Aitzaz denies he is replacing Gilani as PM

Aitzaz Ahsan

By Mehreen Zahra-Malik

ISLAMABAD: In an intriguing political development, PPP leader and former president Supreme Court Bar Association, Aitzaz Ahsan, is being tipped as the likely replacement of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. Highly informed sources close to President Asif Ali Zardari told The News that barring certain procedural hiccups, the decision to bring in Aitzaz may be as good as final.

Whatever else may be said about President Zardari, one thing is for certain: the co-chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party has a special knack for surprising his friends and foes alike. This Tuesday, addressing crowds at Garhi Khuda Bux on the fourth death anniversary of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, President Zardari left political observers perplexed once more with his garrulous eulogising of Aitzaz Ahsan.

The president thanked Aitzaz for coming to Naudero and, in an unprecedented move, announced that Aitzaz’s speech was next, after the president’s. Indeed, Aitzaz Ahsan appeared to be the keynote speaker at the event.

According to a source extremely close to the president, it seems that serious discussions are underway about replacing Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani with Aitzaz. “It is a fact that this option is being considered,” the source told The News. “Gilani may go. It’s a serious option. We can say with certitude that Aitzaz as prime minister is becoming a bigger and bigger possibility everyday.” ….

Read more » The News

A death trap in Rawalpindi – D Asghar

BB was her father’s daughter in every sense and respect, who staunchly believed that the people are able to decide their own destiny. No matter who they are, what social sphere they belong to, they have a voice and a choice

My birthplace, Rawalpindi, has a strange notoriety: it has been extremely unlucky for the prime ministers of Pakistan. Liaquat Ali Khan became a victim of Syed Akbar’s bullet back in 1951, in what was then known as Company Bagh. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was murdered in 1979, at Rawalpindi Central Jail. I use the term ‘murdered’, although he was supposedly sentenced to death by the Lahore High Court, and the Supreme Court had upheld that verdict, for obvious reasons. It is commonly termed as a ‘judicial murder’. His daughter, twice elected prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto became a victim of an assassin’s bullet four years back in December 2007. What a strange coincidence that she died at the same Company Bagh, now known as Liaquat Bagh. Boy what a death trap that Company Bagh is. …

Read more » Daily Times

Asma Jehangir blasts Gen. Shuja Pasha for meeting Mansoor Ijaz

Asma Jehangir blasts Pasha for meeting Mansoor Ijaz

ISLAMABAD: A day after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had adopted a soft attitude towards the military leadership, the top spymaster came under intense scrutiny in the Supreme Court hearing a set of petitions in the memo case here on Tuesday.

“I called these petitions ‘benami’ (anonymous) because two of its respondents are the actual petitioners,” Advocate Asma Jehangir argued while alluding to Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha who are named as parties in the petitions.

In her usual assertive and hard-hitting style, Ms Jehangir, the counsel for former ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani, asked why one of the petitioners changed his mind two days after writing a letter to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and then filing petitions in the Supreme Court. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

The Generals, Pakistan’s General Problem – How Pakistan’s Generals turned the country into an international disaster

BY Mohammad Hanif

What is the last thing you say to your best general when ordering him into a do-or-die mission? A prayer maybe, if you are religiously inclined. A short lecture, underlining the importance of the mission, if you want to keep it businesslike. Or maybe you’ll wish him good luck accompanied by a clicking of the heels and a final salute.

On the night of 5 July 1977 as Operation Fair Play, meant to topple Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s elected government, was about to commence, then Army Chief General Zia ul Haq took aside his right-hand man and Corps Commander of 10th Corps Lieutenant General Faiz Ali Chishti and whispered to him: “Murshid, marwa na daina.” (Guru, don’t get us killed.)

General Zia was indulging in two of his favourite pastimes: spreading his paranoia amongst those around him and sucking up to a junior officer he needed to do his dirty work. General Zia had a talent for that; he could make his juniors feel as if they were indispensable to the running of this world. And he could make his seniors feel like proper gods, as Bhutto found out to his cost.

General Faiz Ali Chishti’s troops didn’t face any resistance that night; not a single shot was fired, and like all military coups in Pakistan, this was also dubbed a ‘bloodless coup’. There was a lot of bloodshed, though, in the following years—in military-managed dungeons, as pro-democracy students were butchered at Thori gate (Thorri Phaatak) in rural Sindh, hundreds of shoppers were blown up in Karachi’s Bohri Bazar, in Rawalpindi people didn’t even have to leave their houses to get killed as the Army’s ammunition depot blew up raining missiles on a whole city, and finally at Basti Laal Kamal near Bahawalpur, where a plane exploded killing General Zia and most of the Pakistan Army’s high command. General Faiz Ali Chishti had nothing to do with this, of course. General Zia had managed to force his murshid into retirement soon after coming to power. Chishti had started to take that term of endearment—murshid—a bit too seriously and dictators can’t stand anyone who thinks of himself as a kingmaker.

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