Pakistan is faced with a multidimensional crisis not easily comprehended. The failure of the Nawaz Government to properly govern the country is beyond doubt now. The Nawaz Government greatest fault is poor governance which is now the norm and not the exception in Pakistan. Poor service delivery has alienated the masses as never before. Pak Army Chief is more popular than ever. Civilian space is being restricted by the day.
Nawaz Government performance being dismal, the Army Chief’s power is largely by default. Notwithstanding Nawaz Government claims, the overall performance is pathetic, to say the least. Much was expected from the PMLN but disappointment reigns. Instead of proper planning and bold action against terrorism, delay and procrastination became the style of governance in the Nawaz Government. Again, notwithstanding tall claims made by the Nawaz Government, the civilian leadership was both clueless and without any vision on how to tackle the various challenges confronting Pakistan.
The Nawaz Government was focused on infrastructure development only. Nothing wrong with that but a balanced approach was missing. Meanwhile, the masses suffered as economic growth wasn’t trickling down to them, as expected. Maybe the time lag was a factor but the poor of the country cannot wait long. Desperation and alienation has set in the general public as only a tiny segment of the population prospered. General Raheel Sharif, the Army Chief, moved gradually and surely to gain influence in Pakistan. The mandate of the military was extended from security to ending corruption also. Thus, the NAB, the federal anti-corruption agency, has started functioning now. The Rangers successfully cleaned up the criminal-political-mafia-terror nexus in Karachi.
The once hapless people of Karachi have felt joy at the turn of events in the city. The Military’s encroachment of civilian ruling space continues to expand unabatedly. The most powerful man in Pakistan wasn’t the prime minister but the Army chief. General Raheel Sharif is deadly honest and means business. He is bent on cleaning the country of corruption and also terrorism. General Raheel Sharif was also perhaps the most popular man in Pakistan today. However, the greatest challenge remains. Pakistan was faced with an existential challenge of terrorism, extremism, corruption and outright criminality. It isn’t going to be easy to clean up the mess that is Pakistan now. Past military actions had also contributed to this poor state of affairs. Everyone shares blame in the creation of the mess that is Pakistan today. Terrorism can only be eliminated through a comprehensive strategy in which all are on board. It requires commitment, patience and resolve. Finally, the Army chief has taken command of the situation and the nation supports him as there is seemingly no alternate to this state of affairs. Meanwhile the Nawaz Government is becoming defensive and is clearly unnerved by the sudden turn of events in the country. The greatest challenge for General Raheel Sharif remains to clear the mess, however.
The military cannot do it alone and neither can the elected Nawaz Government. A new dispensation will be worked out with General Raheel Sharif clearly in command and the Nawaz Government following his directives. The chances of a coup d’état is zero. Given the situation in Pakistan and the region, a military takeover would prove catastrophic and therefore cannot be imagined. Most importantly, the military brass realizes that a military rule is also no solution to Pakistan’s complex and myriad problems. Maybe, a new version of Controlled Democracy is in the making. Desperate circumstances required new out of the box thinking. Emergency rule of a strongman (read Army Chef) maybe required for a year or so to clean up the mess.