Mr. Nawaz Sharif has finally obtained a temporary relief from the Supreme Court - a relief that his supporters are celebrating with a naïve lack of understanding with respect to the judgment’s implications. I would therefore recommend that they hold back their ‘bhangras’ and sweetmeats and come to terms with the fact that their leader and his team of lawyers have actually got themselves into a Catch 22 type situation. If Mr. Sharif’s aim was to get away from the country on the pretext of treatment abroad, he has not been able to achieve it. The judgement very clearly lays down the terms of the six week’s bail. These are:

1.   Nawaz Sharif shall not leave or be allowed to leave

the country.

2.   Bail will automatically be cancelled upon expiry of six weeks from date of release.

3.   Sharif will have to surrender custody voluntarily, failing which he will be arrested.

4.   He will not be allowed to apply for further bail till he surrenders his custody.

5.   He is allowed treatment from medical practitioners and to avail medical facilities of his choice in Pakistan.

6.   If, during the period of his bail, the Islamabad High Court rules adversely in the appeal filed by Sharif before the IHC, the IHC will have full authority to decide how and when to arrest him.

The former Prime Minister has repeatedly refused to get admitted in any cardiac facility, but now he will willy-nilly have to do so. Why did Mr. Sharif need a court judgement to get himself admitted for treatment, when the same option had been given to him by the government? What is really cooking in the PML N cauldron? We shall just have to wait and see, in the hope that the chain of events in not a prelude to an NRO. Realistically speaking, if this happens, PML N will not last long as a cohesive force. I have heard whispers doing their rounds in party circles that there are groups eagerly waiting in the wings to take their chances.

On the PPP front, the young Bilawal Bhutto is recklessly pushing forward, towards, what can only be labelled as the Party’s last hurrahs. Given that PPP’s popularity is more or less restricted to Provincial politics, something which appears to have prompted the train march to be terminated before it chugs across the provincial boundary into Punjab. Whatever, PPP cadres may say, Bhutto’s party is exhibiting reluctance to stage any show of force (especially one that may end in embarrassment) away from its power centre. That is perhaps the reason that movement beyond Larkana is being given careful thought and dates kept open - “sometimes after 4 April”. Feedback from political circles and wisdom garnered from the streets, indicates that whatever ‘march’ PPP launches will, more than likely, be doomed to failure. It may even attract a crowd, but the numbers will not be anything close to the ones during the party’s heydays nor will this show generate any political effects. With accountability pressure mounting on Mr. Asif Zardari and his companions, PPP is likely to gradually lose control and in a wave of desperation commit costly mistakes.

In my reckoning, the political agitation, long marches and the likes, do not worry Imran Khan, since he has proved himself to be a master of these tools. His main worry is to put the country back on its feet, restore Pakistan’s lost image and ensure an era of peace during which, all this can be done. So far he appears to have accomplished this admirably well and that is galling to his opponents. If the PTI Chairman wants to speed up the process of national healing, he needs the right people in his team. Regretfully there are some individuals around him, who need to be audited without reservation born of friendship or long term association. On the other side, he has ministers, who have delivered in a few months, what successive governments couldn’t do in decades. These are the people he must keep close to him, for they are his strength and PTI’s front office.

All in all, we are passing through very interesting times – a time when history is being made. It is a time, where what we had considered impossible is happening. The rich and the powerful are being held accountable; the rule of law is gradually returning; we have finally exposed a wily adversary to the world. It is a time of refreshing change, perhaps it is an old prophecy being fulfilled.