Pakistan ‘Minus One’ Formula Back in the Political Equations
Pakistan has the dubious distinction of no prime minister in the country having survived a full term after electoral democracy was restored when General Pervez Musharraf agreed to give up powers in 2007.
Be it Yousaf Raza Gillani of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) or the heavy weight Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML N) who were elected to power in the past two elections survived a full term.
Now there are signs that Mr Imran Khan may also go the same way as there are growing calls for his replacement known popularly as the Minus One formula – that is a Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf Government minus Mr Khan.
Seen as a Prime Minister, “selected,” by the Pakistan Army which had a torrid relationship with the PML N Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif rather than popularly elected, most expected that Khan’s tenure will be secure for a full term.
However, recent developments have put a shadow on Imran Khan’s tenure with growing voices for his removal.
The fiasco of extension to Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa which blew up in the Prime Minister’s face with major objections by the Supreme Court weakened Imran Khan’s position with reports of rumblings in the Army hierarchy.
The Azadi March by Mullah Fazlur Rehman is seen to be supported by a segment of the Army which includes generals who have been side lined due to the extension given to General Bajwa.
Meanwhile realizing that the parties supporting it are not happy with performance of the government an outreach has been planned by the PTI with BNP-M chief Akhtar Mengal and the PML Q leaders.
While the Minus One formula may not be applied immediately given that Mr Imran Khan the former cricket captain has build the Party single handedly but the fact remains that he has been propped up by the Army with the aim of sidelining the mainstream parties and leaders.
The PTI leadership on the other hand is raising demands for Minus One in the PML-N, referring to the appeal by Vice President Maryam Nawaz who is charged in numerous corruption cases to travel abroad.
The twin Minus One – Imran Khan and Maryam Nawaz may throw up an interesting political situation in Pakistan – more about that later.