So some of you may have heard about the anti-regime protests going on in Pakistan. Like everything, it is complex.
The PTI Government has been a disaster by objective metrics of the economy, foreign policy, federation, legislation and freedom of expression. While PTI inherited an artificially propped up and internally hollowed out economy from another GHQ-right wing party, the PML N, it did itself no favors.
Imran Khan’s tall claims are reduced to mockery memes. He has proven to be even more incapable and inept than his worst critics had envisioned. He has also proven to be as petty and vindictive as Nawaz Sharif – another GHQ gestated stooge that Imran has currently replaced.
The main party behind the protests is JUI F – another recent favorite of the Establishment that needed to be cut down to size temporarily. But it has both party workers and a critical mass of madrasah students.
Indirectly supporting JUI F are PPP and ANP – two parties targeted and decimated by the establishment to give space to both PTI and PMLN.
Incidentally, PML N which is being “lionized” by Pakistani liberals as an “anti establishment” party has once proven to be a spineless dud, lead by the crony capitalist Sharif dynasty. None of the Sharif family have come up to support the anti-regime protests so far. They are too busy scraping for deals.
Peaceful protests, even by religio-political parties are not in and of themselves wrong. They should abide by the laws and not allow for any damage to property.
In 2014, after the PML N Punjab Government oversaw the Model Town massacre of PAT workers, it was perfectly legitimate for PAT to protest this atrocity. At that time, Pakistani liberals mocked and abused the largely peaceful protests (marred in the end by immature PTI fascists)
This time the liberals are divided among 2 right wing crony capitalist establishment parties – the PTI and PML N. As is the establishment itself.
Most probably, Nawaz Sharif will get some relief. Those talking about money changing hands (PTI) are living in a pipe dream as Nawaz Sharif not only has the backing of some (powerful) sections of the domestic establishment. He is the Riyadh-DC consensus candidate chosen for Pakistan and has had had nearly four decades to build up his base in the Punjab. Without any fetters as opposed to PPP which has faced brutal suppression from the Establishment via the judiciary.
Asif Zardari is not only being detained without a standing conviction – Nawaz Sharif has been convicted by his own preferred judiciary and Ziaist laws. Zardari is also suffering from worse health than Nawaz.
But it does not pay well to speak honestly in Pakistan and liberals being the compromised species that they are, know which side of the bread to butter – for their own bread benefits.
This protest is unlikely to yield much. It has predictably sent panic waves among PTI supporters whose DNA is not built on resistance or ideology – more on DJed events and fancy meal boxes. Like their former PML N establishment predecessors, PTI cannot survive without the establishment holding up their spine.
But their total collapse is unlikely to happen. Too much investment by one section of the establishment has been in favor of the PTI. That section is likely to EXTEND itself.
But this has weakened the selected PTI regime and exposed the hollowness of its fall claims even further. Down the road, it could lead to a cosmetic change to accommodate a more PML N friendly candidate like SMQ.
Many things could happen but the bandwidth of possibilities is still narrow and is limited to the range of how badly the PTI regime will be weakened. It never had the moral standing to form the government based on the pre and post poll rigging in its favor and against PPP.
But moral standing never really mattered to the PTI as opposed to grandstanding.