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Sunday, April 27, 2008

In Government But Acting As Opposition

They are in power. They are distributing ministries like there is no tomorrow in some cases. But the dichotomy is they are unable to shed their "opposition" mentality.

It has been seventy days since the elections and twenty seven since taking oath. What do they have to show for this time except statements, discussions and committee formations to deal with issues that they had ample time to resolve from day one.

Committees can be way to shelf or postpone unpleasant decisions. Some have learned this well.

Asif Zardari is in a bind and so is Nawaz Sharif. Humayun Gohar writes:

Zardari is in a bind. He balks at the reinstatement of the errant judges, especially their chief, for he thinks, almost certainly correctly, that it will be bad for him. But if they don't get reinstated Nawaz might walk out of the coalition, make life impossible for him in the Punjab, grow in opposition and win the next elections.

Nawaz Sharif too is in a bind. He knows that the judges' return will be bad for the president, who is his real target. That it might also be bad for Zardari is a bonus, for it will get a competitor for his "throne" out of the way. So there could be a triple benefit for him - the president gone, Zardari neutered and himself cock of the walk. But if they don't get reinstated and he walks out, Zardari could get into bed with Musharraf's Q-League and he could lose Punjab the "bastion of power".

Is Nawaz being petty, vengeful, unforgiving or being statesmanlike?

I claim no special insight in his cranial cavity. But if I can offer my perception I would say that Nawaz has not coped well with the events since he tried to replace the Army Chief with Lt. Gen. Butt. The Army brass disapproved of that maneuver. Overthrow, trial, Attack Jail, the negotiations for Five, Seven, Ten Years of banishment, denial of any written agreement, then changing his stance ... during all this time he blamed one person for his owes - Musharraf.

He conveniently forgets event ... his attempts to become Amir ul Momineen through an Constitutional Amendment, the removal of Chief Justices, attacking parliament, corruption and nepotism during his charge.

But he does not forget Musharraf.

Amina Jilani reinforces

...and certainly not his 15th amendment (re: Amir ul Momineen) from which we were saved by his totally erratic behaviour on October 12 1999. He is now utterly obsessed by the issue of the judiciary, although his real thoughts on judicial independence are well known to us. In November 1997 his party organised the physical storming of the Supreme Court. His intent to restore (not that it has ever been there) what he terms the independence of the judiciary has all to do with his neurotic hang-up about ridding himself of President General Pervez Musharraf. His party is not known for its internal democracy.

To have a single minded purpose in life is admirable - if it is positive. If his focus is redemption for past misdeeds, or amelioration of conditions in Pakistan then it is admirable. But increasingly it appears he is stuck in the past.

Ishaq Dar is hinting that petrol prices are unrealistic and hints at an increase of over Rs. 16 per litre. The flour, rice and other essentials are increasingly getting out of the grasp of the poor. Increasingly, the poor are resorting to that which is haraam - suicide. Electricity is perennially in short supply.

And our Prince of Raiwind is stuck in the past.


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