Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Impending Waterloo

By Saeed Qureshi

How daringly, the PPP co-chairman and the incumbent President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari goes back upon his solemn commitments and well meaning pledges held out to both his political allies and the people of Pakistan! Can even a commoner, let alone the President of Pakistan, be so appallingly and audaciously deceptive as to sweep a revolutionary agenda under the rug of political exigency? In a yearʼs time of its being in power, the PPP has been totally oblivious of countryʼs chronic problems and the peopleʼs massive sufferings. It has dismayed the people and antagonized and alienated its staunch political cohorts. By protecting one man whose name is General Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistan Peoples Party has downgraded its political standing and is being fast denuded of public support and esteem.

How long the PPP praetorians can cash on the legendary and revolutionary image of its founder ZA Bhutto and the assassination of his illustrious daughter Benazir Bhutto? There is a limit to peopleʼs compassion as well as their woes. People remember President Zardariʼs honeyed smile and the categorical statement to the affect that the first gift he would give to Pakistani Nation would be the annulment of 58-2/B: the draconian caveat that gives sweeping powers to the president. He promised to re-instate the superior courtsʼ judges who were deposed by former president through an illegal order.

So the agitating lawyers are back with renewed fury and furor on the streets. Most of the opposition political parties have joined their ranks. From March 12 onwards, there is going to be another Waterloo in front of the parliament building in Islamabad. This time it would be staged against one of their erstwhile supporters: the PPP government. What a shame that the PPP leaders have so much belittled themselves in the public estimation by turning a deaf ear to judicial communityʼs genuine demand and bending over backyard to continue the policies of a former dictator, who had become a sore in the peopleʼs eyes and who is responsible for much of the prevailing chaos What kind of politics is this? The PPP leaders falsify or hide the facts and then with sheepish submissiveness acknowledge the divulged information and when the beans are spilled by others.

One case in point is the Drone air attacks on tribal areas. It was being vehemently denied from president down to the defense minister that these killer aircrafts were being operated from Pakistanʼs territory. Following the disclosure of Dianne Feinstein, Chairperson, US Senateʼs Intelligence Committee that the Drones were using Pakistanʼs territory; the Pakistan government hastily, endorsed that too. The moral fiber and the element of dignity or sanctity of the spoken word are alien and anathema to the PPP stalwarts. Are they ruling a nation of morons, dumb cattle and handicapped or slaves that they would like to lie to any extent and then conveniently, get away with unabashed impunity? Why such morally bankrupt or spineless leaders are leading a bewildered and bruised nation that is ever waiting for the redeemers since its coming into existence some six decades ago.

Just imagine a person who happens to be the president of Pakistan. Despite professedly knowing the murderers of his wife, he assigns the task of finding her assassins to the United Nations. Why doesnʼt he disclose the names of these callous individuals in a press conference and save the nation from a hefty 40 million bill to be spent on the UN investigation? Isnʼt it all funny? Why is he trying to hide the heinous criminals who killed an outstanding political leader and by whose efforts and political craft these guys have now become the power wielders? If you cannot catch or bring to justice the assassins of your own chairperson of the party under fear or favor, then how the people at large would receive a fail deal?

Notwithstanding their hob-knobbing with the former president, the fact is that the PPP least expected that it would soon sail into power galore and precisely for this reason they had not done their homework to deliver on good governance. The present crop of the PPP leaders is not only novice and an assemblage of upstarts in politics but have scant ideological fervor and revolutionary spirit that used to be the crying hallmarks of the rank and file of the PPP cadres from top to bottom in yester years. Now you have wrestlers and cronies and opportunists and fair weather birds who harbor personal interests than to serve the country in a patriotic and selfless spirit. Maintaining status quo or pedaling adhocism is their principal motto.

God had given Asif Ali Zardari a rare and golden opportunity to atone for his alleged wrong doings such as money laundering and amassing ill gotten wealth. A simple ordinance by a disgraced and unpopular, quasi dictator catapulted him from a lowly to the highest status in Pakistan. But by his dubious machinations not only has he saddened the more thoughtful members in his own party but disrupted the climate of consensus politics in Pakistan. The people of Pakistan made monumental sacrifices for PPP and therefore pinned hopes in it for splendid change from its governance. As the leader of a nation and head of state one cannot afford to stage a faux pas and play tricks with the country as well as the peer political forces.

After almost a year in power saddle, The PPP and its government with its poor track record of performance stands alienated and its popularity scale has drastically plummeted. The fiasco to be followed by the Lawyers resumed long march and sit one would be a hard blow to the stability of the existing shaky political set up under the PPP. New elections would, therefore, become imperative. It is highly improbable that the PPP can stage a come back. The favorite party is now Muslim league (N) that might form a coalition with the political parties siding with the Lawyersʼ mission. The PPP suffers from the leadership crisis. It may take a long time for it to resurface as a potent and popular political force in Pakistan. Is it not time for this party to refurbish its smeared image and save itself from a point of no return?

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