December 8, 2023

By By Sher Muhammad Awan

Pakistan is a country with a volatile political environment where a burning topic emerges and becomes a part of hot debate hot in public circles. Mainstream media spreads the narrative that the influential circles of the country and the government deliberately open a new Pandora box to divert the public attention away from the issues related economy and governance. The news debate on electronic and social media keep swallowing up the time and space necessary debate on a particular issue. It is as if a new pit is dug to fill the old one so that the people forget the existing one and start debating to resolve the new one.

Even after three years, the present regime has failed to meet the demands of public welfare and national development, despite the full support of establishment. The one-page slogan, being a party to the extension and many other such steps were enough to give the impression that the government would not take any action, from a simple posting to foreign and economic affairs, without the advice and facilitation of the military establishment. But few days ago, the Prime Minister Imran Khan suddenly raised the flag of Civil Supremacy and told the Cabinet that “if the Chief of Army Staff is honoured, then the Prime Minister should be honoured too”. This astonished every one not only the Khan’s own cabinet and those who ridicule the “One Page ” phenomena. On the other hand, the noise of “notification” in the media also faded out the outcry on inflation and a sinking economy.

This time, however, if the public or the critics assume it as an attempt to change the public debate, their analysis is absolutely wrong. Even if this issue is resolved later, it will still carry the fumes of its implications in the political sphere. Since the opposition is keen to take advantage of such opportunities, the Prime Minister does not have enough political support. People standing by the ruling party can withdraw at any time. Surprisingly, even the critics of civil supremacy seem to object. According to them, after three years of “yes sir”, the Prime Minister took a stand where it was not needed. And so the turmoil created by political stunts will further complicate the socio-political affairs.

The Prime Minister himself is facing a difficult situation. If he surrenders now and approves the name on which this whole storm is raging, he will face more defeat as well as future interference in decision making. If he persists, political activists may forget about inflation and side with him, but the deal will be costly. If you look back a few years, the incumbent Prime Minister was reprimanded and forced to withdraw a tweet, and looking at the situation five years later, the Prime Minister practically has no significant options open. If the PM’s chair is tampered with, it remains to be seen whether he will retain his government in spite of a sluggish and deteriorating economy, uncontrollable inflation, rising debts and faltering allies, or will he dissolve the assemblies to become the “Imran Khan of 2009 ” again.

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