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The best of times, the worst of times

In a somewhat surprisingly iconic contrast, the dawn of today has brought within its core the gasps the rattling dangers. The winter is drawing near but things are heating up globally with the significant and most brutal resurgence of regionalism.

Methods of conventional politics and warfare are returning with modernized tools and arms. This ‘war at a distance’ has seemingly made a replica of itself in domestic political landscape for Pakistan in relatively traumatic turns of strokes.

 Pakistani politics remained at the height of temperature during last 2 weeks and cooled down as soon as Imran Khan withdrew his Islamabad lockdown call.

 Now, when the dust has finally settled, it is becoming more and more clear as to where the new parameters of maneuvering and treacherous art of political warfare is going to draw the functional structure of our society.

It feels immensely painful to observe that the lessons learnt from the wail of Dharna-plus are by all means counterproductive for Pakistan in general and PTI in particular.

In an increasingly similar pattern resonating with international political security and economic dimensions, Pakistan’s politics is taking an adventurous turn to the politics of the past.

Imran Khan places himself at a point of most astonishingly startling contradiction in terms of his personality for he possesses the traits of self-righteousness which was once recognized as the identity of Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s movement on one side, and the dogged stubbornness of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman on the other.

Imran Khan has time and again shown great tendency of being able to become a violent and agitated leader whose volatile temperament can prove disastrously devastating for already fragile and vulnerable state of our affairs.

His calls and shouts for the ‘showstoppers’ to step-in and rollback the entire democratic framework could have recast the same spell which Asghar khan and fellows had cast back in the day: when the boots landed on ground under a promise of 90 days but left the stage only after the unfortunate Bahawalpur crash.

Sensing the impossibilities in action of this plan, given the strong stance of military establishment, the PTI leadership moved towards the deadliest turn. The Mujib’s anguish naked aggression was once again felt during the campaign and rallies of the party.

 While the Imran’s personal statements and usual you-turns instilled further insensitivity within its support on ground on one hand, the Chief Minister Khattak has stepped up on separatist lines of action. Naming this movement as “anti-Punjabi” and later “anti-federal”by personally taking part in his official capacity in the fight brought the state setup dangerously close to final collapse when he threw the provincial authorities of KPK to fight those from Punjab.

The office bearers should know that the statecraft is not like running Muhalla-committee,where a Chief Minister cannot possibly send ultimatums or lists of demands to foreign states and threats to refuse and deny their entry in his province upon non-acceptance of the same at his own will, in total violation of novel concepts of democratic diplomacy, territorial and political sovereignty, and Westphalian principles of international interaction.

A public office holder as high as a Chief Minister can never be expected to steer state machinery of his province in defiance of Federation that the interior secretary should feel the need to warn that if effective steps are not taken to prevent this institutional clash “it shall amount to a violation of constitutional obligation of the Provincial government for which it shall be held responsible”.

Even if we try to justify his conscious and active propagation of “Pakhtoon” sentiment on 31st and Sheikh Rashid’s statement at the doors of the Supreme Court on 1st November, the slogans (Le k rahengyAzaadi) that PTI workers chanted during Khattak’s procession in the afternoon has rung bells of the many in intellectual realms.

The temperament and attitude that the PTI cabinet is realizing to emerge is more of a blind secessionist than a rational nationalist. This brought us back to square one, to the onset of 1970 and onwards. Federal government’s patterns of behavior were no less than of an average dictatorial autocracy. Government’s brute administrative force, public’s ruthless and unguided enthusiasm, media’s reckless sensationalism and Imran Khan’s insatiable hunger of power- the recipe of catastrophes ready.

Although the consent on to-be-framed TORs in a delayed move prevented the things from going further worse, the precedents set by Imran khan and Khattakstill pose a greater danger lurking beneath this settlement. The fight for power and the game of cards is driven and pulled at a safe distance from the public which continues to remain exposed to suffer its brunt, while the players roam around the capitals in their concert of politics. History shall judge the right ones out and November shall witness the test of time.

In Dicken’s words, “the choices we make today shall bring upon us springs of hope or the winters of despair. It is the season of light; it is the season of darkness. It is the age of wisdom; it was the age of foolishness. It is the best of times; it was the worst of times.”

Blogger | Malik Abdur Rehman