Given all the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the current political situation, we invited The Express Tribune's former Executive Editor M Ziauddin to provide some insight into developments surrounding the 'Azadi' march.
Ziauddin sb needs no introduction – you can read all about him here.
Below is a transcript of the interactive session held between M Ziauddin and The Express Tribune readers:
Q: Roshni A @Roshni1625 What would be the difference between civil disobedience in KPK as opposed to the rest of the country?
MZ: It is a heart-brained proposal. Not only will it not be workable in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) but it will not work countrywide either. What about the defence budget? What about NFC share of K-P? I think it is a proposal put together in panic. It appears to be a panicky response to a shut up call from some quarters.
MZ on Imran’s call for civil disobedience: He [Imran Khan] is trying his best to extricate himself from the corner he had painted himself into but is not finding a way that does not seal his political future.
He is backing out from his demand of PM’s resignation with the face-saver called civil disobedience.
Q: Junaid: Respected Ziauddin sb, in which circumstances would you say that the PTI’s demands were unjustified?
MZ: Asking for PM’s resignation and demanding a government of neutrals. Under the constitution a PM lose his office only if he loses vote of confidence and then under the constitution government of neutrals is formed in consultation with the outgoing government and the parliamentary opposition which is PPP not PTI. Election Commission once appointed cannot be removed until it completes its tenure or if it resigns on its own or declared incompetent by judicial council.
Q: Naeem: Sir, any possibility of Nawaz seeking a vote of confidence tomorrow ,and a legal battle against Imran Khan and TUQ for not complying with the LHC order and threatening peace of Islamabad?
MZ: In my view, if the establishment wanted to bring a change, the other parts of the country should have also shown some indication whereas this is not the situation.
He might seek a vote of confidence. I don’t see the peace of Islamabad coming under any more pressure than it is today.
Q: Asif Khan Shinwari @asifshinwari What would be the positive and negative impact of IK’s march on his future politics. Did he commit political suicide?
MZ: Yes. I think he is committing political suicide. Others like JI, PPP and MQM trying to save him so that NS does not become more powerful, more royal after IK’s suicide. If he survives then perhaps we will find NS more accessible to Parliament and less royal.
Q: Sarah Farukh @sarahfarukh Imran Khan is surrounded by seasoned politicians. Don’t you think there is a plan B?
MZ: Who are these seasoned politicians? Javed Hashmi never graduated from the rank of a political worker at best a second fiddle. Shah Mehmood basically an educated spiritual leader. He gets a ranking place in a political party because of the captive votes of his followers, not because of his political acumen. We all know the careers of Shireen Mazari, Shafqat Mehmood and Jehangir Tareen. So who among them has the political wisdom to draft a plan B.
Here is some insight from former Executive Editor M Ziauddin on the latest development of PTI supporters moving towards Islamabad’s Red Zone:
MZ: More of confusion about move towards Red Zone. I believe Imran Khan will bring the protesters back and claim he can send them back again by way of a threat.
Q: Nabeel Huda @MNabeelHuda Ziauddin Sahab Please give the Unbiased & factual strength of Both #AzadiMarchPTI #InqilabMarchWithDrQadri TY
MZ: How many thousands can you gather between the ISI headquarters and Aabpara market (PAT) and Serena Chowk (PTI)? Not more than 40 to 50 thousand maximum each.
Q: Mirza Underwood @Afaq_Sharif What’s the future of #ppp in future politics?
MZ: Not very good. The biggest enemy of the PPP is the party itself. And it is the biggest enemy of Sindh as well.
Q: Syed Sohaib @_soota Zia sahb you said Imran will back down. How can you say with surety? Any past experience of such backing out of demands?
MZ: Cricket is by chance, politics is an art of possibilities. He is playing politics by the rules of cricket.
Q: Asim Khan @sirasimkhan Do you think PTI has lost its good position or still it has time? Will the 6pm speech bring PTI back to its position?
MZ: I expect this speech to be more strident and full of ultimatums. But position would remain where he has already left it last night.
Q: @TalhaDX There are talks that CM Shahbaz Sharif will resign. Do you think it is happening today?
MZ: I doubt it very much.
Q: Sarah Farukh @sarahfarukh So is there any face saving for PTI in this?
MZ: I don’t see one as of now unless IK is able to sell to his supporters a defeat as a victory.
Q: Saadi @midaasm Are the demands of PTI justified? Will Ch Nisar resign? Is NS trial of treason against Musharaf wrong? Is martial law possible?
MZ: Unjustified demands. Nisar will not resign.
Q: @kayfarooq Sir, do you see violence next?
MZ: I don’t see any violence, next.
Q: @ihtshams so will IK back down?
MZ: IK will back down.
Tribune: Welcome Ziauddin sb. The first Q from us in the newsroom: What do you make of the current situation? Where do you think PTI is heading with this today?
MZ: PTI has painted itself into a tight corner with the demand that PM resign. This is not going to happen unless a vote of confidence is moved on the NA or the army intervenes. Both not possible.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this interactive session do not necessarily reflect the views of The Express Tribune.