by Mohammad Ali Mahar, Austin, TX
The latest word on the street is that Mr. Zardari is getting shunted out of the house on the hill as well as the ivory tower he dwells in complete solitude and indifference to the suffering of the poor mortals (especially Sindhis). Powers that be are said to be planning to swap him with Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s former minister and a close relative, Ishaq Dar. Having reluctantly handed power to a party the establishment never liked or trusted, it has now become clear that AZ’s tryst with power is more than hard a pill for the establishment to swallow.
Telltale signs started emerging a long time ago. Initially it was in the shape of the feelers that they started throwing in the name of ‘Minus One’ formula through their trusted media mongers (Dr. Shahid Masood, for one). Also, on the occasion of the Independence Day, the army chief, instead of attending the ceremony at the Presidency as custom as well as protocol would demand, made it a point to be seen somewhere else. At the same time, he started appearing with the prime minister more and more to show the world who is more important to the Pakistani establishment. Current media tempest, and a subsequent – and unprecedented — statement issued by the Corp Commanders against Kerry-Lugar Bill is one more attempt at discrediting as well as pressuring the Zardari team – Mr. Gilani still being acceptable to the establishment.
There was also a well orchestrated move to create a rift between the powerful politicians, especially, Nawaz Sharif, and Zardari, by using establishment’ s media contacts wherein they brought in former spooks, like Brig. Imtiaz, and Maj. Aamir, to resurrect the dead issues, like creation of IJI and distribution of fund. Thus, killing two birds with one shot – malign Nawaz Sharif and put the blame on Zardari, so that when the troops move in, the politicians in opposition greet them, like in the past.
Gilani, too, receiving a wink and a nod from the powers that matter, has already started distancing himself from the President. A couple of days ago a high level meeting was called at the Prime Minister House for a briefing by the army chief to the important political leaders on the ensuing military actions in South Waziristan. All the major politicians were invited, except for the head of the official PPP, Makhdoom Amin Faheem. The most conspicuous among the absentees, however, being the President of the country, who was not invited to this most important meeting!
The biggest of all signs, the MQM,who is usually first to jump ship as soon as they see the boat sinking, has started distancing from the government policies — Mr. President’s attemps to inveigle them not withstanding. They recently announced that they would oppose some of the bills introduced by the government in the parliament.
Now, the action plan being executed to the minutest of its details, the establishment does not want to bring in Messrs. Nawaz and Shahbaz just at this moment. Hence the most trustworthy person of the Sharif clan, Ishaq Dar.
Mr. Gilani, doing all the establishment’ s bidding, seems to be very much in the game. It remains to be seen, however, how they manage to have a president as well as the prime minister from the same province. What would happen to the doctorine of distribution of powers, according to which if the President is from one province the prime minister must come from some other.
Or, is this doctrine only valid in the case of other provinces than Punjab? We already have a precedence when President (Tarrar), The Prime Minister (Nawaz Sharif), The Army Chief (Jahagir Karamat), Chairman, Senate (Wasim Sajjad), and Speaker of NA (Choudhri Amir Hassan) were all from the same province.
Not that this scenario bodes well for Sindh. Or, democracy.
Courtesy: Sanalist@yahoogroups.com, 18-19 Oct, 2009