The fool is a strong word so I will not use it but I will term those expecting Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to bring about a democratic revolution “naïve”.
It is not just the PDM that is on the verge of breaking up. The dreams of social media warriors and democracy advocates are also lying in tatters. There is little introspection about PDM itself, a movement that came into being only to protect the self-interests of the parties that constituted it.
A fundamental reason for PDM’s failure is the fact that it did not concentrate on the problems faced by its voters. Member parties were chiefly concerned with smoothing out the path ahead for them to grab power. Civilian supremacy and respect for the vote may benefit opposition parties, but for the common man, monumental problems remain his issues of having food on the table, basic amenities and a roof over the head. Embattled in trying to survive from one day to the next, the public took not much interest in the movement.
The second reason for PDM faltering along the way is that the status quo and hybrid regime they bash regularly has, at one point or another, benefitted them too. Their interest in changing this system is negligible or even nonexistent. It is no secret that contrary to their narratives and slogans, their anger was primarily directed at not being given yet another chance to rule in servitude to the powers that be. Neither is it a secret that the real demand was to abandon PTI and adopt them instead.
All the behind-the-scenes efforts to strike the proverbial deal seem to have paid off for one particular opposition party, and that perhaps is the bone of contention upon which the PDM is choking. The alleged green signal to Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has left Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) shocked and angry.
As for the government, its happiness over cracks inside the opposition alliance is baffling. PPP coming close to the establishment should ring alarm bells not just inside the PML-N but also in PTI. The former seems to think calling the PPP, the governments B-Team is an apt description. It is not. It is now a valid replacement. Or, that is what has been conveyed to the PPP, who may otherwise not have been pursuing such confident political moves.
The current political scenario and PPP’s attitude provide clues to the possibility that for the establishment, granting another five years to the incumbent might not be possible. A new recipe might be drafted with PPP, ANP and PML-Q as the main ingredients. With ANP’s reluctance to use the provincial card, PPP’s turnabout from resistance to reconciliation and PML-Q’s ever-present subservience, this goulash might not be difficult to concoct. A hung parliament that can be reined in whenever required may be in our future once again.
All of this is of course just speculation. PPP’s servitude can either mean it gets lucky or that it might be used and disposed of like Shehbaz Sharif was. Whoever may emerge victorious from this crisis, the advice I offer to social media warriors remains the same. Pursue the history of these political parties before pinning all your hopes on them.