Don’t Mess with PPP or Zardari!
By Saeed Qureshi
No one has the guts to dislodge the incumbent PPP government. The prime and overpowering reason is that this party enjoys a majority in the parliament. AAZ as a shrewd puppeteer has tied such rubber stamp parties as MQM and ANP with the political apron-string of PPP, whose own political clout and profiteering depends upon the agreeable nod and patronage from Asif Ali Zardari.
They are like small streams looking formidable because of their presence and merger in an ocean. The Ocean should be treated as metaphor for the encompassing political tenacity and resilience of PPP to remain trenchant in the riotous political arena of Pakistan.
Had the PPP been debased or lost its popularity, the Multan citizens would not have voted for Abdul Qadir Gilani and enable him to capture the national assembly seat vacated by his father, the former Prime Minister Gilani. It is forgone and a much assured guess that in all the by-polls, the PPP’s nominated candidates would triumph. The Multan contest was a test case to measure-up the political standing of both Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and PML Nawaz faction. The joint candidate of both these parties Shaukat Hayat Bossan lost to Qadir Gilani.
The Supreme Court and the rest of judiciary have been turned into a laughing stock for handing out the galore of verdicts and the executive blowing these away with disdain and mockery. In implementing surfeit of decisions by the Supreme Court, the acting chairman of PPP and the president of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari have kept the apex court at bay. One example is defiance or disregard of Supreme Court’s unambiguous orders for writing a letter to the Swiss authorities for reopening the money laundering cases of Asif Ali Zardari and his deceased spouse Benazir Bhutto.
Now the shrewish and bellicose attorney general of Pakistan Irfan Qadir categorically and rather impetuously tells the Supreme Court that the government would not write such a letter to the Swiss court. The Memogate issue has been relegated to the cold storage, the Abbottabad commissions’ proceedings have gone into hibernations.
Despite threats by the religious parties both political and non-political, the NATO overland supply has been resumed. Similarly the Hajj scandal, the ephedrine quota case seems to be gone with the winds and no one in the government give a dam to the highest judiciary’s orders.
Mr. Zardari, who is pulling the strings and leading the game of wits and political brinkmanship from the safe fortress and the imposing building of the presidency, knows well that army would not intercede for upholding the Supreme Court’s various verdicts. The army is docile and detached because of her total commitment to the military operations in the tribal belt and also a unremitting engagement in the troubled Balochistan. Also the army would not opt to meddle in politics and grab power as this would be worst time for the military leadership to do so. As the adage goes, the army’s top brass would not like to fish in troubled waters.
The opposition parties are in a state of disarray, dejection and dissolution. These parties have utterly failed to build up a strong and formidable movement or front against the government on such volatile and provocative issue as target killings, rampant and endemic lawlessness, the rising prices, the mushrooming corruption of the ruling cabal, decay of the nation- building institutions, the broken-down municipal system, the galloping inflation, and on top of all the grinding power shortage atrociously affecting every aspect of life and population in Pakistan.
The press has been tamed and fixed. The recent drama with Malik Riaz Hussain as the main hero and villain has spilled the beans as to how the self-styled saints and moralists among the journalists were the recipient and beneficiary of cores of graft and sell-out rewards from him. The arch journalists have been so nakedly exposed for their clandestine wheeling dealing with the shady individuals who are immersed in corruption and loathsome money-making pursuits. That lethal lightening rod must have fallen on the high profile and preeminent media charlatans, presumably, at the behest of Mr. Zardari.
So he knows the art of fixing the non-conformists and taming the rebellious or rowdy elements in every walk of life, be it the ministers, the lawyers, the journalists, the judges and even the military top notches. The PPP’s traditional vote bank is as intact and would remain so as are the assets of Mr. Zardari in offshore accounts and in the Swiss banks.
He is a past master in making rapprochements and reconciliations. But he is a ruthless executioner as well. Where is Babar Awan who used to be as the lead cavalier for the PPP and the front man of president Zardari in rejoinders, reviling and foul mouthing the opponents? He was disgracefully kicked out of the party and the government when he dithered on bailing out Mr. Gilani in the court as a witness. AAZ has been able to command and extract unconditional and absolute loyalty from his associates and cohorts. In returns he treats them with utmost care like an indulgent godfather and cardinal patron.
A clever and foxy person as he is, he possesses the abundant ability and adroitness to deflect the dark darks clouds that gather around the PPP and himself from time to time. He has always come out with amazing success and scoring victory over his raucous political adversaries. His four years’ track record eloquently bears out that he has been inimitable in browbeating and disarming his political opponents.
As for the people’s outcry for their woes, he gives a dam to it. Understandably, the agitations or protests can be effective only if there are sincere and dedicated leaders to lead them. And in Pakistan there are self-centered, greedy and myopic pygmies whose vision is as narrow as their concern is negligible for the well being of Pakistan and Pakistanis.
If all are chips of the same faulty and reprobate block then it hardly makes any difference whether you support and stand by Zardari or his adversaries. Better vote for PPP. After all it is a revolutionary party with a heavy backlog of plentiful sacrifices and hardships. More so because it is headed by a consummate, crafty and matchless navigator.
The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat
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