Sunday, July 24, 2005
Shaukat Aziz Takes On Mush!
A year ago the Commando-in-Chief was disgruntled by his prime minister who was known for his abject servility. So he chose a new candidate, possibly the richest man in Pakistan due to the legacy received from his late father, a corrupt general from Zia’s days. But the Choudhries of Gujrat went in to rebellion as this son-of-a-general was a Punjabi and therefore presented a potential threat to their power grip on the province. So a compromise candidate was brought into the picture – none other than our $70 million ex-banker from New York. Why him? Because lacking any following he could not politically threaten anyone. Or that is what everyone thought.
So in August last year Shaukat Aziz became prime minister after two blatantly rigged elections in the Attock and Mirpurkhas constituencies.
A year later the worm has apparently turned. Probably fed up with being laughed at by other politicians and not being taken seriously by the public at large, he has decided to take himself more seriously. After all powerless though he was, he is the prime minister. And this office inherently attracts its own set of power groupies who most likely would urge him on. I would imagine they told him that ‘real power’ resides in Washington and it was time he made his move.
And now, not surprisingly, a power tussle has emerged. Recent reports indicate that it is now coming to a head as Shaukat Aziz has instructed heads of all law enforcement agencies to report to him directly. Last week an operation was led on Musharraf’s instructions on a number of madrassahs. It is believed that Shaukat Aziz suspended and transferred a number of the police officials involved in the madrassah raids
Also, it was apparently Shaukat Aziz who decided to cancel his visit to Washington. It is said he did not particularly like to play a junior third fiddle shortly after the Indian Manmohan Singh’s much trumpeted visit to the USA. Opponents say his newly inflated ego could not bear the perceived humiliation. His cancellation is said to have caught both Washington and Musharraf by surprise.
Not surprisingly a replacement PM is on the way. An MNA seat in northern Sindh has already been earmarked for Muhammad Mian Soomro. After the local bodies elections the vacant MNA seat will be ‘won’ by Soomro in a bye-election. And, if the agencies have their way, we will have another prime minister in Islamabad.
How long Soomro will stay docile is anyone’s guess.
You heard the news on this blog first.