equilibrium and judiciary will keep giving relief to plunderers of the country. Hence notwithstanding the ultimate result of this confrontation, the next pit stop is constitutional reforms through an absolute majority.
Unfortunately, as events indicate, the varying factions have drawn their swords openly and friends have stilettos up their sleeves, while the voices of sanity and reason rot in dungeons. If no decisive and positive actions are taken, Pakistan may follow an extremely unstable course. That will be a very dangerous day.
By the time the rumble ends, Pakistan would have lost three decades. Then who will gather the remains of the day and start carving a new destiny?
Therefore, I would still bet on honest leadership at the helm, with elasticity to reverse bad decisions and inclusivity of party cadres for positive decision making. This is the only way out. All others will lead to unending instability.