March 28, 2008

Unnecessary delay

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 6:37 pm


MARCH 28, 2008


There already seems to be a feeling that wheels within wheels are in motion as far as the ‘establishment’ goes in Pakistan, and efforts are on to prevent the new parliamentary government from functioning effectively. Certainly, the PML-N’s Punjab chief, Sardar Zulfikar Khosa, has hinted at this when he has warned there must be no delay in calling a session of the provincial assembly or the party that holds the largest number of seats in that house could begin a protest campaign. These feelings of evident distrust and apprehension from newly elected leaders come alongside rumours of attempts to manoeuvre matters within the various assemblies, and in effect, subvert the democratic process. In the centre too, the whispers in Islamabad are that the presidency retains its confidence that it can still reign supreme over parliament. It seems willing to risk a confrontation to achieve this.

The entire situation is of course immensely unfortunate. In Punjab, the PML-N holds a well-established majority. The former ruling PML-Q has been given a sound thrashing. People now are anxious to see the representatives they voted for assume charge. It is grossly unjust to make them wait so long for no discernible reason. Such delays can only give way to still greater anxieties and tensions, and that does not augur well for the future. Pakistan’s only hope of salvation, of escape from the quagmire of difficulties in which it has become entrapped, is to give democratic government a fair, free chance to stem the rot. This is true at both the provincial and federal levels. As the PML-N has demanded, the assemblies need to be convened and any backstage game halted. Otherwise there can only be more trouble ahead and a state of potentially violent stand-off between elected and unelected forces, throwing the country still deeper into a crisis from which rescuing it may prove almost impossible.

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