Is an Army-Imran Deal Possible?

Perhaps the right question to pose first off would be, if an Army-Imran deal was desirable, and then to go on to examine its possibilities.
And this question is simple to answer. Not only was such a deal desirable, it was absolutely imperative.

And this was imperative because of the way the cards are stacked in Pakistan. On the one side, you have an ex-Prime Minister in jail, who commands about eighty percent approval among the people of Pakistan. This approval stands proven in the polls, but he is in jail on a whole slew of false charges, and everyone knows that these charges were false, including the ones who crafted them, and the judges who’ve sentenced him.

On the other side, you have the Pakistan Army exercising total power in Pakistan. It is this army which overthrew the Prime Minister in an act of supreme treachery at the instigation of a foreign power, and in the act of so doing, it has lost all public support and the last shred of its waning credibility. To stay on top, it has committed every crime so that its roster of crimes now is even longer than that of Asif Ali Zardari’s, combined with the collective crimes of the Sharif family. And not the least of these crimes was that the army has catapulted Zardari into the Presidency, and to the others, it has handed over the rest of the country to screw around as best as it pleases them.

Unless these two opposing forces can come to some form of accommodation, Pakistan will stay mired in a state of immobility, and will keep on sinking deeper into the morass.

If I have described the situation obtaining in Pakistan, succinctly and accurately, we can move forward.

The obvious solution to the problem would be if the army retreated to the barracks. But it won’t do this because if it did, the Jinn it has kept bottled up in jail would come out and hang the generals. And though they richly deserve this, they have been decidedly shy about such an outcome, and have shown no inclination to take this route. Quite to the contrary, though their newly promoted DG ISPR has yet to announce this, they are quite determined that no one would be allowed to separate their heads from the rest of them, and would use the full might of the army to keep them together! To ensure this, they would be quite prepared to run Pakistan into the dust instead. And believe me, there really are people who take their heads that seriously!

The situation of the Pakistan Army, therefore, is akin to that of a financial behemoth in the US, where its fall threatens the fall of everything around it. So, this behemoth is forgiven all its financial crimes, and not just allowed to stand, but helped to do so, in order that everything else also keeps standing. In short, it is considered “too big to fail”. And so, its fall is prevented, and it is allowed to get away. This reminds me of an old English saying: “If you have an elephant by its hind leg, and it wants to get away, it’s best that you let it get away.”

The current debate in Pakistan about what to do about their army is one between those who are driven by ideals, and those by possibilities. In this debate, I have stood, from day one, by those on the side of possibilities. I sincerely believe that if the tension between the two opposing forces was allowed to run its full destructive course, it would conclude with very little of Pakistan still standing. So, in the end, if there won’t even be any pieces left to pick up, I’d rather accept what was still mine, no matter how pockmarked and crippled, and from there I would hope to nurse it back to full health.

So, I believe that a deal between the Army and Imran Khan is not only possible, but it is an absolute must. Both the army and Imran Khan need to realize this. The broad parameters around which this deal must be constructed are as follows:

a. Imran Khan is freed, all cases against him and his supporters are taken back, and his stolen mandate restored.
b. For his part Imran Khan guarantees that he won’t begin a witch hunt against the army, but that the army will begin a process of bringing the guilty within its ranks, to the book, through the legal tools available to it.
c. That either MBS or Erdogan, or both, will stand surety for this deal.
d. That the pimps and thugs or the rest of the army’s first cousins, who were used by it to bring down the PTI and the country to its present pass, will not be a part of any deal, unless they give a surety of giving back what they have stolen from the state and its people.

What? You say this is too simple? Well, let me tell you that this will work precisely because it is so simple. But if you insist otherwise, please come out with a better proposition than mine, and I shall be quite amenable to concede to you.

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