CIVIL SOCIETY PAKISTAN

May 3, 2008

Off tenterhooks?

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 1:32 am
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THE NATION

MAY 03, 2008

EDITORIAL

THE keenly awaited announcement by Mian Nawaz Sharif that both the PPP and the PML-N are in full agreement to reinstate the deposed judges through a parliamentary resolution on May 12 would be widely welcome in the country. According to him, an official notification to that effect would be issued the same day. Law Minister Naek (PPP), asked to comment, endorsed Mian Sahib’s remarks, though he added that there might be differences in the constitutional package to be followed but was hopeful they would be sorted out. The positive outcome of the marathon discussion has given the nation the feeling their coalition would after all survive and the hope that several urgent issues calling for quick action would receive its attention.


The country can ill afford to return to the type of politics that characterised the 1988-1999 period. The intense rivalry between the two mainstream parties leading to a no-holds-barred struggle provided the establishment ample opportunity to play one against the other like pieces on a chess board, finally leading to the sweeping away of the democratic set-up through a military coup. The country has yet to come out of the negative effects of the policies pursued subsequently. The new government has yet to begin to cope with the phenomenal poverty, a horrendous power crisis and the spectre of extremism and suicide bombings. Under the circumstances there is all the more need on the part of the two mainstream parties to resolve the issue of the deposed judges urgently through mutual accommodation. While the PPP claims it won elections on the plank of its economic programme rather than the restoration of the judiciary, it entered into a solemn agreement to restore the judges within 30 days of coming to power. One hopes it would carry out the promise its leaders have reiterated umpteen times to reinstate the deposed judges in accordance with the Bhurban Declaration, and now after the Dubai negotiations. In case the modalities of the restoration require an extension of the deadline, this should not exceed a few days.


The coalition will be required to resolve a number of other knotty issues in the days to come. One can understand that there are wide differences in the general outlook of the leadership of the two parties. Mr Zardari, who is keen to take all political forces along, has to realise that by trying to please everyone, one is likely to end up displeasing all. Mian Nawaz Sharif on the other hand has to understand that an inflexible stance may not be helpful in maintaining alliances. Similarly the PPP needs to be properly accommodated in Punjab, where it is the junior partner in the coalition. It is natural on the part of the PPP and PML-N, who have been arch rivals in the past, to continue to differ over a host of issues. What needs to be ensured is that the differences are kept within manageable limits.

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