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Political Conspiracy Theories – Are they true?

Who is adding fuel to the gossip fire by leaking out snippets of news…

Conspiracy theories keep surfacing

“Tabdeeli” till now connoted “change” – change from corruption to transparency, from failure of governance to success of governance, from the rule of chosen ones in power to rule of law. But in the recent past, the word has begun implying major changes that may potentially change the very face of how the Islamic Republic of Pakistan functions.

Search for the hashtag #PresidentialSystem and thousands of social media shares will pop up. Try and google “18th Amendment” and impending volte-face seems to be the hottest topic, online and off. There are theories, and then there are conspiracy theories. Pakistan, meanwhile, seems to be sitting on a ticking time bomb, waiting for “Change”, all owing to political hearsay.

Everyone seems so sure of what is going to happen, but no one knows where these whispers are originating from. Perhaps from Pakistan’s sugar daddies belonging to echelons of power talking in upper tier clubs over rounds of hors d’oeuvres and Cuban cigars. The words uttered by them may have been taken as the gospel truth by overhearers, or over-zealous political analysts and media persons may have taken on the mantle of “sources” and begun tweeting about it or taking polls on it. Trust Pakistan’s penchant for fake news.

The news has spread. And everyone seems sure that Islamic Presidential System is deemed to happen, whether they are for it or against it. But is Imran Khan ready to go through the grueling processes that would be required to actually become the President? The legislation, the referendum, getting a two-thirds majority – is this all even doable?

Overlapping with the issue of the Presidential System is the question of the 18th Amendment which would have to be rolled back if, and that is a big if, the Presidential System is to move past tweets and table talk and become a reality.

Since 2010, with the advent of the 18th Amendment, Pakistan’s Parliamentary System is showing, if nothing else, the benefit that elected governments have been able to complete their term. Getting rid of the 18th Amendment may ensure more power to the President and more transparency with the federal government at the helm of decision-making, but it will have the side-effect of perpetuating a sense of victimhood and being wronged, particularly in Sindh, where the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leadership will use it for political traction to the maximum.

Search for the hashtag #PresidentialSystem and thousands of social media shares will pop up. Google “18th Amendment” and impending volte-face seems to be the hottest topic.

But are all conspiracy theories just conspiracy theories? Does the political grapevine actually have some substance as the fuel of the rumours it is churning out? The stepping down of one of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) key figures, Asad Umar, from the position of Finance Minister on April 18th, has rattled the political equilibrium. More so because the tittle-tattle seems to have some truth to it. With more reshuffling expected in Khan’s cabinet, one cannot any more ignore political speculations, even if one does not believe them all.

Whoever is adding fuel to the gossip fire by leaking out snippets of news that are meant to stay under cover is achieving the possible purpose — that an air of uncertainty and a feeling of political instability should linger in the air. What will happen next, and how shall it affect the average Pakistani? The questions are pertinent. Meanwhile, conspiracy theories keep surfacing. And Pakistan waits with baited breath.

What if Bilawal Bhutto actually joins PML-N?

Published: January 22, 2015

Are the reports of the prodigal Bhutto son – yet to return fully – Bilawal Bhutto Zardari joining Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) true?

The reports of Mark Twain’s death were greatly exaggerated. So were the reports of Imran Khan’s marriage. But as they say, there’s no smoke without at least some fire. Are the reports of the prodigal Bhutto son – yet to return fully – Bilawal Bhutto Zardari joining PML-N true?

PML-F would be outrageous enough.

But PML-N would be even more outrageous.

Or would it? Not really.

Reality remains that the present day PPP and PML-N may be different in terms of inherent ideology, but what they do to Pakistan remains essentially the same. One may be on the right and the other on the left, but they have a middle ground where they meet, join hands and work happily in unison. And that middle ground is plagued by words that we are today all too familiar with – nepotism, corruption, bad governance, lack of accountability, disconnection with people, the list goes on.

While hard core and genuinely sincere PPP supporters are trying to hide inner fears by publicly laughing at the idea Arbab Ghulam Rahim has presented, they know that all there is definitely trouble in paradise.

If ever this actually happens, nothing will change for Pakistan and its people. The faces change but the predicaments of this nation remain the same. It doesn’t really matter whether the battle is raged with the help of a teer (arrow) or a sher (lion), and it doesn’t matter whether it is Bilawal or Shahbaz Sharif in rubber boots in flood stricken parts of Pakistan. Children will continue to die in Tharparkar and Punjab police will continue to beat up blind persons and even children. The lifestyles of the rich and famous will not change. Pakistani mothers will risk their most precious children when they send them to school, while the children of the leaders of most Pakistani political parties will be in safe insulated havens of top notch universities abroad.

However, if Bilawal were to join “them”, one thing would happen for sure. The many sincere ‘jiyalas’ who hope that one day, maybe, just maybe, Bilawal miraculously proves critics wrong, will be heartbroken. It is not that if Bilawal were to become the saviour they are hoping, he can do it only from the platform of PPP. Because if someone wants to work for the betterment of Pakistan sincerely, it doesn’t matter what the platform is. However, the problem with PPP is that dynastic inheritance supersedes everything else, sadly. If at all, the young Bhutto-Zardari were to change camps, a blow which the jiyalas will not be able to withstand, because sadly, a majority of them support the PPP less for its ideology, whatever is left of it, and more for the lure and romance of the Bhutto name. If PPP supporters had more sense, there would have been not one but many forward blocks within the party by now, and Bilawal’s dad would have been out of business.

Those who actually look up to Bilawal, much as this idea amazes the rest of us who are more realistic, have a miniscule flicker of hope. That hope is actually increased with rumours and factual reports of disagreement between father and son. Many of those who are too loyal to the Bhutto name to openly declare PPP in-contextual, are secretly excited and happy when they hear that Bilawal strongly disagrees with the father regarding how the party is working.

What we are seeing right now is just speculations and rumours. But in politics, there are no permanent friends, nor foes. Only time will tell which way Bilawal will steer himself. But if at all Bilawal decides to move away from the party of his papa, PML-N would be a sad choice – he will just end up being another brick in the wall called “the status quo”.

I am sure Bilawal has read up on these “rumours”, and back door channels are in the process of convincing him to negate this as mere gossip through another emotional tweet. As a Pakistani, one can just hope that one day, the young man sees the light and does something substantial for his people; maybe from a newer forum, or no forum at all by serving the people in an individual capacity. That would be real news, the kind of news that lasts.