Today Pakistan’s ruling party Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf (PTI) is holding a large public meeting of supports in Islamabad, the nations capital, days before the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) holding a similar rally at a different spot.
The objective of the two rallies is to demonstrate support of the masses to the ruling party and the Prime Minister Imran Khan and the opposition against him respectively.
At this moment Pakistan polity is at a cusp with the PTI facing a No Confidence Motion that has been delayed in presenting in the National Assembly on March 25th but cannot be delayed any more than another week to 10 days being a constitutional requirement.]
Predicting political events in Pakistan is hazardous given the multiple moving pieces and the variables that are attached to the same particularly which way the Pakistan Army is weighing and how the cookie for Khan will crumble will be difficult to guess. A better option is to weigh in on the scenarios ahead.
The first of course is of Mr. Khan’s survival in office which may political pundits in that country and beyond have predicted will be very difficult given the forces that are ranged against him, including possibly the Pakistan Army.
The Army which supported the PTI with the government touted as a hybrid model is unhappy with the Prime Minister for favouring one of its own senior officers Lt Gen Faiz Hameed for continuance as the ISI Chief in November. Possibly the prime minister crossed a red line.
The other scenario is of the PM announcing his resignation and allowing one from his own party to take office either Shah Mahmood Qureshi the former minister or Pervez Khattak both of whom will be acceptable to the Army.
This may be the best course for the PTI setting off the party on a possible winning course for the next general elections. This is what some observers in Pakistan are calling Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Trump Card.
The Minus One formula that is acceptable to the allies of the PTI as MQM P is an option that may be adopted with announcement of early elections.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said on March 26 said that he had advised Prime Minister Imran Khan to call elections as per the Dawn News.
"I'm asking for early elections after presenting a good budget because this incompetent opposition has allowed us to win again," Rashid said. "When the Pakistani nation sees their (opposition leaders) faces, they switch channels," he claimed.
Much will depend on the Pakistan Elections Commission as the PTI has already burnt its boat with the ECP with the commission looking at foreign funding trail of the Party.
In case the opposition succeeds in the No Confidence Motion is the option of forming a government by the likes of the PML N President Shahbaz Sharif but one that will have to undertake unpopular decisions on the economic front with the IMF breathing down the neck so to say. This will have a heavy anti incumbency factor going into the National Assembly and the Provincial Assembly elections next year.
Another option is a national government – some thing that Mr. Shahbaz Sharif has talked about which could also be a technocratic which Pakistan is not a stranger too.
What ever be the option the political scenario in Pakistan is fraught with risks ahead till fresh elections are held and in case they are perceived to be free and fair, there will be some hop of stability.