CIVIL SOCIETY PAKISTAN

May 31, 2008

Writing on the wall (RETIRED GENERAL MUSHARRAF MUST LEAVE)

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 1:37 am
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THE NATION

MAY 31, 2008

EDITORIAL

THE Presidency yet again is attracting a lot of attention. In one way, it is the rumour factory churning out numerous stories to the effect that the President plans to step down in a few days. But the President was quick to refute these claims as malicious, and purveyed by those who wanted political instability in the country. He was right in saying that he did not believe in confrontation, rather he was all for a reconciliatory approach. Of course, as things stand today, particularly the precarious scenario created by a crippled economy and the volatile law and order situation in our tribal areas, it is political unrest that should be avoided. But that said, and putting aside all sorts of rumours, the fact remains that this time around, the political pressure on General Musharraf to resign is unprecedented. Most notably, it has been coming from circles which earlier were not so hostile to him. On that score, it would not be totally out of place to rule out the fact that he is not merely startled by a jack in the box. Of late, PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, who earlier described the President as a ‘relic of the past’, has now been very much vocal in his criticism, saying that he was against the status quo.
Then there are other developments too, like Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo joining the PPP within weeks of his induction as Advisor to the Prime Minister on Production and Industries Though ostensibly it has nothing to do with the ongoing offensive against the President, it might come in handy when getting a two-thirds in the joint House will be the motive. Of significance is PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar’s categorical statement that the President must resign or face impeachment. More than that, Prime Minister Yousaf Reza Gilani, who up until now had been pretty docile on the issue, says that it was the ‘unholy alliance’ of the military-bureaucratic oligarchy, which was responsible for derailing democracy in the country over the years.
Considering the emerging picture, it seems that the extent of differences between the President and Parliament is simply overwhelming. But it is worth mentioning that the trouble intensified with the unveiling of the constitutional package proposed by the PPP. The President’s refusal not to budge an inch over matters like Article 58(2b) and the power to appoint the services chiefs have only acted as a catalyst. It appears that he himself is the architect of his misfortunes. Moreover, the elected leadership’s insistence on his ouster is reflective of the public sentiment. It is hoped that the President would see the writing on the wall and walk away quietly.

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