Are the generals at war with the PML-N? To be certain, the ‘highest form of generalship is to conquer by strategy, without resorting to war’. What do the generals want? At the very top of their agenda is guaranteeing the longevity of the Pakistani state – and its geographical integrity.
Down below are four things: (1) To control the India-Pakistan narrative; (2) To control the Taliban narrative; (3) To safeguard corporate interests of the armed forces; (4) Cut Nawaz down to size.
The GHQ’s strength is dependent on two pillars: hard power and soft power. The GHQ’s hard power is its battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and artillery. The GHQ’s soft power is its popularity, its favourable ratings and its image.
Is the PML-N at war with the GHQ? Strategically, the PML-N has been in a state of cold-war with the GHQ. What does the PML-N want? At the very top of the PML-N’s agenda is the retention of political power. The PML-N’s strength rests on two pillars: hard power and soft power. The PML-N’s hard power rests on 14,874,104 voters who voted for the PML-N, 190 MNAs and 15 senators. The PML-N’s soft power is the party’s popularity, its favourable ratings, its image and the PML-N’s investment into education and health.
June 2013 over June 2014, the GHQ’s hard power has not changed much. In May 2011, the month that Osama bin Laden was killed just half a mile from the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul (PMA), the GHQ’s soft power was at its weakest. Since November 29, 2013, the day that General Raheel Sharif became the 15th chief of army staff, Pak Army’s soft power has been surging like never before.
On June 15, the day DG ISPR announced the launching of a “comprehensive operation against foreign and local terrorists”, the GHQ’s soft power just went through the roof. A victory in North Waziristan will take the GHQ’s soft power to heights not seen in recent memory.
On May 11, 2013, the day of the general election, the PML-N’s soft power was at its peak. June 2013 over June 2014, the PML-N’s hard power has not changed much but on June 17 2014, the day Punjab Police shot dead 14, the PML-N’s soft power just crashed. In essence, the PML-N’s soft power is stumbling down the drain while the GHQ’s soft power is surging like a North Sea gale.
This season’s spectacle actually has three major players: PML-N, PTI and GHQ. All three are ‘interested parties’ facing a ‘competitive situation’ whereby each one of the three determines its own ‘optimal course of action’. Each acts to maximise its own gains by anticipating the responses to its actions by one or other players in the circus.
The PML-N has long been ignoring the parliament, the real source of the PML-N’s hard power. The PTI has now chosen to fight it out on the streets. As a consequence, the PML-N and PTI have both thrown their political futures out on to the streets – for the streets to decide.
Lo and behold, the PML-N and PTI are both now trying to drag the GHQ into politics (under the ‘game theory’, the GHQ will act to maximise its own gains).
The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter: @saleemfarrukhDr Farrukh Saleem, "GHQ and PML-N," The News. 2014-07-27.
Keywords: Political science , Political issues , Political power , Pak army , General election , Taliban , Terrorists , Parliament , Education , Health , PM Nawaz Sharif , Osama bin Laden , Gen Raheel , North Waziristan , India , Pakistan , GHQ , PMLN , MNAs , PMA