By: Rhapari

It had to happen. As the accountability noose was tightening around Shahbaz Sharif of TT infamy, the opposition parties alliance under the out-of-parliament (OUPs) Maulana and his other OUPs were desperate to act to save the TT man’s fate and also try and edge into the corridors of power. For the master of political intrigue, and now co-chairing a political party that he has reduced to a provincial party, opportunity presented itself to regain a foothold in Punjab. So the unholy alliance of thieves and brigands began its march on the capital to move a no-confidence motion on the elected prime minister.

However, because this band of desperados were repeatedly defeated in parliament, including in the Upper house where they have a majority, they moved to do what every traditional politician does when his hunger for power becomes ravenous – go to the Man on Horseback to borrow from Finer’s book title ‘The Man on Horseback: The Role of the Military in Politics’. 

Thus began claims by these political vultures of “neutrality” by the men on horseback when what they were really claiming was they now had their support against the legitimate elected government.  According to the Oxford dictionary, “neutrality” means “the state of not supporting or helping either side in a conflict, disagreement, etc.” However, in the context of a group trying to remove an elected prime minister through a vote of no-confidence and relying on the “neutrality” of the men on horseback effectively means that an organisation of the state would be withdrawing support for the civilian elected government of the state! So in that case there is no neutrality but tacit support for the no confidence move of the brigands. Worse still, the leadership of the PDM is not in parliament so the entire move is extra-parliamentary in nature even though the Maulana leader could not add his signature to the motion.

One doesn’t know what give and take may have occurred in meetings between the different stakeholders, but lets not get fooled by claims of “neutrality” because within the political dimension it is not neutrality that is in fact being claimed but an assumption of tacit support. Will that really be the case at the end of the day given the devious, byzantine nature of politics in Pakistan? Only the results will make it clear.