News Analysis: Back from the brink?

Sunday, Dec 04, 2022

By Muneeb Farooq

WE often say that ‘All’s well that ends well’. However, this doesn’t necessarily work as a coverup for disasters and fault-lines. What appears now as the ideal end to a sensitive matter had undoubtedly become a cliffhanger for the ruling elite in Islamabad.

The army chief’s appointment has always been a slippery slope for any government in power no matter how strong or weak it may be. But November 2022 not only wrecked the pivot, but also redefined its existence.

This scribe became privy to some vital but unbelievable information where some ‘extremely honourable’ people were adamant to do something unmistakably dishonourable. As a journalist, not only did it intrigue me, but also left me frustrated because I could not speak or write about these details during those days.

I shared some parts of the information with veteran journalist Mr Ansar Abbasi since he was in the thick of things and later also broke the most vital news about the army chief’s appointment. My intention was to make him a witness to the information I had, which no one had a clue about. Now that the episode has come to its end, I can write some parts about the unscrupulousness of those days.

It is no secret that some in the top echelons were not amenable to the idea of General Asim Munir becoming the new army chief. This was not restricted to intent only but was a well-laid-out plan with a great deal of intrigue and sabotage.

In the first fortnight of November, things started to become murkier with every passing day. There was a distinct divide in the powerhouse. One group stood firm to the job and the constitution while the other had its own plans to execute. It was decided between a few of them that the senior most had to be outdone since the system would need one of their own to be ‘in charge’ of everything.

Certain possibilities and options were chalked out. Some of them were fearful of the fact that if the ‘nominee’ didn’t get to the top slot then the possibility of a court martial of a ‘three star’ couldn’t be ruled out. Fingers were pointed, confessions were made, and beans were spilled.

The big boy was wretchedly unhappy as to how thankless Imran Khan had been throughout, after all that was done for him. It was even confessed that the Chaudhrys of Gujrat were specifically told to stick with Imran Khan during and after the vote of no-confidence.

It is not the government in Islamabad that prevailed but the state of affairs which did not allow the ‘few’ to do what was planned or decided. Imran Khan’s tirade was not without reason, and he was kept in the loop by his fan club.

From the scare of martial law to another extension, every item in the rule book was quoted but somehow none of it worked. At this stage, I think ‘the less said the better’ would be most appropriate.