“Meray Aziz Hum Watano” translates into “My dear fellow countrymen” and is an opening phrase we have heard many times. Especially in a gruff no-nonsense voice. Are we headed there? Far too many times, internal squabbling by politicians has led to this opening sentence. Each time the masses welcomed it, fed up with uncertainty created by reckless, short-sighted leaders. In their fervour to overthrow a regime, consumed by their venom, they forgot that they are wrapping up the very system they are sworn to protect. The rules stipulated by the Constitution provide for electing a government for a term of five years through Parliament. Such an elected regime governs and the opposition maintains a check and balance in the best interest of the nation. This system prevailed post-Zia Ul Haq when PPP and PML(N) played musical chairs. It was “you scratch my back, I scratch yours.” A cosy arrangement wherein each party took turns for self-enrichment, looting the nation’s wealth. In the last two decades, a third force emerged that was hell-bent on pulling the plug on this lucrative arrangement. It was totally unacceptable to the ruling elite. The emergence of PTI threatened to end their cash cows and bring in accountability to punish the looters. How dare this outsider disrupt the status quo and attempt to change it? He needed to be cut to size and be defanged. These efforts started the day PM IK took the oath. Contradictions lie within the system of governance. The parliamentary system that we blindly adopted from our colonial masters is geared to preserve the status quo, nurturing a few thousand families of electables. Over decades, they intertwined with other pillars of the ruling establishment along with the landed elite and business tycoons. The rot is fundamental. Any change to the system will be resisted tooth and nail. The change from “do more” to “no more” has triggered reactions that run deep; wielding lethal capabilities. Our system is geared towards creating corruption, horse-trading and extortion. The magic number is the support of 172 members in National Assembly by any means whatsoever. It invites methodologies where material benefits supersede morality and merit. The players in this game will stoop to any level to entice, cajole or outright purchase votes to achieve their nefarious designs. To understand the present onslaught, one needs to analyse the rush to overthrow a government completing its fourth year in power. The next general elections could be a year away or even less. I believe the present geo-political environment in the region and the fear of accountability has created a nefarious nexus. For the first time in decades, we have a Government that has refused to become robots for the Western masters, unlike previous rulers. It has resisted being moulded, unlike the ousted leadership who conveniently follows their directions. We are done being blind-folded followers. Pakistan’s present foreign policy is geared to safeguard our national interest rather than being disposable tools. It has rattled the entrenched power brokers used to subservient rulers. The change from “do more” to “no more” has triggered reactions that run deep; wielding lethal capabilities. On the other hand, we have a power-hungry, self-serving, opposition ready to bring down PTI Government. Be it PPP’s long march headed by blustery Bilawal, or behind-the-scene machinations of PML(N)’s Shahbaz Sharif; their end-game is to muster the 172 votes required to dislodge PM IK, a thorn in their side. The month of March is expected to be decisive. The test case is Punjab. I have often stated that PTI Government’s present leadership is weak and directionless. CM Buzdar is the proverbial “Achilles heel.” If this entire hullabaloo brings a change in Punjab, it will be a welcome one. PM IK needs political operators who have deep roots. The likelihood of the Chaudhrys joining the fray could be a solution to the biggest chink in PTI’s armour. Safeguarding the bastion of Punjab is crucial for PTI’s future. The real politick requires outside-the-box approaches. Sometimes, compromises are required to achieve a greater good. The challenges faced by Pakistan are multi-faceted. On the one hand, we are endeavouring to abandon camp politics and on the other, attempting to bring to book the corrupt mafia. It is like being between the rock and a hard place. It requires very deft handling. The renegade Tareen group needs to be pacified and brought back into the PTI’s fold. Easier said than done yet some common ground needs to be found. The next few months are crucial. They are important for the country. After a very long time, we are turning the corner for sustained economic growth. We are an energy-deficient country attempting to link up with alternate sources of supply. This reality needs to be brought to the fore to fend off the negativity being generated due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Implementation of CPEC projects will bring in investments, industry and much-needed employment opportunities. Upgrading our agricultural production, bringing online hydel power, and creating a stable economic environment are our panacea. All these objectives are achievable provided we have a stable Government. It boggles one’s mind why the opposition’s leadership cannot perceive the realities so crucial for the country. There is a tremendous need for the umpires to be involved before we degenerate into chaos once again. The writer is the director of CERF, a non-profit, charitable organisation in Canada.