CIVIL SOCIETY PAKISTAN

June 9, 2008

Why the foot-dragging?

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 1:19 am
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THE NATION

JUNE 09, 2008

EDITORIAL

COMMENTING on President Musharraf’s long defence of his policies before a small group of journalists on Saturday when he insisted that he had no intention of resigning from office, PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari was emphatic saying once again that if he did not resign, he would have to be impeached. Warning him against creating hurdles to democracy that Mr Zardari possibly visualised General Musharraf was doing by continuing to stick to the seat of power, he told reporters at Jeddah that the Parliament was supreme and had the power to send him or, for that matter, Prime Minister home. His party spokesman Farhatullah Babar has also strongly reacted to the President’s implied threat that he would not accept the status of being a “useless vegetable” (if shorn of powers) and called the observation ‘contempt of Parliament’. He rightly derided his claim that he had promoted democracy as one of the “cruellest jokes” of this century. In the face of the President determination to stay on in office, the warning of JI leader Liaquat Baloch that the refusal to tender resignation signified a new agenda of the President must not be taken lightly and the political forces should move fast in defence of democracy.
Comments from the PML-N could not have been expected to be charitable either and there were indications of frustration at the present confused approach to remove the President. While its Information Secretary Ahsan Iqbal has remarked that if his party had the required strength in the Parliament it could have relieved him of his duties and restored the deposed judges within 24 hours, its spokesman Siddiqul Farooq expressed disappointment at inaction to implement the people’s mandate despite the fact that the coalition parties had the required two-thirds majority to impeach him.
Mr Zardari has termed General Musharraf as “a relic of the past” and an “illegal” President, but there are statement from his party leaders expressing the desire to have a working relationship with him. Besides, to remove that “relic of the past” nothing substantial is being done. Instead, there is a clear evidence of the dragging of the feet. However, If the PPP really intends siding with the forces of democracy, it has to walk the talk by removing the growing perception that its leadership is indirectly propping the President up. Under the circumstances, if the countrywide public rejection of him in the February 18 general election has failed to convince him that he was no longer wanted and if the present stalemate in moving ahead with his removal and the restoration of judges continues, there is little chance that he would himself be ready to say ‘goodbye’.

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