Almost ten days back i dedicated my status to “change” in Pakistan on FaceBook. Only when meanings of Change were not interpreted in such manner of regime change. Thus i thought to start a thread and my status was:
Everyone talks about change in political systems, from social perspective, image building or economical growth.. What kind of “Change” Pakistanis want in Pakistan? what is “focal point” for you as a generalized change >> heading towards a Revolution? comments pl
Received diverse opinions including change of total corrupt systems, Change as of dividing Pakistan, Change as of social behaviours, Change as of Leadership to handle all the problems. But one common thing sensed among all the contributors was “worrisome” for crumbling flood ridden Pakistan. Where high inflation, corruption, nepotism, ad-hocism, weak infrastructures, less sense of responsibilities, poverty, weak political systems have declined the rate of progress.
Not only me but whole Pakistan including general masses, government, media and intelligencia starting hearing echos of change with two news came just after the failed techniques of government to tackle flood devastation. And these two news providing impetus for the Change are:
1. Former President Gen. Musharraf announced his return to Pakistan and rejoining Politics.
2. Chairperson of MQM Altaf Hussain’s statement about need for revolution of French style and inviting Patriotic Army Generals to come forward to safeguard Pakistan.
As soon as these news became the part and parcel of Current Affairs discussion Shows; hundreds of ramifications started coming on the screen. The probabilities were directly proportional to the number of anchors discussing this change issue. One theory about “Vote of No Confidence” was coined by Senior analyst Najam Sethi. He discussed the chances for change within Parliament through “vote of no confidence”. He suggested a formula about how can political parties move “vote of no confidence” by conjoining each other. The most favorable situation turned out for Muslim Leagues unification. He himself intriguingly smiling said he was developing a situation.
Thus political jugglers took plunge and PML-Q and PML-F leadership’s meetings flashed on TV Channels screens as breaking news. Furthermore the Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani himself open a pandora box by disclosing that there were no chances of his removal from Government. Besides undemocratic ways and many other things that government somehow itself suggested; Extra-Judicial Steps shook the masses. Who had witnessed Army rule half of the Pakistan’s life showed demanding the intervention of Army. Approaching dates of the 17-judge full bench of the Supreme Court hearing of petitions to determine the contours of its authority of reviewing the mechanism of appointing superior court judges and its impact on the independence of judiciary; introduced by parliament through the unanimously adopted 18th Amendment further added purplexed people.
So much was going on; when a cleched term of “war between the Institutions” clicked the surface. As the saga of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) beneficiaries gained momentum; threatened government’s confusing reactions were observed. The list of NRO beneficiaries carried names of sitting president Asif Ali Zardari and some of the Federal Ministers too was point of worrisome for the government and Prie Minister came forward to safe guard President of Pakistan. Since NRO had been declared as null and void and government remained helpless in getting it approved from it coalition partners in parliament; Supreme Court ordered to re-open the Swiss cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. The judgment requires the reopening of $60 million money-laundering cases involving President Zardari in Swiss courts. A cat and Mouse game started between Supreme Court and Government. A part of the NRO judgment pertaining to President Zardari presented critical questions about the limits of judicial activity, or even activism.
This game took a shape when Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has said that Government respects the decisions of Supreme Court but do not allow institutions to encroach each other’s space. He said:
“We fully respect courts and will implement their verdicts, but there is a need that all institutions work within their constitutional limits,” he said, adding that the president was supreme commander of the armed forces and since immunity to him had been given by parliament under Article 248 of the Constitution, only it could revoke the immunity. “Parliament is a sovereign body and the president is also part of it and, therefore, he should also be given due respect under the Constitution like other institutions.”
“We should respect all institutions. Giving respect to institutions should not mean the judiciary alone. The same can be said about parliament and other institutions.”
He further added that wait for three more years when President’s term would be finished he can be trialed in courts. However when Attorney General Molvi Anwarul Haq told a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Ghulam Rabbani presented a summary approved by the Prime Minister suggesting that cases against the president could not be re-opened in Swiss courts; Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudary’s remarks on summary further threatened the government. Chief Justice said:
“The prime minister is a wise man and he should know the consequences as well (of not implementing the court orders),” the chief justice observed and, after listening to the AG, said: “If you start deviating from the Constitution, you are not doing (this) for yourself, but you are telling someone else. The system has been restored with great difficulty.”
Confusing statements regarding volunteer submission of resignations by NRO beneficiaries by Prime Minster further complicated the situation. The premonitions of government were opined as bewildering on every level. Government ran an anti-government PR Campaign to defame itself while popularity of the government was already at alarmingly lowest levels. Inviting criticism was not only the eventual step, by telling shaky methods to criticize perpetuated government’s weakness. In other words government itself publicized its weakness by becoming loud.
Few of the initiatives though disapproved but still condoned the maturity of Government. Government refused to send letter to Swiss courts for re-opening the cases pertaining President Asif Zardari. Government circles are confident that President Zardari cannot be legally proceeded against while serving as president under article 248 of constitution. Moreover Government stance is legally justified in the constitution about presidential immunity; Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said in the Senate on Friday that parliament had given powers to institutions, including immunity to the president, through the Constitution and only it could withdraw these. A confessional statement by the law minister saying that democracy is under no threat in the country showed the concerns of government. Furthermore Several meetings of PPP Central Executive Committee have been held to discuss the situation.
Another conundrum in this connection ended up with the resignation of Federal Minster for Defense Production Abdul Qayyum Jatoi yesterday; who in a clownish statement said that opportunities to corruption should be equal for everyone. Further his criticism on Chief Justice and Army fanned the flames. His statement was his point of view separated from the party stand point but a large hue and cry was noticed among opposition that sensationalized already alarming situation. However his resignation somewhat put water to the fire.
Army as stakeholder is silent; however one American newspaper has claimed that day before yesterday President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Pervez Kayani met to discuss the current political scenario. The authenticity of the news is yet to be verified.
Neither Former president Musharraf is coming back yet; nor Altaf Hussain’s statement is proved to be true as Senior member of his party Dr. Imran Farooq’s murder has put a hurdle in his way too. Leadership of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz group is not that dumb to take the government through a topsy turvy change keeping in view the suffering economy of flood ridden Pakistan and weak socio-political structures, whereas a war between institutions is predicted. Similar conditions apply to the rest of the parties that were seeking opportunities in current political scenario. The extension in the Chief of Army Staff’s tenure does not let us think of an Army coup that has been referred as the extra-judicial step. Actions of Chief of Army Staff promoted him as staunch supporter of sustainable democracy for the wider interest of country. Bleak chances of the in-House changes are though can not be ignored. But for that too still long process is required. But democratic methods of changing political systems are welcomed.
It is difficult to buy the assumption even; that External powers like USA who has interests in Pakistan; does not find recent political setup conducive for its so-called war on terror. Reviewing the number of Drone attacks within the territory of Pakistan in recent regime reveals government’s willingness to help NATO forces continue their war. Reading between lines can over shadowed this aspect in this case. Bitter fact is they disqualify the change in government at this level; but institutions scuffling within Pakistan helps serving their vested interest in comforting manners.
Further for those who consider 27th September 2010 a day that will decide the fate of Pakistan must note; today Supreme Court is not going to give its verdict on Swiss Cases or NRO in any way. Several other hearings are expected even with small intervals. Thus this Change phenomenon does not carry any substance.
However the malignant mentality with what government is reacting; it need to change demeanor if the survival is its preference. People of Pakistan want the democracy to flourish; despotic Military Rules scorns are not yet healed and they have fought long for getting rid of tyrant Gen. Musharraf. I believe if change is inevitable; attitudes of government should change. Any undemocratic way of changing political system would be condemned at every level of society. It should address the concerns of people of Pakistan; the gravest issue of the flood and 2 million effectees of flood should be more important than any Swiss case or Institutional war. The mammoth challenges of inflation, corruption and rehabilitation of the flood victims should be prime responsibility of the government.
Further more for an amicable solution for puzzling circumstances media should gag for sometimes. Because commercial media sells 24 hours and sniffs news; and trend setters give shades to the news converting it to an issue. Social architects coins theories or conspiracy theories following persuasive models of innovations. Thus opinion making change whole scenario and pressure builds up resulting in chaos. The attitude of ubiquitous presence of media for some peppery stuff should be discouraged. Media is extremely effective tool for the foreign players to manipulate power.
Now All eyes are wide open and focusing the proceedings of Supreme Court on NRO. But destitute majority is not desirous to the “change” referring as regime change because they are aware of what detrimental consequences it can bear however a change is called for that helps in identifying responsibilities and their fulfillment shunning the distracted ways and self interests.