Wednesday, June 20, 2012
The Ouster of Prime Minister Gillani
June 20, 2012
By Saeed Qureshi
The disqualification and consequent unceremonious departure of Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani from the power citadel is a phenomenal political development that should considerably undermine the political standing of the Pakistan People’s Party. As the pinnacle executive of the country, he remained tangled in the eye of a political hurricane for all these four years.
Had president Zardari and the ruling elite class of the PPP faithfully sailed along the PMNL in fulfilling the accords reached out between these two paramount political parties, this grave debacle could have never happened. The country would have moved forward with institutional consolidation and national harmony. With thoughtful plans, they could have propelled Pakistan towards prosperity and societal peace. Perhaps the stifling civic amenities would not be there in such frightening and abysmal proportions as these are now.
With the achievement of historic mandate in both the houses of the parliament, the PPP top brass wanted to shed the extra piggy bag they thought was useless to carry along. The country turned into a political battlefield between these two leading political forces that wrecked the prospects for a strong, stable and democratic Pakistan.
The incessant political belligerency distracted both the top parties from the pristine and pressing goal of nation building. Instead they frittered away their time and energies in browbeating and undermining each other. The fringe parties took sides and those with the government were hugely benefitted in various ways.
Presently the country is in the worst shape than what it was four years ago. With the advent of a democratically elected government and the exit of the military ruler president Pervez Musharraf, the people genuinely looked forward to a glorious and promising future for Pakistan.
Musharraf also became a guinea-pig although he was totally piggish in his 9 years of intrigues- laden rule. The perpetuation in power is the most coveted objective of every human in power. But the strategy of finding back-doors, side alleys and unworthy hangers-on to remain in power finally boomerangs and closes the chances for an honorable return.
In Pakistan, it is Musharraf and in early years it was Sikandar Mirza who could not step back on the soil of Pakistan that they ruled with iron hand, with trickery and by quashing the democratic culture. Elsewhere in the world, one can find several dictators who brutalized and swindled their own people and transferred huge wealth to the foreign banks.
Those who still managed to survive consequently met with an agonizing and dreadful end. The two recent examples are that of Libyan strong man Col Muhammar Qaddafi and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. All these unfolding events are hard lessons for the lustful leaders to resist illegitimate temptations.
This unprecedented ignominy was spattered on the face of the out-gone prime minister because he vowed to save his party boss. He sternly declined to write to the Swiss authorities to reopen the notorious Swiss Banks’ cases of president Asif Ali Zardari. He chose the altar over his exalted premiership.
As such it is a spectacular yet stupefying display of becoming a sacrificial animal. But how can the party chairman return that unique act of sacrifice? There is no way because sooner there is going to be another noose around the neck of president as well. The irony is that despite his self immolating sacrifice, Mr. Gillani cannot ward off the dangers accruing to Mr. Zardari because of latter’s money laundering scams. Someone will have to write to Switzerland for reopening the stalled cases.
By comparison to his party chief, Mr. Gillani still had some saving grace with the people of Pakistan and more specifically in Multan constituency. Mr. Zardari does not command even that much of respect in the entire Pakistan because of his sullied reputation of being the most voracious graft taker.
Unless his name is cleared from a litany of serious charges including the stashing of millions of dollars in Switzerland, he would remain to be stigmatized as a shady character. And the clearance of his name from a few murders to stupendous financial scams is as impossible as rising of the sun from the west.
So Prime Minister Gillani has voluntarily thrown himself into the ignominious dustbin of history for the sake of a person who cannot rehabilitate even his own lost honor and besmirched name. It was ostensibly a bad bargain. But if it gives a tingling of clear conscience and inner satisfaction to Mr. Gillani, there can be no further debate on this issue.
But Mr. Gillani’s absurd heavy baggage was not only his hand-folded loyalty and unswerving servitude to his boss. It was also the unabashed, unhindered and frenzied forays of his two beloved sons to bask in the glitter of wealth that could be summoned by simply getting a nod or signature of their powerful father.
Now while the father has wilfully drifted into the unforeseen landscape of future, his sons face legal reprisals for their unscrupulous adventures for making huge and fast buck running into billion in either rupees or dollars. So the family of Gillanis is destined for a prolonged ordeal.
Now President Clinton (Monica Lewinsky affair) had to tread the same path of political isolation and oblivion. Richard Nixon was irredeemably dishonored for a wrong step for which he was partially responsible (Watergate). But here we have a prime minister who refused to abide by the highest court’s injunctions and stubbornly opted for a political demise.
A horse looks well settled in his stable, a cat is a lion in her owns den and a pigeon is safe in his own cage because these speechless animals are fed by their masters. For Mr. Gillani his placid place would be his residence in Multan. But would he be mentally peaceful and justify that he was the victim of a judicial activism biased towards the PPP. Will he not in his vacant or pensive mood ponder over his personal incompetence and inability to set into motion a model of good governance? Even if he does, the time for redemption of the lost honor or regaining of the same glory is unthinkable for him.
How popular, adored and powerful this strikingly handsome young man with laurels of being committed political activist and a die-hard PPP cadre, was on March 25, 2008 when he became a democratically elected prime minister of Pakistan. He was voted into that august office with unparalleled mandate from all the political parties across the board. And look at the dark depth in which he has thrown himself and his lustrous political career.
For PPP, a grass-root and Populist Party, it is the rudest jolt. The appointment of Mr. Gillani’s’ successor is not going to make the matters any salubrious for either the president or the party’s smeared profile. The only sliver-lining to stem further erosion of PPP and its stalwarts is to announce midterm elections without waiting for the 5 years’ tenure to mature.
This appears to be a more rational approach and the best way-out for the PPP to secure the rest of its goodwill. This decision could help in salvaging its bruised image. If the party hierarchy still dithers and cannot see the ominous writings on the wall, it is doomed politically and may go with the wind of obscurity and face the dilemma of irretrievable rehabilitation. For how long, no one knows!