Fears that President Zardari and his PPP-led coalition government in the center could be overthrown – possibly through an intervention or approval by the army – have grown as the two-and-a-half-years old civilian setup struggles to cope with the flood crisis. Hoarding, rising prices with the advent of Ramadan, ethnic killings in Karachi and Balochistan have added to the political government’s woes.

Najam Sethi, editor of the weekly Friday Times, told The Guardian: “The powers that be, that is the military and bureaucratic establishment, are mulling the formation of a national government, with or without the PPP [the ruling Pakistan People's party].”

I know this is definitely being discussed. There is a perception in the army that you need good governance to get out of the economic crisis and there is no good governance,” he added.

Sethi’s comments cannot be dismissed easily given his proximity to the power players both in the political arena and in the establishment.

Other analysts say a military coup is unlikely because the army’s priority is fighting the Taliban insurgency, and taking over during a disaster makes no sense, the influential British paper added.

Sethi said, “though only the courts could legally dismiss Zardari, but as the present government is one reliant on coalition partners, behind-the-scenes military pressure on those partners could bring it down,” ANI reported.




These partners include MQM of Karachi and ANP of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who will remain beneficiaries no matter what the change of guard comprises of.

The influential Texas-based STRATFOR – a strategic forecasting company popular among the intelligence community has observed that the rising social unrest down the line due to the flood crisis could create a political situation in which the Zardari government may be unable to complete its term, which ends in 2013.

“Should the civilian government prove incapable of managing the overall situation, will the military be forced to step in and take a more active role in governing the country? The government — especially President Asif Ali Zardari, who is also the de facto chief of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party — is, rightly or wrongly, extremely unpopular. Zardari’s decision to take a week-long trip to Europe while the floods were hitting the country has only worsened the situation. Rising social unrest down the line could create a political situation in which the government may be unable to complete its term, which ends in 2013.

“These are obviously worst-case scenarios, but ones that cannot be dismissed. Even if the floods had not happened, the security, economic, and socio-political circumstances in Pakistan demanded close observation. The floods have increased this importance, especially since U.S. President Barack Obama’s entire war strategy involves stabilizing Pakistan.”

Do all the above observations by Sethi and Stratfor point to A) a military take-over or B) a national government or C) a new coalition government?

The military is of course knee-deep in security issues. Only a national government or a new popular political government (through the parliament) would suit the stake-holders who are aplenty just as they were in 1977.

President Asif Ali Zardari may already have thrown in the towel with his irrational – almost incoherent acts. Will his (now) one-day visit to Russia be the last foreign trip he undertakes? Only a Mamoo or the coffee-cup reader can predict that. They however came close to predicting in May on Meray Mutabiq that they see changes beyond July.

Allah Khair Karey!