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Is Pakistan heading for an Army takeover?

By Dr. Farrukh Saleem

ISLAMABAD: Altaf Hussain, the founder-leader of Pakistan’s third largest and Sindh’s second largest political party, has concluded that the government has failed and that the Army should intervene. ANP, the largest political party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the government’s coalition partner at the Centre, wants the “Army deployed for a month to de-weaponise Karachi”.

President Asif Ali Zardari is a rational political player. Every move that the PPP government makes is premeditated, studied and calculated to achieve an advantage over his political, judicial and military contenders. In 2010, Nawaz Sharif allied with Asif Zardari fearing that a PPP-PML clash will give the establishment an upper hand. The same year, the establishment did not want to bring Zardari down fearing that the PML-N will get an upper hand.

Over the past year, the president’s rather crafty manoeuvring has completely isolated Nawaz Sharif, the president of his own faction of PML. On the judicial front, the PPP’s defiance, disregard and confrontation is based on the assumption that the court of public opinion is seriously divided. And also that a head-on clash with the judiciary will not only solidify PPP’s vote bank but may even win PPP additional sympathy votes.

The establishment, in PPP’s calculation, is too deeply embroiled in Af-Pak, US-Pak, TTP-Pak, Orakzai, Kurram and a handful of other fronts and thus dare not open up another front. The PPP’s brawl with the judiciary is based on rational political behaviour. The PPP’s assumption on the establishment’s appetite for additional fronts is also based on reason and logic. In this high-stake game of power, each player is acting rationally based on all available information and the success of one player depends on the choices of other players in the game.

In economics — as well as in politics there is ‘information asymmetry’. PPP’s postulation that the court of public opinion is split may prove wrong if and when push comes to shove. Additionally, Pakistan’s unique history stands witness that a dysfunctional civilian government in-tandem with deteriorating law and order had been sufficient conditions for military intervention.

Are we heading for a military takeover? In logic, “necessity and sufficiency refer to an implicational relationship”. In the current context, a dysfunctional civilian government, a deteriorating law and order situation and a worsening economy are necessary conditions for a military takeover.

But a dysfunctional civilian government, a deteriorating law and order situation and a worsening economy may or may not be sufficient conditions for a military takeover. In all likelihood we have already reached “necessity” and are heading towards ‘sufficiency’.

Regime change ought to be a political process neither a judicial nor a military one. Unfortunate are countries where it becomes a judicial or a military process.

Source: The News

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