May 15, 2008

Where are the PPP stalwarts?

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 11:11 pm
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MAY 16, 2008

The PML-N has finally decided to quit the federal government. It was inevitable that if PPP kept delaying the restoration of the judges, a time would come when it would become impossible for the PML-N to remain in the government. The latter party had agreed to wait till the extended deadline agreed by the PPP, i.e. May 12. However, when even that deadline came and went without any action, the PML-N had little choice.
The voters gave almost a two-thirds majority to the coalition parties. They voted for the reinstatement of the 60 illegally deposed judges and the ouster of General Musharraf. The nation delivered a very clear verdict against the retired general.
It is the country’s great misfortune that at the time when all this was happening, the leadership of the largest party, and therefore the nation, fell on an individual who was hamstrung by the corruption cases against him. The leader of the PPP was not a free agent; he had been granted pardon in his innumerable corruption cases. Because there are no free lunches, there was a quid pro quo: he would do exactly as the general (retd) wanted. Therefore, although under public pressure he signed the Bhurban Declaration promising reinstatement of the judges in 30 days after the formation of the federal government, he used all delaying tactics to avoid this happening.
First he kept on postponing any action. When the date drew near, he departed to Dubai just as Maulana Fazalur Rehman had gone for Umra to avoid dissolving the NWFP assembly. Mian Nawaz Sharif followed him to Dubai and with great difficulty got him to agree to May 12 as the deadline for the resolution in the National Assembly. In the event, Mr Zardari allowed the later date to come and go without agreeing to any one of Mian Sahib’s eminently reasonable proposals. For example, Mian Sahib agreed to allow the PCO judges to stay; he would not have agreed if he was not desperately keen to save the coalition. The dilly-dallying by its boss has had a bad effect on the PPP. Having let down those working for the restoration of the judges and the rule of law, the PPP’s prospects in the next elections, whenever they are held, are going to be bleak. However, the PPP boss will by then have derived all possible benefits from Benazir’s and his Deal with Musharraf.
Because of the corruption cases against him and the pardon given to him by Musharraf, Zardari Sahib is not a free agent; he has to do the general’s bidding. If proof were needed, it is amply provided by the fact that when Mian Shahbaz Sharif travelled to London to join his brother during talks with Mr Zardari, Rehman Malik (the president’s man) also went, and sat in the meeting. The inference is inescapable that the PPP boss was a captive of the NRO, and Rehman Malik had been sent to keep an eye on him. Incidentally, this is the same Rehman Malik who had prevailed upon the chief minister NWFP to ask for postponement of the by-elections, and this purportedly without Mr Zardari’s knowledge.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that the script written as part of the Deal is unfolding gradually, and now we have come to the last pages. It appears the PPP side had been told: in return for the NRO, you will keep Justice Malik Qayyum as the attorney general and Rehman Malik as the interior advisor. You may include PML-N in the federal government, but you will not restore the judges, so that PML-N leaves you and you can then ally with PML-Q and MQM and support Musharraf.
Be that as it may, there is a big question here: the PPP has always been known to have some very big stalwarts: men like ND Khan, Asif Ahmed Ali, Raza Rabbani, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and many others. The question is: where are they? Why don’t they do something? Can’t they see which way the PPP’s policies are leading the party.
This biggest, most progressive, moderate and liberal party is fast becoming a pariah in the political field, more or less like the PML-Q. But then PML-Q was never a party, only a group who have been hangers-on on the coat tails of the powers-that-be. In contrast, the PPP has a proud history of resistance, struggle, and sacrifice. Why is it being allowed to become a party like the PML-Q? It does not deserve the fate that awaits it unless its direction is changed. To conclude, the stalwarts in the PPP should do something, otherwise their great and glorious party will not remain worth being in.


1 Comment »

  1. PPP(Q) and Pakistan Peoples Party are two different entites now, workers are dejected. Leadership is not interested in the affairs of the poor people. Very pathatic state of affairs May Allah Save Pakistan Amin.

    Comment by Tahseen Alam Khan — May 16, 2008 @ 6:53 am | Reply

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