Opinion Politics

Why Sharifs are out?

Just one year-when country’s political arena returned to democratic process; acute political turbulence has created chaotic situation. Political analysts can foresee coming few days more troubled because reconciliatory efforts by the small coalition parties including Asfand Yaar Wali’s ANPO and Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman’s Jamiat Ullema Islam and repeated commitments shown by the leaders of Pakistan People’s Party and Prime Minster seem to be futile. Press Conference conducted by Salman Taseer sounded more a personal attack on Disqualified Chief Minister of Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif rather than bringing some development project for the betterment of 9 karor people of Punjab.

A total patch of 1990 reveals history of confrontation and hostility between PML and PPP. During this decade Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League served country each in two terms. Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif became the premiers of country twice but neither could accomplish single term. General Pervaiz Musharraf ouster Nawaz Sharif in wake of hijacking the plane; flying Musharraf back home from an overseas trip; he came in power in 1999. This is the same crime in which Supreme Court of Pakistan convicted Sharif Brothers illegible that restrained them to participate in Elections. Disqualification forced Shahbaz Sharif’s to leave Chief Minster’s position despite the fact PML-N enjoyed the majority in Punjab province in last elections.

Politics of agitation:
There are several reasons for their disqualification including politics of agitation waged by both the political parties that has hampered the chances of growth of an embryonic democracy. In last elections; after the death of Former Premier Benazir Bhutto; Asif Zaardari enticed PML-N into a coalition government. Seasoned politicians termed it an unnatural alliance that lacked potentials to sustain for long. Even then masses yearned to see political process go on; they envisioned this coalition as a lesson from 40 years long history of military rule that left Pakistan in dogs. I may sound biased but President Asif Ali Zardari being unfair imposed a Governor Rule in Punjab soon after the court’s decision came.

Sharifs along with others decided to join hands in Lawyers movement and moreover in Long March being held on March 12 for the restoration of independent Judiciary. Asif Zaradari promised to restore judges and remove the 17th amendment from constitution as soon as his party would resume office but he did not keep his words even after one year rather protected judges from Musharraf era. Sharifs being irked found it incumbent upon them to fight against these political scams; so they actively participated in movement.

In last term; Nawaz Sharif opened corruption cases against Asif Ali Zaradri; He was imprisoned for eight years and Benazir Bhutto was banished out of country. Her reconciliatory efforts brought both the parties together and Musharraf doffed off and resigned from Presidency. Earlier National Reconciliation Order was approved by Musharraf to bring both the exiled leaders back in Pakistan awarding them amnesty.

Zaradari’s reservations on restoration of Independent Judiciary:
Before Zardari resumed office of President of Islamic republic of Pakistan in September 2008; he was already enraged over why judges including Ch. Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudry did not try to release him despite the fact he was never convicted for any of his crimes he was accused of. Political analysts foresee his decision of not restoring judges as a part of his apprehensions and may be avenge. He has premonitions that these suspended judges by Musharraf in November 2007 may open his cases and convict him. He is forewarned that NRO may nullify if these judges be restored and if lawyer’s movement is successful. Nawaz Sharif has clearly uttered that his disqualification was not a legal order but a presidential order to Supreme Court. One can easily find it logical in circumstances when PML-N has announced its loyalties for Lawyers Movement till the judges are restored.

West is cautious of the Sharifs:
West is wary of Nawaz Sharif and does not find him a reliable person as he was the man who disobeyed and playd role in giving a Nuclear Status to Pakistan; many critics find this very reason for Musharraf’s coup ejecting Nawaz Sharif out of his elected Government. Furthermore America strongly believes that Nawaz Sharif inclination towards the religious and nationalist groups that opposes the war on terrorism. However for USA and West recent political crisis is a challenge as their media is saying the ongoing political battle between two major political parties could be so debilitating that nuclear-armed Pakistan could end up in the ranks of failed states, alongside Somalia and Zimbabwe. Foreign Media is giving hints for Military interventions once again.

Army devoid of backing Sharifs:
Army has no reason to back Sharif despite the fact that Asif Ali Zardari has a pro-American and Pro-Indian approach and his party has invited enough hatred among the people of Pakistan and become unpopular in just one year. After coup by Musharraf; Sharifs were charged for denying the landing rights to plane carrying Musharraf and 200 other people. Further more charges also alleged that Sharif had attempt to collect men and arms in preparation for a counter coup and had sought to kill Musharraf. He was also convicted of corruption an banned for life from political activites. But an alleged deal, reputedly brokered by the Saudi Government saved him and other family members from being put behind the bars. In December 2000, Sharif went into self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia.

He had bad relations with Army during his both terms; in 1998, he was confronted by another stand-off after army head said army should formally have a say in running of the government. Tensions increased with the Army in 1999 when Nawaz Sharif was alleged to used his influence to withdraw Pakistani forces from the Indian side of the Line of Control in Kahmir in 1999.

Furthermore Gen. Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayyani Army Chief of Staff has reiterated his wish to keep the army out from politics. Therefore army would seldom back Sharifs.

Politics of Principals:
Since it is widely believed that politics in Pakistan has become a filthy game; and Nawaz Sharif along with his party workers denied to be a part of this. Even PML-N has rsigned from Federal Ministerial status when Zardari was not ready to fulfil his promises. It is also perceived by PML-N that PPP government has violated the understanding called Charter of Democracy reached between Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif under which they agreed to respect each other’s mandate, restore 1973 constitution to its original shape and would not allow undemocratic forces to destabilize the system.

PML-N demanded politics of principals and clear-cut policy on war against terrorism, setting up of Truth and Reconciliation Commission and relief for the people from PPP government moreover Asif Ali Zaradri; who has yet not restored1973 constitution and kept avoiding issue of 17th amendment and it is still part of Constitution awarding him dictatorial powers. Sharifs along with party leadership kept criticizing Asif Ali Zardari for following the footsteps of Musharraf with a wish he should not. And the coalition should bear positive result in shape of workability of system.

I might sound biased despite the fact that my father had political affiliations with Pakistan People’s Party; Sharifs along with their party still are more popular and majority has right to formulate government. We can not afford another 1971. I can concede with Supreme Court’s decision of disqualifying Sharifs if the characters of Judges are above the suspicions but like every other concerned Pakistani i am staunch believer that Governor Rule is unjustified in presence of fully elected assembly and it could have been the last option.

About the author

Rubab Saleem

Rubab Saleem is Editor of Pakistan Times

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