So much has happened in the last few days that it may be difficult to pack it all together in one piece. But some things stand out and need specific mention. Two trends are clear — talk and action on accountability and conspiracies. To be fair, some sort of across the board accountability has begun, although it may be a faltering, hop-step-and-jump type of a process. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family is in the dock — indicted and either on bail or declared absconders. Ishaq Dar is in deep trouble with his assets already been seized. PPP high ups like Sharjeel Memon and Dr Asim Hussain and other leaders like Uzair Baloch are being pursued at various levels. On Wednesday night, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) picked up seven accused of land grabbing in Karachi on the Supreme Court’s orders. New NAB chief Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal is in his post and making the right kind of noises. He snubbed the Punjab chief minister for attacking NAB. On Oct 18, he ordered freezing of assets and accounts of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. Justice Iqbal also announced new investigations in the Multan Metro case and the matter of the missing PIA plane that was reportedly stolen by a German CEO. He claims that no one will be spared. That’s a welcome statement, if it really is meant to be the case. The prevailing consensus — though in private sessions — is that Nawaz is down, Zardari is down and out, Imran is inexperienced, a technocrats’ government is not feasible or possible, elections are too far away until new delimitation and new voters’ lists are ready — so there is no option but to continue with this half-baked jambalaya or, in simple words, a hotchpotch The courts are taking notice of the accountability process with one honourable judge lashing out at the double standards of NAB in handling those accused of similar offences in Punjab and Sindh. The Lahore High Court Chief Justice has picked up the Rs 80 billion case of 56 private companies created in Punjab bypassing already established local bodies and other government departments. A judge may soon rule on the matter of making the Model Town incident’s inquiry report public. The noose for Punjab CM might be ready. At another level, the Supreme Court of Pakistan is looking deep into the assets and properties of PTI leaders Imran Khan and Jahangir Tareen and getting old money trails. To top it all, even Asif Ali Zardari has joined the accountability bandwagon and has demanded the arrest of Nawaz Sharif and his family calling him corrupt. He is already on record saying Nawaz Sharif had a $10 billion portfolio. With accountability taking centre stage in the national politics and setting the domestic narrative, it is only a matter of time that many other holy cows — media gurus (who became too fat, too soon); business tycoons; bureaucrats (serving or retired); judges; and generals will also have to come under some kind of accountability net. What has to be decided is how, by whom and when this real across-the-board process will be launched. As this accountability freight train speeds on, many conspiracy theories are also doing feverish rounds, linked to the domestic developments and even to visits by foreign dignitaries — leading to speculations. Among these theories — I repeat theories — is the one that Nawaz Sharif has asked Saudi leaders for help in his domestic woes and they have refused. Even the visit of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been linked to the on-going case against Nawaz Sharif as if he was seeking some relief. The air dash of PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to meet Shahbaz Sharif in Lahore, minutes after the Tillerson meeting was over, added more fuel to the fires of speculation. The PM’s meetings with dissenters like Zafarullah Jamali, Hamza Shahbaz and Riaz Pirzada were reported in a way to suggest that he was joining hands with the Shahbaz camp against Nawaz. With Ishaq Dar almost separated from the government, as he was not even invited to the Tillerson meeting, analysts have started to believe that PM Abbasi is growing in his shoes and is distancing from Nawaz, who has now resigned to his self-exiled fate and may stay away for long. I do not subscribe to any of these theories. I have simple explanations and clear views — as an overview is meant to look for major shifting sand dunes and not to investigate individual weeds on the ground. The Tillerson meeting was a sign that the army and the government do not trust each other so they both decided to sit with him at the same table and say openly what they had to say. No room for any misunderstandings or private messages was left. Tillerson was told in blunt words where Pakistan stood on major issues and he got the message. General Bajwa has already said on record that Pakistan does not need the United States’ aid or arms and will not fight as a proxy for anyone. PM Abbasi had no room or reason to differ with any of these positions in the Tillerson meeting. This was confirmed by Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif in the Senate hours later. In such a tense situation, speculating that the US was trying to seek some relief for Nawaz would be naive. If Tillerson was not getting anywhere near his own objectives, how could he get relief for someone else? There were other theories that Nawaz was seeking a meeting in Jeddah with General (retd) Raheel Sharif that could not materialise. What would Raheel offer Nawaz and if Saudis do not like Nawaz anymore, how can Raheel convince the royals to help him? And I don’t believe Raheel can convince anyone in Rawalpindi to go soft on Pakistan’s royal family. Why should he? What could the Imam of Kaaba achieve — even though he was invited to the cabinet meeting — except that he could pray for those who need it most? Pakistan army has taken a principled position that it would stand with the constitution and would allow the legal process to take its own course. They have not shifted the stance. Only a catastrophe can force Rawalpindi to change that position. An economic collapse can — if it is allowed to happen — bring severe consequences, first for the politicians, and then for everybody else. Certainly a big stick will then be needed to fix the economy. The prevailing consensus — though in private sessions — is that Nawaz is down, Zardari is down and out, Imran is inexperienced, a technocrats’ government is not feasible or possible, elections are too far away until new delimitation and new voters’ lists are ready — so there is no option but to continue with this half-baked jambalaya or, in simple words, a hotchpotch. But Pakistan will muddle through until someone really powerful is pushed to overturn the applecart. The writer is a senior journalist. Twitter: @Ssehbai1 Published in Daily Times, October 27th 2017.