February 20, 2008

Parliament to decide on Musharraf: Zardari

Filed under: POST-ELECTIONS 2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 11:21 pm
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FEBRUARY 21, 2008

ISLAMABAD – PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari Wednesday said that the PPP did not want only government but governance as well and Parliament would decide about any future cooperation with President Pervez Musharraf.
“The Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) is not existing as a party. Some forces made it for their own purposes,” he told a news conference here at Zardari House after chairing Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting of the party.
PPP leaders Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Yousaf Raza Gillani, PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar, Ch Ahmed Mukhtar and others were also present on the occasion.
The PPP Co-Chairman said that he had contacted all the major politicians and had requested them to act in unison.
In reply to a question, he said that the PPP could form government in Sindh but we want political national consensus. The PPP would take along MQM for the formation of government in Sindh, he said.
“We want to change the system. We do not want only restoration of the deposed judges but complete autonomy of the judiciary,” he said.
Answering another question, the PPPP Co-Chairman said that the party had not yet finalised its plan about the Leader of the House and the decision in this regard would be taken soon.
Zardari said that he did not want to become the Prime Minister; however, his party had the mandate to decide this issue appropriately.
He said that working with President was a sensitive issue. PPP is not a sole party to decide on this account and the decision would be left to the newly elected Parliament after having consultation with other parties.
“The PPP is the largest party and it has more seats and senior leaders. We should be called for government. But we want governance not government only, otherwise we would sit in Opposition,” the PPP Co-Chairman said.
In reply to a question, Zardari said that the PPP would not have any objection if the PML-N tries to form government with the independent candidates.
“We wanted the restoration of 1973 Constitution in true letter and spirit, supremacy of Parliament and a government of national consensus with the support of democratic forces,” he said.
Zardari said that the investigation of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination should be conducted under the auspices of the UN Commission. He said that the UN replied to the letter of PPP in which it said that the organisation would consider it if the government would ask for investigation.
The PPP wanted the restoration of 1973 Constitution with immediate removal of the PEMRA Ordinance. He said that the PPP government would give wage award to journalists.
Zaradri said that he phoned Mehmood Khan Achakzai of Pkhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party, Imran Khan and Dr Abdul Hai Baloch and discussed the current political situation.
The PPP leader said that he would meet PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif here today (Thursday).
He said that some restrictions had been removed on Supreme Court Bar Association President Ch Aitzaz Ahsan but the government should take more steps.
“We would take along all the political forces to resolve the problems of nation in future. We would take collective decision to resolve the issues of the people,” he said.
The PPP leader said that he met with American Ambassador on Wednesday and discussed the current situation. The US Ambassador had a clear stand with the government of national consensus, he said.
In reply to a question, the PPP leader said that the business community would tell the clear situation about the economic conditions to the nation. He said that he had also met with US Senators who assured their complete cooperation in this connection, and pledged their support for the masses of Pakistan.
Zardari further said that PPP had found several clues of rigging on the polling day, and had warned the Election Commission to perform its responsibility prudently.
About the terrorism, he said that it was also a problem of Pakistan and we had to resolve it through various techniques. He said that it could not be resolved only with force or negation.
“We will file a petition in the Supreme Court for politicisation in tribal and no-go areas. We want to bring these people in political mainstream. We are using their resources and we admit their right for this purpose,” he said.
Zardari said that Pakistan was facing serious crises and the PPPP government would unite Pakistan and strengthen the system. He said that the PPPP wanted the supremacy and empowerment of Parliament and all the decisions would be taken through Parliament.
Monitoring Desk adds: PPP could accept PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif as the next prime minister of the country. “My party is comfortable with the idea of Nawaz Sharif becoming the prime minister,” Zardari told CNN-IBN in an interview.
Contending that both parties could come together for governance, Zardari said since no party had got a clear mandate, there is a need for reaching out to all parties and he is relying on Nawaz Sharif ‘to do that’.
Zardari confirmed that he had not met Musharraf yet, ‘but is open to having a dialogue with him’.
Terming the poll results a victory for assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and the family, he expressed satisfaction with the poll results as the party ‘fought against all odds’. However, he said he was not sure if his party would be in power or in opposition.
“PPP was the single largest party last time also, yet could not form the government,” he recalled.
Meanwhile, asking the US to stop backing President Pervez Musharraf who had been rejected by the Pakistani people, victorious PPP leader Asif Zardari said he intended to form a ‘broad-based, democratic, liberal’ government.
“Now is the time for miracles in Pakistan…. The international community, especially the United States, must support us in this endeavour instead of continuing with the erroneous belief that alliance with a strongman is its best bet to bring stability to Pakistan,” Zardari said in a commentary in Chicago Tribune.
He said the Pakistani electorate had repudiated the status quo in the Monday elections. “They rose, almost as one, and said “enough” to dictatorship which has exacerbated terrorism in Pakistan,” he said referring to the severe drubbing suffered by pro-Musharraf PML(Q).
“It is the intent of the PPP to form a broad-based, democratic, liberal government – an umbrella of reconciliation and consensus,” said Zardari.


A revolution in waiting! 

Afzal Bajwa
ISLAMABAD -Having first glimpse of election results, analysts had rushed to describe it as a silent revolution, whereas Asif Ali Zardari’s statement that they (PPP) were still a government in waiting seeking actual governance from the powers that be, has forced pundits to rethink their previous jubilations.
Political scientists, tracking down the transition from military rule to so far achieved democratic posture of the country, observed that the PPP’s martyred leader had moderated the extreme popular view of boycotting elections under Musharraf regime. They believed that Banazir Bhutto’s decision to participate in elections lured Mian Nawaz Sharif of PML-N to jump into the political contest, even though belatedly. Thus he, too, moved from the extreme position of a boycott to the moderate stance of taking part in elections obviously following the suit of the party with which they shared the opposition benches for the last five-year term of the National Assembly.
Notwithstanding, the alliance in waiting of the two top winners (PPP-P and PML-N), as per the popular desire, could yield two-third majority in the Lower House of the Parliament, they would hardly be able to take extreme steps against the regime at once. In implementing the so-called popular view, at present, as aired by Zardari in a press conference on Wednesday that they seek the governance not just the government, they (the two majority parties) would require equivalent strength in the Upper House as well. On the other hand the pro-Musharraf parties enjoying more than just simple majority are leading the Senate, presently.
Therefore, undoing a host of steps taken by President Musharraf, which the winning parties describe as restoration of the Constitution, would have to wait till the next elections of the Senate falling due in March 2009.
Having won significant majority in the Lower House, the former combined opposition, only if they go on as a combination, should start the five-year term as a batsman starting the innings of a test as against the ODI match. Starting with striking the opponent would again put the majority winners in an extreme situation, a blatant departure from the moderate stance highlighting the country’s vulnerabilities and adding to the woes of masses.
From investments on halt to the commoners already running from pillar to post for bread and butter, no one can afford anymore perpetuation of the imbroglio in the country ailing its economy besides earning bad name internationally.
Therefore, political pundits have underlined it as a need of the time that two majority winners should move ahead in an alliance even if they have to sit on the opposition benches for the time being.
Meanwhile sources in the presidential camp believe that the two (majority winners) would not be able to join hands in any case, even to form a powerful opposition to Musharraf. They were of the view that the PPP would be accepting a reported offer from the Presidency to form the government with MQM, in fact the PML-Q, leaving the PML-N to lead the opposition in the National Assembly.
So far as the fate of the so-called combination of the PPP-P and the PML-N is concerned, much of it would be known after the Zardari-Nawaz meeting scheduled for Thursday (today).
Finally it appears that a revolution in waiting would be better than the one half-baked, could fire back adding salt to the injuries inflicted on the nation by successive derailments of political and democratic processes in Pakistan.


Nawaz admits PPP’s right to form govt

our Staff Reporter
LAHORE-Former Prime Minister and PML (N)’s Quaid Nawaz Sharif has said that PPP after gaining majority in the elections, has the right to form the next govt.
Talking to the newsmen at his Model Town residence, here on Wednesday, he said that during his meeting with Zardari, emerging political scenario and issues relating to formation of next govt would be discussed.
He said that his party would have the final say in deciding whether to cooperate with the PPP-led govt. He said that Central Working Committee (CWC) would meet on Thursday to decide the party’s future strategy and to what extend the PML (N) could support PPP if it forms govt.
Nawaz said that reinstatement of judges was still his first priority.
The chances of their restoration are bright, he added.
He termed the results of elections 2008 a referendum on Musharraf rule and his policies. He asked President to fulfil his commitment after mandate of the people ,otherwise, his problems will increase.
Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif has contacted Supreme Court Bar Association President Aitzaz Ahsan twice here on Wednesday. In his telephonic conversation, Nawaz consulted Aitazaz about the judges issue. The PML (N) sources also disclosed that the two leaders discussed the judges issue at a greater length. Later Nawaz went to Islamabad.


History or divine retribution

LAHORE-This time it was yet another incumbent President Pakistan Muslim League-Q to lose the election, like his predecessor who did so in 2002.
Interestingly, the former, and the present President Q-League were both losers in the elections on February 18. This time though, their party, which is said to have the official patronage, was also routed by their arch-rival Pakistan Peoples Party and their ‘parent’ party, that is, the N-League.
President PML-Q Ch Shujaat Hussain was contesting the polls from his hometown NA-105 Gujrat-II, and was defeated by the last time runner-up PPP’s Ch Ahmed Mukhtar with a margin of around 14,000 votes – almost the same number of vote difference of the last time when the latter was defeated by Ch Shujaat. This time Ch Mukhtar bagged 77032, while Shujaat got 63797 out of 332332. In 2002, Shujaat had 66809 votes, while Mukhtar had 52632 out of 292310.
From the adjoining constituency NA-104, Shujaat’s brother Ch Wajahat Hussain won it comfortably.
The last president of the PML-Q was Mian Muhammad Azhar, who was former Governor Punjab and Mayor Lahore, besides holding various political offices. During the last elections, Azhar was defeated by independent candidate and Jamaat-e-Islami stalwart Hafiz Salman Butt, who had 25484 votes, while Mian Azhar had gone down to 21641. Both have also been in the league of the Pakistan Football Federation, and had their share of ‘good relations’ during their stints. Then the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal nominated Hafiz Abdul Wadood Shahid (secured 2728 votes). The PML (N) supported Salman Butt in 2002.
This time, Azhar was defeated by a relatively unknown politician of the PML-N Muhammad Riaz, who won it by bagging 55900, while defeating PPP’s Syed Asif Hashmi, who got 24712 votes. Mian Azhar did not figure in the counting of first two positions.
Interestingly, once thrown out of the Q-League, and then accepted back while he was on the verge joining the PPP through courtesy of Syeda Abida Hussain, Mian Azhar was a candidate for the third time in a row from the constituency. He won just once in 1997, and was due for a win again.
Whosoever would be the next President of the Q-League when the Chaudhry from Gujrat ‘chooses to step down’, like his predecessor, it is expected of him to be ready for defeat. This is its history, or the Divine retribution!




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