Third Umpire Takes Guard as Imran – Nawaz Match Enters Slog Overs

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Applying the analogy of cricket to electoral democracy, in a democratic state, the people are the first umpire, the parliament the leg umpire, but there is no third umpire. However Pakistan’s former cricket captain and head of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has alluded to a third power or third umpire in Pakistan’s democratic confabulations.

Speaking to the media on 23 October ahead of plans for a lock down of the national capital on November 2 by his Party, Imran Khan alluded that, “We [PTI] are not doing this to bring in a ‘third power’.” He claimed that in case the, “third power intervenes,” it will be the responsibility of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Imran and PTI aim to seek the resignation of the Prime Minister and not let the government function.

Imran claimed that Prime Minister Sharif was running down the Pakistan Army. He also referred to the requirement of help from the military stating, “We might also need the army for the ‘Motu gang’ [Nawaz and his supporters]” Motu gang is an allusion to Chhotu gang, a notorious criminal group in Punjab which was neutralised by the Army recently.

The threat of the ‘third power’ stepping in the country which is an allusion to the Army  is not new and is being held to put fear in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz or PML-N that in case it carries out any excesses against the PTI workers with the Punjab Police, the Army which has been at dagger’s drawn with the Nawaz Sharif government will  be forced to step in and seek the resignation of the Prime Minister over the Panama gate scam that has rocked the country.

While the main opposition party Pakistan People’s Party is not supporting Imran’s March, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri has extended support. “I have categorically accepted Imran Khan’s invite to take part in the sit-in,” Qadri was quoted as saying by DawnNews. “I have informed Khurram Nawaz Gandapur about my decision, now the party representatives will meet and discuss the plan of action,” said Qadri. PAT had distanced itself from the PTI’s Raiwind march in September but is likely to join in the November 2 lock down in Karachi.

Khan also attempted to involve India claiming that Nawaz Sharif had called for assistance from New Delhi and this was the reason there was an increase in firing on the Line of Control (LOC). He claimed that there was a connection between Nawaz Sharif and cross-border firing, saying, “Whenever there is pressure on Nawaz Sharif, the Line of Control (LoC) becomes heated.”

The PML-N government completed the third year in May, the first time the milestone has been achieved by a Nawaz Sharif-led central administration. The Party hoped to achieve the five-year tenure and manage only the second transition from one democratically elected government to another in Pakistan. This may be now in peril if the situation in Islamabad in the first week of November gets out of hand.

In case the Third Umpire lifts his finger with the hugely popular Army Chief General Raheel Sharif who is due to retire in November possibly getting an extension that would mean the end of the third premature termination of the PML-N and Nawaz Sharif. But will the Army act as the Third Umpire remains to be seen?

For Nawaz Sharif however if he escapes the PTI and PAT gauntlet which is also luring the Army, the Supreme Court has issued notice over a petition filed on the Panamagate case. Thus it is a rocky road ahead.

What about India-Pak relations, New Delhi will continue to face the dilemma of who to talk to in Pakistan?

Rahul Bhonsle

credit : security-risks.com

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