↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

There can't be two suns in the sky - Roedad Khan

I was present at the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Junejo at the State Guest House in Rawalpindi. He said all the right things in his speech and expressed the hope that he will have the blessing and support of the president in facing the arduous task lying ahead of him. Not a bad beginning, we all thought and heaved a sigh of relief. But in his very first meeting with the president, without expressing a word of thanks, he said abruptly: "Mr President, when do you plan to lift martial law?" Zia kept his cool, but realised that he had made a wrong choice. Relations between the two became frosty. They were soon on a collision course and a showdown was inevitable. Junejo was a democrat and made no secret of his determination to get rid of martial law and missed no opportunity to assert his independence. Zia resented this. What upset him most was that power was fast slipping out of his hands and flowing in the direction of the prime minister and he could do nothing about it. When I called on Zia at the Presidency in Rawalpindi a few days after Junejo was sworn in, deathly silence prevailed. There was not a scrap of paper on his table and he looked visibly under-employed and quite unhappy. Things had not worked out the way he had planned. He wanted Junejo to seek his prior approval in all important cases. Junejo was in no mood to oblige and was not prepared to be a puppet prime minister. Junejo's fate was sealed. His days were numbered. It was now only a question of time.

No dictator, civilian or military, gives up power voluntarily or peacefully. That is the lesson of history. Anyone who thinks President Zardari will allow himself to be stripped of all power and transfer it to the prime minister must have his head examined. He should go home, take a nap, wake up refreshed and think again. Long ago, Trotsky wrote, "No Devil cuts off his claws voluntarily." Why should Zardari?


Post a Comment

<< Home