By Farrukh Saleem
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that the “Army neither intends to come to power nor will it come to power. The judiciary is independent and pro-democracy” adding that there is no “threat to democracy as the civilian government came to power after making numerous sacrifices and winning the 2008 elections.”
To be certain, PPP and PML-N are now both-for the sake of their own interests-’pro-status quo’ parties. PPP has many irons in the fire and PML-N knows that PPP’s worst enemy is PPP (so in the not too distant future PML would also get to fry its own fish). But, therein lies the ever-widening discord whereby voters are desperate for a change but their parties are not. Historically, a direct military intervention has always had the support of at least one major political party (plus Jamaat-i-Islami).
The Army, the judiciary and the media now appear to be on the road to becoming anti-status quo forces. In the past, the judiciary has always endorsed a direct military takeover based on the ‘doctrine of necessity’. This time around the judiciary is more of a wild card-a ‘card whose value can vary as determined by its holder’. In the past military interventions, the media had only been a minor actor but this time around it’s a high-impact player. From among the foreign stakeholders, the US is a major game changer-a player that defines or re-defines how the Pakistani game is to be played. The US, for the sake of safeguarding its own national interests, may also be on the road of becoming an anti-status quo force as the civilian government has failed to deliver stability, the principal prerequisite to fight terrorism.
From among the foreign stakeholders, Saudi Arabia seems to be getting on to the anti-status quo bandwagon while Chinese influence in the Pakistani arena has been marginalized because of an overwhelming American Af-Pak footprint.
The question that has answers hidden within is whether the current state of affairs is sustainable. Remember, sustainability and change are twinborn, produced in the same pregnancy—one heart must hold both siblings never seen apart.
Pakistan’s HQ for Contingency Planning & Management is the GHQ where they are always working on not one but a dozen different plans. Lo and behold, Imran Khan could be part of one such plan just like many others could be part of other plans. Would it be a technocracy, meritocracy, autocracy, ethnocracy, cyberocracy, gerontocracy, logocracy, megocracy, geniocracy, noocracy, theodemocracy or timocracy? Is Pakistan heading for a change? Listen to grasshoppers, as Arundhati Roy would say, because that’s the species that changes colour prior to a change. Listen to Governor Ghani, for instance.