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Political instability in Pakistan could refer to segmentation among the ruling institutions
The arrest order issued by the Pakistan's Supreme Court appears to hint at the possible segmentation among the various constituents of the government. The US appears to be the common player and the biggest stakeholder.

THE SUPREME Court of Pakistan on Tuesday, 15 January 2013, ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on corruption charges dating three years back when he was the Water Supply Minister. In a related incident on the same day a Pakistani Canadian chief of Tehrik-i-Minhajul Quran, Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri, led thousands of demonstrators in Islamabad demanding dissolution of national and provincial governments. He said that corruption has plagued Pakistani society so much so that the country requires Jasmine Revolution of its own kind.

Mr. Ashraf became the Prime Minster when his predecessor Yousuf Raza Gilani, who refused to open anti-graft cases against the President Asif Ali Zardari, was fired by the highest judiciary. Even though Mr. Ashraf has sent a request to Swiss authorities to investigate charges against Mr. Zardari, the Swiss authorities have refused to open the case as Mr. Zardari enjoys immunity under Pakistani law. If the government sources are to be believed Mr. Ashraf also enjoys immunity against prosecution under the present executive laws of Pakistan.

Anyway, even if Mr. Ashraf is prosecuted this is no way for Pakistan’s Supreme Court to deal with its Prime Minister. It is alleged that all-powerful Pakistani defense establishment is behind the activism of the Supreme Court as it does not like the coalition government to complete its full term, which ends in mid March. Also, the firebrand Mr. Qadri is supposed to be close to Pakistani military and judicial establishment. But all may go wrong as there could be a possibility for segmentation among the various arms of the government.

Segmentation among the political executives, the judiciary and the military with media helping them come to negotiation table to solidify rules for Pakistan? Impossible, till the US is involved! The Federal government appears to be a common player and the biggest stakeholder in the whole game. But why should the US play such a dirty game? Because the dreaded al-Qaeda terrorist Osama Bin Laden was found in Pakistan near Islamabad. This could not have been possible without the connivance of Pakistani authorities, both civilian and military.

A look-alike of Bin Laden should have been put inside that complex in around middle half of the George Bush’s  presidency to check whether the CIA and the Pentagon know it or not. Bush should have got to know immediately about the incident but he did not do anything. In 2007, the then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf proposed the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) to pardon former politicians and bureaucrats from corruption charges and allow them to contest the elections. The then Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chief and the slain wife of incumbent President Mr. Zardari, Ms. Benazir Bhutto,  was facing graft charges and was living in-exile in the Great Britain. She contested and both Mr. Bush and Mr. Musharraf might have known that she would be assassinated and that is what happened.

The PPP won the election and Mr. Zardari became first the Prime Minister and later the President of Pakistan. As a step to avenge his believed assumption, which is completely erroneous if one looks at the video of assassination of Ms. Bhutto, that CIA was behind the whole episode, Mr. Zardari should have allowed the real Bin Laden to come to that complex in Attobabad. Mr. Bush should have got to know even that but left Laden to be killed during Mr. Obama’s Presidency. The rest is history.

Therefore, there is a pressure on Pakistani government to listen to the US. But this is nationalistic era almost all over the globe and in view of ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Af-Pak border, the Pakistan could not be forced to live like a punished state. But it is tailoring the evolution of Pakistan. Therefore, the US is constantly pressurizing the government though Pakistani judiciary to listen to its demands and be accommodative towards its interests. As such by no known laws can military, executives, judiciary and Mr. Qadri come together and this is the most important point.

Military would like to delay the elections but it would not insist upon. Instead it would carve out a higher stake in the future political evolution of Islamabad; a lesser role in public eye with certain dilution of power but in reality the actual say of the military in the matters that matter most would increase. Pakistani Supreme Court would not even imagine to oust and to sentence Mr. Zardari unless the US authorities prove to it that doing the relevant would clear out Pakistan of Bin Laden mess. In all likelihood, the US authorities would never insist that. The opposition would like election in time but even it would not insist upon holding the elections in time.

The interest of the PPP in the whole episode is getting rid of corruption charges and clearing Mr. Zardari and Pakistan of the Bin Laden mess. Muslim League Nawaz Sharif faction would support it because of it believing that the US may favor it as the next governing party in a coalition. Military would support it again because of getting rid of the whole episode and increased say in Pakistani governance. The Supreme Court would do it because of avoiding American predation and to establish the rule of law as per the agreed and segmented executive laws.

Mr. Qadri would do it to secure a political future and project himself as a savior of Pakistani people. The US would induce these events so as to establish permanent dominance of itself in the region, stabilizing Pakistan, and continue its anti-terror operations in the region. It could also support Mr. Sharif believing that Anglicized, Westernized Right is as viable political tool as the Centrist forces are to contain fundamentalism and extremism in Pakistan.

If Mr. Ashraf is sacrificed then that should be considered last punishment by the Supreme Court. For the US Zardari’s exile could be severest punishment for him. If Mr. Ashraf is fired then a caretaker transitional government could be formed which can have a year-long tenure. Tensions with India were part of the great plan and India reacted in a manner that would favor hawkish forces in Pakistan. As of now India does not care as to who is the most dominant player in Pakistan. But one thing is certain that segmentation among the major players in Pakistan is a better option than letting the system evolve in its own way and believing in self-corrections. The fact is that positive hidden hands are almost absent in Pakistan.

The result would be a well established oligarchy where after meeting American concerns, various constituents would care for their betterment and future. If the opinion expressed in this article is correct then things should never be taken on face value in Pakistan as media would be part of the big deal. Taking into account the changing consciousness, the Pakistani public may get some reprieve. The vocal nationalism and sectarian conflicts both would increase simultaneously. The only way to contain Right is to inflate Right and control the elites; this may be the best US policy in Pakistan. But to fully implement this, paradoxically, Mr. Obama would have to partly embrace Republicanism.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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