By Javed Qazi, Karachi, Sindh
And finally the Bhuttos have entered in the most powerful office of the country, through a democratic process, after a marathon struggle, asylum and assassinations. They had been to this places three times before and every time they were rolled off from here un-ceremonially. They had met the cost this time too but well before getting in here when MBB was assassinated right at the very epicenter of establishment, the town where their grandfather was sent to gallows in a pitch dark night. It was Bakhtawar standing at the right of President Asif Ali Zardari (just short of formally to be the president of Pakistan as he has yet to take oath) and to his left was standing Asifa, when he was addressing the gathering in PM house today to say thanks to those who have voted him.
He has got votes twice as many his party had. This shows the political acumen of Asif, no one had received so many votes of allies before while being head of the party. Well aware of the very strategic importance of this office in a post 17th amendment scenario, the office which had been very heavy on the democratic forces has now turned out to be very heavy on the anti democratic elements such as PML-Q, who has got severe blow as its two third strength in Punjab and National assembly went merging either in PPP or in PML-N. This Kings party is increasingly in a process of vanishing and very soon it shall be no more in existence accept a few scattered groups to encourage a few military generals to took over the power when politicians are proving mishandling and incompetent by the interference of agencies or by their nepotism and corruption, if history is a guidance.
President post though is intrinsically a despotic in nature, as so much power is concentrated to it, in short term can be helpful to strengthen the democratic forces and more particularly to the secular and liberal forces who had been at a hit list when it was apparently a rule of opportunists, rightists and religious parties under the patronage of ISI. But in the long run the powers it has to shed so that the parliamentary form of government could be strengthened. The point is was Gen Mushraf being a President was catalyst of the article 41 of the constitution that he was representing to the federation and was a president of every single citizen? It therefore is secondary question to ask from Asif shed his powers for that matter the parliament does that at this stage. But it has to be addressed on priority.
PPP which had not received even a simple majority in the lower house of the parliament so that to form a government on its own and was thus compelled to have a coalition government under the circumstances. Now after capturing a president office, which is equally parallel to the position of PM being a chief executive since many of the chief executive powers are vesting with the president after the 17th amendment. Now powers of the chief executive vest with one party (since the president and the PM are both from one party). Hence here it is now a complete government and interestingly not having even a simple majority in the assembly they could run the whole show by making alliances with small groups who would not build pressures on them as had the PML-N being there coalition partner was doing. Even if their government is loosing the support in assembly, the president house shall stay with them until the next elections which will also be held while their president shall still be in office; hence chances of rigging are remote against them. Moreover impeaching the president shall also be next to impossible, because no one could be able to show two third majority in the parliament.
As for as 58 2 b is concerned, I consider it in a present circumstances nothing but a residue of the dictatorships in Pakistan . It is anachronistic (as Dicey argues about the Royal Prerogatives in Britain ’s unwritten constitution) . This may be in the constitution as a power vested with the president but can not be used in coming times as it is vastly a different Pakistan we are living at the moment. However it has a nuisance and could be used as a blackmailing apparatus, hence it is better to be undone.
One can argue that has Asif Zardari blurred the distinction between democratic and anti democratic by having alliances with those who were allies and had prospered under Musharaf’s period at the cost of creating bad governance. It could equally be counter argued that he has used such groups and parties either by creating forward blocks in their parties or by another way for strengthening the democratic forces and sending the dictator back.
It is indeed a great acumen of Asif that he has made so many diversified interests and ideologies to sit under one umbrella of reconciliation under his leadership. Of course he must have made so many promises and agreements with them and surely it is unfortunate that he has gone back of his words he gave to Mian Nawaz. He indeed is having upper hand in all promises and agreements he has made with them.
By and large it more likely could be interpreted at this moment a victory of democratic forces. It is by and large a success of democracy. However if PPP government as well PML-N government in Punjab keep on fighting with each other and bypassing to the rules of game. And equally if the PPP government is not able to create its writ, as well as curtail inflation, and if gets back into nepotism and corruption, as normally it is alleged for its previous tenures. It surely is again a great loss of the common men.
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