Army, elections and stability.

The readers' feedback on my article 'Polarised, poisoned and problematic' last week was overwhelming. Political signaling is mixed and confused with PTI and PDM following an on/off approach to dialogue and rapprochement. The Military, badly bruised and stung by the continued tirade against its leadership, is on the defensive and justifiably angry, dismayed and offended. And in a situation where the 'umpire' is compromised and/or unwilling to assert, a way forward for political stability is next to impossible. In our 'patronage-addicted' political culture, it is the Military that intervenes, intercedes and negotiates continuation of the 'System'. This may be to the chagrin of supporters of 'Military-out Approach', but this sadly remains the undeniable ground reality.

In the absence of Military's visible and not very visible interlocution, the political actors are entrenched in their old ways, playing silly games of politics with smallness and pettiness prominently at display. While the country is tanking down, especially its economy. And all the muck for any acts of omissions and commission by the PDM government is thrown at the Military's doorstep, in addition to the ubiquitous accusations and filibustering by Imran Khan. In a sinister scheme, it suits the PTI-PDM combine to pressurise and humiliate the Military. For PDM, this ensures Military's hands-off neutrality and apolitical position or pliant posture, allowing PDM to play political games and run affairs of the state as it deems fit. And for PTI sustained anti-army tirade keeps Imranism politically alive. Consequently, every Tom, Dick and Harry takes pot shots at the Military and its leadership for any real or perceived grievances and inadequacies, and interestingly gets away with it.

The PTI cabal exhibits duplicitous contradictions. Publicly urging the Military to remain apolitical, it solicits change of posture by the Army's new leadership to intercede with the PDM and get an election date. While the PDM, after effectively containing the PTI's May 25, 2022 rally, under the no-quarters-given policy of Ustad Sanaullah, erroneously thinks, it can deal with Imranism, and the polarising sentiment in the country, that is on the rise.

Taking over reins of the country at a crucial juncture last year in an engineered vote of no confidence, and under sloganeering that continuation of Imran regime then was inimical to the national economy, PDM's own year-long performance is sub-par and...

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