Hardly a month before his retirement late last year, former Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa stunned and shocked the power corridors in Islamabad by turning hyperactive on two highly sensitive and potentially explosive issues.

He did appear as if “goading” a specially constituted court to rush for early decision on a “high treason” case that the Nawaz Government had filed against a former President, General Musharraf, in 2014.

The case had been moving on a visibly slow track for many years; the former President felt no need to defend himself, seriously. He kept staying put in Dubai to address “health related” issues.

In his absence, the Special Court eventually felt forced to announce the death penalty for him. Announcing the said decision, it also used expressions that certainly sounded “too harsh and inhumane.” That invoked a huge amount of anger among the institution Musharraf had served and led in a very high profile manner.

As if the Musharraf-connected controversy were not enough, Justice Khosa also decided to personally hear a belated-looking petition that a person of dubious reputation had filed against the three-year extension, the Imran Government had announced for the tenure of current COAS, way back in August 2018.

During the hearing of this petition, loaded remarks were regularly passed, which triggered a flood of ominous speculations. They rather prepared many of us to anxiously wait for a massive showdown between the Judiciary and the Executive, the like of which Pakistan had already endured in nine very tense months of 2007.

At the end of sensation-triggering hearing, however, the burden of settling the issues of appointing the Services’ Chiefs and fixing their tenures was passed on to parliament.

Knowing their limits, our parliamentarians refused to walk into the trap. Disregarding the either/or animosity, they rather took no time to unite and quickly pass a consequential law by developing consensus on a potentially explosive matter.

Rushing to it, the PML-N and the PPP did appear as if “betraying” their professed commitment to the cause of “civil supremacy.” But they simply focused on protecting “the system” and preferred to wait for the correct time to expand their territory.

Meanwhile the Lahore High Court had also passed a judgment on Monday that would certainly help mollifyingthe anger, ignited by the announcement of the death penalty for Gen Musharraf. Our political scene is thus returning to near normal.

Little wonder, both the sittings of the Senate and the National Assembly mostly remained yawn inducing, when they returned to meet after the weekend break Monday afternoon

Parliamentary reporters, condemned to chase the “breaking news” also preferred to find out the latest on “relationship status” of the MQM vis-à-vis the Imran Government, while roaming in parliamentary corridors.

After carving a huge constituency in Urban Sindh by inciting passions on ethnic grounds, the MQM had first surfaced in the electoral politics, almost with a bang in 1988. Since then it had been sharing power with almost each successive government, but never felt content with its portion of the power pie. Its nonstop bickering and tactics to extract more and more eventually weakened its clout massively. These days, it indeed is trying hard to survive like a cohesive and vibrant outfit and reclaim the lost territory.

The conspiracy theorists refuse to consider the existential crisis of the MQM, seriously. They take it for granted that this outfit never moves on its own. It always required “winks and nods” to create problems for its “coalition partners” in a sitting government.

The same set of conspiracy theorists seriously believes that the recent tantrums, thrown by the MQM, are somewhat connected with rumors of “in-house change,” which many in Islamabad expect in “March 2020”. The allegedly “obsequious conduct”of the PML-N of late, provides sufficient fuel to the rumors of “in-house change.” I have serious doubts, though.

The PTI, for sure, had not emerged as the majority party through the election of July 2018. To get Imran Khan elected as the Prime Minister, it desperately required votes from different parties. All of them felt no “ideological affinity” with the PTI, but decided to support its government to extract favors and ministerial slots.

The MQM had managed to grab two high profile ministries: Law and the Information Technology. Faroogh Nasim, the law minister, however, acts solo and knows how to expand his influence.

Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, otherwise “the MQM leader,” is almost a novice to power games. The ministry he grabbed is considered “lucrative,” but the Imran government had placed an unelected but technocrat lady there, enjoying absolute command and control. Siddique had been feeling crippled since her appointment.

Sticking to usual narrative of the MQM, however, Siddique is now spinning the story that the Imran Government remains “indifferent,” when it comes to address the accumulated and ever-growing grievances of the most populace city of Pakistan, Karachi. Yet, even after announcing his resignation from the federal cabinet, “in protest,” he continues to ensure the government emissaries that his party MNAs, six in a house of 342, would still be sitting on the treasury benches.

To stage a grand comeback in Karachi, the MQM wants the Federal Government to enforce the Sindh government, by invoking certain intrusive clauses of our constitution, to pass a law to grant maximum autonomy to local bodies. It also wants that the “development funds” that the federal government allocates to Karachi from its kitty, must be put at the disposal of “local governments.”

Even while hating the PPP from the core of its heart, the PTI could just not afford bending to the MQM. To survive in Prime Minister’s office, Imran Khan also needs the votes of Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA). This alliance essentially represents the PPP-hating landlords and tribal chiefs from “rural Sindh” and its numbers in the national assembly are almost double than that of the MQM. In spite of hating the PPP, the GDA strongly suspects the MQM. The Imran government would not want to alienate them.

The PTI had also emerged as a formidable stakeholder in Karachi’s electoral politics during the election of July 2018. It would not want to squander its gains by appearing as if ceding political control of Karachi to the MQM by affirming its claims of being the “sole spokesperson” of this city.

Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui surely has a poor hand to bargain with the PTI. By engaging the PPP with the same hand, though, he can possibly negotiate a win-win looking deal to sustain his party’s clout and regain “territory,” the MQM had primarily lost to the PTI during the election of July 2018.

His tantrums don’t prepare me for the “in-house change in March 2020.”