Unlike the predecessor ‘ruling genre’ of the country, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) staggered through a variety of challenges. The coalition set-up, led by the PPP had inherited an entangled net of problems that worsened with the passage of time. Instead of approving an idiosyncratic stance, it had to bend down in front of the Supreme Court. After being obstinate for a while, it had to offer Yousaf Raza Gillani as a sacrifice. Everyone in Pakistan was relieved when the local newspapers emboldened headlines stating that ‘the letter has finally been written!’ The government had done little, during 2012, to shield the country against extremism and to ward off sectarian strife. Inefficacy of the incumbent government will have a direct impact on any party that wants to take charge of Pakistan after the general elections of 2013.
The year 2013 heralds a democratic evolution for a nation that has long been viewing the soap opera of interchangeable civilian and authoritarian rule. However, the positive scale of this transition isn’t a lengthy one. Here are a few bullets:
- With some important ‘chiefs’ leaving the offices during 2013, Pakistan would shift, to some extent, on the domestic and international forefront. Keeping in view the nations’ anti-Western approach in the wake of anti-Islam film and memo-gate scandal, it would support a nationalist Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) in place of General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani (who will leave the office in 2013). A nationalist COAS might be in favour of isolation to achieve self-reliance.
- The implications of this, combined with the depleting foreign reserves and increased dependence on International Monetary Fund will complicate the process of ‘economic recovery’.
- Withdrawal of NATO from Afghanistan by 2014, will have to start during 2013. A predicted outcome of the withdrawal is civil war in Afghanistan. Non-state actors in Pakistan and Tehreek-e-Taliban will be directly involved in case of any civil war in Afghanistan.
- The recent statement by the Punjab- spokesman of Taliban, Asmat Muawiya depicts that Taliban will be affecting the electoral turnout for the general elections 2013.
- The notorious extremists aren’t ready to settle with Pakistan until and unless their demands of reorienting the foreign policy and the constitution of the country, in accordance with Islamic principles, is fulfilled. Taliban also have grievances against the secular-minded PPP, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and ANP (Awami National Party). However, they aren’t annoyed with Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI).
- A latest addition to the political saga is Tahir ul Qadri with his slogan of ‘save the nation, not the politics’. With the elections looming around, Qadri wants electoral reforms ensuring free, fair and transparent elections in the country. He wants a care taker set-up conforming with his proposal. The MQM has already declared its support for Qadri’s objective and Imran Khan has stated that it is close to PTI’s manifesto. If the MQM, PTI and Qadri alliance works well, the results of the elections can be altogether different. The latest announcement informs about a ‘long march’ by the supporters of Qadri, which he claims, will form the largest ‘Tahrir Square’ of the world on January 14, 2013.
The year ahead that won’t be easy for Pakistan, would circumvent around these six points.