The game from here on is all about the caretakers. The four major players in the field are: the PPP, the PML-N, the Supreme Court and the Pakistan Army.
The race now is between the GHQ, on the one side, and the Zardari-Nawaz political combine on the other side.
The PPP was bent upon retaining power till early next year, come what may, including sacrificial lambs as the PMs, Contempt of Court Law 2012 and every other delaying tactic in the bag of PPP’s master politician, its co-chairman and our President Asif Ali Zardari. But Zardari has now been forced to recalibrate.
The PML-N is on a tightrope; dying to win an early election but doing every thing humanly possible to keep the democratic flotilla afloat.
Nawaz Sharif is on a high-wire; dying to bring down Zardari but doing everything humanly possible to keep the GHQ out of the game.
The old Supreme Court has had a tradition of treating the ruling politicians, the rich and the uniformed above the law of the land.
For 62 years, the ruling class, the moneyed class and the uniformed class had no de facto constitutional check over them. The new Supreme Court is bent upon breaking the tradition – and the predators don’t like it a bit.
The GHQ, as it is, has too many fronts open. At the GHQ there is a consensus that the Pakistani flotilla is sinking but along with that consensus there is confusion, disorientation and, borrowing General (r) Mirza Aslam Baig’s term, waiting for a ‘command decision’. A chess-master once said, “The mistakes are all there waiting to be made.”
To be certain, as there are wheels within wheels there are games within games. There is the all crucial executive-judicial tussle and then there is the triangular PPP-PML-N-PTI tussle.
If the executive-judicial tussle catches fire there will be a constitutional vacuum – a vacuum that can potentially be filled by a non-PPP, non-PML-N, GHQ-backed caretaker setup.
The Zardari-Nawaz combine is rushing into reaching a consensus on a caretaker setup. Nusrat Javed, journalist par excellence, has coined three potential caretakers: Hafeez Shaikh, Shaukat Tareen and Asad Umar.
Allah, Army and America have long been the cliché in this land of the pure. Hafeez Shaikh has America with him and perhaps some parts of the Army as well. Shaukat Tareen has been Citibank’s country manager – the American connection – and has support within the GHQ.
Asad Umar is praying hard to Allah and is the son of a two-star army general. The two other names doing rounds are Asma Jahangir and Hussain Haroon.
The PPP and PML-N are burning midnight oil trying to counter any move from Rawalpindi.
The game, to be sure, is rigged but “don’t let that stop you because if you don’t play, you can’t win.”
The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email: farrukh15 @hotmail.com
What US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has told President Hamid Karzai in Kabul – “Please know that the United States will be your friend and ally” – has a ring of deja vu about it. We in Pakistan have heard all this hypocritical talk before. Afghans know they are winning the war. They also know how to deal with foreign armies of occupation. “How true it is that it is not the losing that hurts most, but to whom you lose.”
Flashback to May 1, 1947, when Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah received two American visitors at his Bombay residence. They were Raymond A Hare, head of the State Department’s Division of South Asian Affairs and Thomas E Weil, second secretary of the US embassy in India. He sought to impress on his visitors that the emergence of an independent, sovereign Pakistan would be in consonance with American interests. Pakistan, as a Muslim country, would be a bulwark against Soviet aggression. This was the beginning of our romance with the United States.
We remained blissfully unaware of the determination of the US joint chiefs of staff that in the event of war, the United States had no intention of rushing to the assistance of Pakistan, even if Pakistan were to be one of the countries attacked by the Soviet Union. Our mistaken belief that the United States would rush to our help if India attacked Pakistan was shattered when Indian troops crossed our border in 1971 and physically entered East Pakistan. America, our ally and long-time friend, did nothing to help repel Indian aggression.
The Farewell Address of George Washington will ever remain an important legacy for infant nations. In that notable testament, the Father of the American Republic cautioned that “an attachment of a small or weak toward a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.” The strong might have interests and objectives that could be of little real importance to the weak; but once the latter submitted to acting the role of a satellite, it would find it no easy task to avoid being used as a tool by the strong.”
George Washington highlighted the dangers inherent in an unequal relationship between a very strong nation and a weak nation and the folly of a weak nation succumbing to the belief that “real favours” would flow to it from the strong partner. It is folly in one nation, George Washington observed, to look for disinterested favours from another...it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character. No truer words have been spoken on the subject.
One thing is clear: there can be no friendship between the strong and the weak. There can no friendship between unequals, neither in private life nor in public life. “The strong do what they can,” the Athenians told the intractable Melians, “and the weak must suffer what they must.”
If you want to know what happens to a Third World country when it enters Uncle Sam’s embrace, don’t look at Africa or Latin America. Visit Pakistan. It appears as if we are on a phantom train that is gathering momentum and we cannot get off. Surely, this can’t be our signature as we turn the page into a new millennium.
“Nothing is more precious,” Ho Chi Minh famously said, “than independence and freedom.” Thanks to Americans, we lost both on Gen Musharraf’s watch when he capitulated, said yes to all the seven demands presented to him at gunpoint by Secretary of State Colin Powell and joined the “Coalition of the Coerced.” On that day, Pakistan rented itself out to the United States and became what Stephen Cohen calls a “rentier state.”
These are days without shame or glory in Pakistan. This is the bleakest era in the history of Pakistan since 1971. Today we sit on a boiling kettle. Twenty years ago, Pakistan was no paradise but it wasn’t in crisis either. The independence of Pakistan is a myth. Pakistan is no longer a free country. It is no longer a democratic country. Today Pakistan is splattered with American fortresses, seriously compromising our internal and external sovereignty. People don’t feel safe in their own country because any citizen can be picked up by FBI agents in collusion with our government and smuggled out of the country, making a mockery of our independence and sovereignty. To apply the adjective “sovereign” to the people in today’s Pakistan is a tragic farce.
“The single greatest threat to (Pakistan),” Obama said recently, “comes from Al-Qaeda and their extremist allies.” This is not true. All our major problems, including terrorism, stem from the American invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. It has turned our tribal area into a protracted ulcer, a quagmire-a place where Pakistan is spending blood and treasure to protect American interests.
“The United States,” Obama said, “has great respect for the Pakistani people.” Invading our territory, carry out military operations on our soil, bombing our villages and killing innocent men, women and children, Mr President, is no way of earning the respect of our people.
These are tense times in Pakistan. We have entered a liminal period. The alienation between the people of Pakistan and the United States has never been more intense. Relations between Pakistan and the United States have never been as stormy as they are today. The Obama administration does not seem to be aware of the tectonic shift that is well underway. One thing is clear. United States has lost Pakistan forever.
Today we stand alone. Such are the harsh realities inherent in an unequal relationship. It is time to wake up. At this time all those among us who love this country and see the perils of the future must draw together and take resolute measures to restore Pakistan’s independence and sovereignty. Failing that, a long polar night will descend on Pakistan.
Few Pakistanis seem ready to die or make any sacrifice for anything. “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” Pakistan no longer exists, but by that I mean the country of our dreams, our hopes and our pride. I am really astonished at the ease with which our people accustom themselves to the life of a herd of sheep and the loss of their independence and liberty. And I wonder why we have allowed such indignities to be visited upon our nation-and for so long. The answer is that we no longer own our country. At times, I want to buy a hundred bullets, use 99 on the architects of our misfortunes and humiliation – corrupt politicians, bureaucrats, army generals, corrupt judges, all those who stole the Pakistani dream – and save one for myself.
Today we are alone in the ring. The country is plunging dizzily into the unknown and terrible future. “Liberty once lost,” Adams famously told his countrymen, “is perhaps lost forever.” Our cupboard is bare. The only antidote to this debilitating situation is to throw out this corrupt government and give the people a chance to elect their representatives with a fresh mandate. Everybody knows this is the only effective answer.
Our corrupt rulers can’t bring themselves to face up to three glaringly obvious truths: the first is that Pakistanis are tired of fighting the so-called “war on terror” on their soil. Our soldiers are fighting a proxy war in our tribal area against their own people for no reason whatsoever. The second truth is that the suicidal war in the tribal area will go on unless Obama changes course. Meanwhile, Pakistan will pay a terrible price in blood and treasure. Unless we disengage ourselves from America’s “war on terror,” suicide bombing and explosions will go on unabated. Pakistan will bleed itself to death.
The writer is a former federal secretary. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.roedadkhan.com
Here we go again. Dragging poor Asad Umar into this again. He's denied it several times over the course of the last few weeks. But the rumour mill continues...
I really can't imagine how the people like this writer have the courage to face the public. All of his life he supported dictators (like Zia, Ishaq) to prolong their unconstitutional and illegal regimes. Its the ripe time for them to disappear from the public life and spent whatever of it is left in repentance of what foulplay they have been doing in their whole life.
Pakistan mein aisay issues per likha jaana chahiey aur baat honi chahiey.............Hamara media sirf siasatdanoon ki rishwat aur Pak-America relations per hi baat kerta hay, these issues need very urgent attention....................
Kash iss qaom ko apni baimari ka pata chal jaey, ilaj tu bahot dooor ki baat hay........Hum loog abhi tak unn masail mein phansay howay hein jo bilkul laghv hein aur unn ki koi ahmeeyat nahn..................
I consider Ghulam Ishaq and him true patriots. Much better than bhuttos and sharifs who only made them self prosperous on the expense of poor people of Pakistan
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)