Saturday, July 28, 2007

Musharraf: Desperately Grasping at Straws?

Only a few years ago (in June 2004) Musharraf scornfully boasted that he would prefer to “kick” Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif rather than shake hands with them.

Yesterday, the dictator had to eat humble pie. Buffeted by a gale of public disenchantment he clandestinely (but not secretly enough) met with Benazir Bhutto in Abu Dhabi to salvage his future.

On the very day of the meeting The News (Friday, 27 July 2007) reported:

According to sources, Musharraf, during his six-day long discussions with his top military aides in Rawalpindi after the restoration of the chief justice, is said to have been advised that the best thing for him to do is to seek an “honourable exit”.

They said Musharraf did not react to these suggestions for the time being. He is expected to make a decision after his return from Saudi Arabia. He is likely to raise this issue with the Saudis to find a way out of the political “mess” without any loss of face, the sources said.

They said the absence of General Musharraf from public engagements since the historic judgment of the Supreme Court has raised questions in the minds of both politicians and media persons.

The silence of an otherwise articulate Musharraf has given currency to reports that all was not well at the presidency. His decision to visit the UAE and Saudi Arabia without any earlier announced schedule has given rise to the speculations in London that in his last ditch effort Musharraf was trying to seek help of his Saudi friends.

A source revealed that he had received reports from certain government quarters that General Musharraf was not expecting that the Supreme Court would restore the chief justice and with it his chances to get himself re-elected would be buried.

This judgment, he believed, has come as a major shock for Musharraf. It is said that during these six days of “isolation” at his Rawalpindi residence, Musharraf discussed with his top civilian and military aides and friends how to revive hopes of his re-election for next five years.

The sources said there was a consensus in the presidential camp that Musharraf was in such a situation that even the political support of Benazir Bhutto, or any other leader like Maulana Fazlur Rehman, could not bail him out.

He was told that now the ball was in the court of the chief justice of Pakistan. Sources said there was a strong perception among his friends and aides that even if the chief justice wanted to bail Musharraf out, he could not do so because of the high expectations people have developed after his restoration as the top judge.

Musharraf was now at the dead end of the tunnel…

What was obviously overlooked in the report was his intended furtive meeting with the PPP chairperson.

Clearly Musharraf, who is believed to be dependent on a coterie of handpicked advisors who were chosen for their loyalty rather than competence, has been living in a fanciful world of his own creation. The fact he came to firmly believe that the Supreme Court judgment would go in his favour is indicative of this state of delusion.

Right now he must be a bewildered man clutching at any straw to regain his lost authority. On the other hand Benazir Bhutto is known to be a wily political operator. Testing the current wind, she will dangle a line just to see what results from it. She is not rushed for time as she is aware that as each day passes Musharraf becomes all the weaker. Either he will eventually offer what she wants from him, or she will exploit the time and opt for any advantageous alternate opportunity that comes her way.

On the other hand if Benazir Bhutto enters into a deal with the military dictator at the expense of the public mood, she will in due course pay a heavy price for her opportunism. Never in the 60 year history of Pakistan has the public been so galvanised against the army's involvement in politics; and if she helps prop up a drowning Musharraf, Bhutto's perceived act of betrayal will not be forgiven by most Pakistanis.
______________________________________

An Addendum

Subsequent to posting the blog I came across Stratfor largely reflecting similar views to mine:

Stratfor has been saying for several months now that the Musharrafian state is in the process of unraveling. As per our prediction, Musharraf now must seek the help of mainstream political forces to deal with the growing crisis of governance and an Islamist insurgency. Moreover, the recent tensions with Washington over the U.S. threats to engage in unilateral military action against jihadists in the country's northwest -- which quickly followed the restoration of the Supreme Court's chief justice -- seem to have been the last straw.

There also were reports July 27 that Musharraf's corps commanders and agency heads have asked him to step down, another development we had anticipated. Stepping down does not necessarily mean that Musharraf would leave the political scene altogether. Rather he likely will be forced to relinquish the post of army chief and try to stay on as a civilian president while sharing powers with a coalition government led by Bhutto following parliamentary elections.

At this stage it is unclear whether Musharraf will be successful in his efforts to reach a compromise -- as these efforts could be too little and too late.

______________________________________



22 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Real Face of Benazir Bhutto
By: COMPILED FORM VARIOU SOURCES
Published: July 28, 2007

This is the person now being imposed again on Pakistan by Mush and Bush regimes.

Bhutto was charged with corruption and faced a number of legal proceedings (the resolution of which seems to vary depending on opinion) in Pakistan. She has also been charged with laundering state-owned money through Swiss banks, in a case that remains before the Swiss courts. Her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, spent eight years in prison under similar charges of corruption. Bhutto and her husband continue to face allegations by (among others) the Pakistani government, of having stolen hundreds of millions of dollars by demanding "commissions" on government contracts and tenders.

Over the past decade, the couple have faced an approximate combined total of 90 legal cases; while eight cases still remain, Bhutto maintains that the charges levelled against her and her husband are purely politically motivated.

A 1998 article in the New York Times indicates that Pakistani investigators have documents that uncover a network of bank accounts all linked to the family's lawyer in Switzerland with Asif Zardari as the principal shareholder in most of these corporations. According to the article, documents released by the French authorities indicated that Zadari offered exclusive rights to Dassault, a French aircraft manufacturer, to replace the air force's fighter jets in exchange for a 5% commission to be paid to a corporation in Switzerland controlled by Zardari.

The article also said a Dubai company received an exclusive license to import gold into Pakistan for which Asif Zardari received payments of more than $10M into his Dubai-based Citibank accounts. The paper also said that Zardari's parents, who had modest assets at the time of Bhutto's marriage, now own a 355-acre estate south of London. The estate has been auctioned through a court order.

Swiss Government

On July 23, 1998, the Swiss Government handed over documents to the government of Pakistan which relate to corruption allegations against Pakistan's opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto and her husband, Asif Zardari. The documents include a formal charge of money laundering and an indictment by the Swiss authorities against Mr Zardari. The Pakistani government had been conducting wide-ranging inquiry to account for more than $13.7 million frozen by Swiss authorities in 1997 that was allegedly stashed in banks by Bhutto and husband, whom he also asks Pakistan to indict; Pakistan Govt recently filed first criminal charges against Bhutto in efforts to track down estimated $1.5 billion she and husband received in kickbacks and commissions in variety of enterprises.

The documents suggest that the money which Zardari is alleged to launder, was accessible to Benazir Bhutto and had been used to buy a diamond necklace for over $175,000. (Elizabeth Olson, the New York Times, August 20, 1998 )

August 6, 2003, Swiss magistrates found Benazir and her husband guilty of money laundering. They were given six-month suspended jail terms, fined $50,000 each and were ordered to pay $11 million to the Pakistani government. (Alison Langley, NYT, August 6, 2003)

The six-year-long case alleged that Benazir and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, deposited in Swiss accounts $10 million given to them by a Swiss company in exchange for a contract in Pakistan. The Pakistani investigators say Zardari, opened Citbank account in Geneva in Feb 1995 through which they say he passed some $40 million of the $100 million he received from payoffs from foreign companies doing business in Pakistan.[i]

Poland

The Polish Government has given Pakistan 500 pages of documentation relating to corruption allegations against Benazir Bhutto and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari nickname of “Mr 10%”.[ii] These relate to concerns in the purchase of 8,000 tractors in the 1997 tractor purchase deal.[iii]

According to Pakistani officials, the Polish papers contain details of illegal commissions paid by the tractor company in return for agreeing to their contract.[iv] It is said that the arrangement was initiated and "skimmed" Rs 103 mn rupees ($ 2.0 mn) in kickbacks from a scheme to make available inexpensive Polish tractors, in a bid to boost farming output, not to the farmers benefit ."

The documentary evidence received from Poland confirms the scheme of kickbacks laid out by Asif Zardari and Benazir Bhutto in the name of (the) launching of Awami tractor scheme," APP said. Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari received 7.15 per cent commission on purchase of tractors through their front men, Jens Schlegelmilch and Didier Plantin of Dargal S.A., who received about $1.969 million for supplying 5,900 Ursus Tractors.[v]

France

Potentially the most lucrative deal uncovered by the documents involved the effort by Dassault Aviation, the French military contractor, to sell Pakistan 32 Mirage 2000-5 fighter planes. These were to replace two squadrons of American-made F-16s whose purchase was blocked when the Bush administration determined in 1990 that Pakistan was covertly developing nuclear weapons.

In April 1995, Dassault found itself in arm's-length negotiations with Zardari and Amer Lodhi, a Paris-based lawyer and banker who had lived for years in the United States, working among other things as an executive of the now-defunct Bank of Commerce and Credit International. Lodhi's sister, Maleeha, a former Pakistan newspaper editor, became Bhutto's ambassador to the United States in 1994.

Schlegelmilch, the Geneva lawyer, wrote a memo for his files describing his talks at Dassault's headquarters on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. According to the memo, the company's executives offered a "remuneration" of 5 percent to Marleton Business SA, an offshore company controlled by Zardari. The memo indicated that in addition to Dassault, the payoff would be made by two companies involved in the manufacture of the Mirages: Snecma, an engine manufacturer, and Thomson-CSF, a maker of aviation electronics.

The documents offered intriguing insights into the anxieties that the deal aroused. In a letter faxed to Geneva, the Dassault executives -- Jean-Claude Carrayrou, Dassault's director of legal affairs, and Pierre Chouzenoux, the international sales manager -- wrote that "for reasons of confidentiality," there would be only one copy of the contract guaranteeing the payoff. It would be kept at Dassault's Paris office, available to Schlegelmilch only during working hours.

The deal reached with Schlegelmilch reflected concerns about French corruption laws, which forbid bribery of French officials but permit payoffs to foreign officials, and even make the payoffs tax-deductible in France. The Swiss and the French have resisted American pressures to sign a worldwide treaty that would hold all businesses to the ethical standards of American law, which sets criminal penalties for bribing foreign officials.

"It is agreed that no part of the above-mentioned remuneration will be transferred to a French citizen, or to any company directly or indirectly controlled by French individuals or companies, or to any beneficiary of a resident or nonresident bank account in France," one of the Dassault documents reads.

Negotiations on the Mirage contract were within weeks of completion when Bhutto was dismissed by another Pakistani president in 1996. They have bogged down since, partly because Pakistan has run out of money to buy the planes, and partly because the Pakistan Army, still politically powerful a decade after the end of military rule, waited until Bhutto was removed to weigh in against the purchase.

A Dassault spokesman, Jean-Pierre Robillard, said Carrayrou, the legal affairs director, had retired. Two weeks after he was sent a summary of the documents, Robillard said that the company had decided to make no comment.

Middle East

In the largest single payment investigators have discovered, a gold bullion dealer in the Middle East was shown to have deposited at least $10 million into one of Zardari's accounts after the Bhutto government gave him a monopoly on gold imports that sustained Pakistan's jewelry industry. The money was deposited into a Citibank account in the United Arab Emirates sheikdom of Dubai, one of several Citibank accounts used by Zardari.

Pakistan's Arabian Sea coast, stretching from Karachi to the border with Iran, has long been a gold smugglers' haven. Until the beginning of Bhutto's second term, the trade, running into hundreds of millions of dollars a year, was unregulated, with slivers of gold called biscuits, and larger weights in bullion, carried on planes and boats that travel between the Persian Gulf and the largely unguarded Pakistani coast.

Shortly after Bhutto returned as prime minister in 1993, a Pakistani bullion trader in Dubai, Abdul Razzak Yaqub, proposed a deal: In return for the exclusive right to import gold, Razzak would help the government regularize the trade.

In January 1994, weeks after Bhutto began her second term, Schlegelmilch established a British Virgin Island company known as Capricorn Trading, SA, with Zardari as its principal owner. Nine months later, on Oct. 5, 1994, an account was opened at the Dubai offices of Citibank in the name of Capricorn Trading. The same day, a Citibank deposit slip for the account shows a deposit of $5 million by Razzak's company, ARY Traders. Two weeks later, another Citibank deposit slip showed that ARY had paid a further $5 million.

In Nov. 1994, Pakistan's Commerce Ministry wrote to Razzak informing him that he had been granted a license that made him, for at least the next two years, Pakistan's sole authorized gold importer. In an interview in his office in Dubai, Razzak acknowledged that he had used the license to import more than $500 million in gold into Pakistan, and that he had traveled to Islamabad several times to meet with Bhutto and Zardari. But he denied that there had been any secret deal. "I have not paid a single cent to Zardari," he said.

Razzak offered an unusual explanation for the Citibank documents that showed his company paying the $10 million to Zardari, suggesting that someone in Pakistan who wished to destroy his reputation had contrived to have his company wrongly identified as the depositor. "Somebody in the bank has cooperated with my enemies to make false documents," he said.



Notes





[i] THE BHUTTO MILLIONS; A Background Check Far From Ordinary,January 9, 1998, Friday, By JOHN F. BURNS

[ii] Timesonline:£4m Surrey mansion in Bhutto ‘corruption’ row, November 21, 2004, By Sian Griffiths

[iii] EXPRESSindia.com:Poland gives Pak papers on $ 2-mn Bhutto bribe, REUTERS, Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

[iv] World: South Asia Poland linked to Bhutto corruption charge, Friday, May 7, 1999.

[v] DAWN.com:NAB says Swiss order names Benazir:Ursus tractor case, By Our Staff Reporter, 23 July 2004, He claimed that Ms Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari received 7.15 per cent commission on purchase of tractors through their front men, Jens Schlegelmilch and Didier Plantin of Dargal S.A., who received about $1.969 million for supplying 5,900 Ursus Tractors.

Anonymous said...

Here we go again - as opposed to trying to find a pragmatic solution we spend our time and energy dredging up this stuff...yes, yes we all know that there are corruption charges etc etc etc but we lead some way to get Pakistan out of the desperatly insecure state that there is and unless you nay-sayers stop looking backwards and start contributing ideas and visions that can be of use then desist from this negativity.
Our neighboring countries are nations - Iran, India, China and yes even Afgnaistan but we are still being buffetted from side to side with our personal grudges like little princes in a dying empire. MAHI

Anonymous said...

Thats what I don't get. Musharraf had a chance to throw Benazir out of the race once and for all by allowing the cases against her to run through. But to save his chair (and against 'supreme national interest') he has withdrawn the cases in a deal equivalent to selling one's soul to the devil.

What does Mahi mean by pragmatic solution - bringing corrupt politician back. When we are at it, why not make Altaf Hussain Chief Minister or President of the country. Thats another pragmatic solution.

There is a third pragmatic approach as well. Blame everything on feudals but how that would fit into current scheme of things, I dont know.

IMKHALIL

Anonymous said...

IMKHALIL: Nothing has been proved about Bhutto or Zardari's cases after 10 years. Whereas if you have read Ayesha Siddiqa's book Military Inc the corruption of the military is well documented.

Besides, isn't this something the courts should decide??? Which they haven't yet.

Why is it the decision of an unelected military dictator relevant in any case????
MAHI

libertarian said...

Nothing has been proved about Bhutto or Zardari's cases after 10 years..

Ha ha ha ... "innocent until proven guilty"? Let's just ignore the guilt verdict of the court in Switzerland. And the documented evidence from multiple governments. All a "political ploy" no doubt.

Pragmatism in defending Benazir for a "higher" cause is one thing. Trying to wash her clean of obvious filth quite another. The danger is, as Imkhalil pointed out, that logic can be used to defend just about anybody including Altaf and Musharraf.

Anonymous said...

Actually if you understand the differing legal systems of nations you would understand that the Swiss code - based on the French - renders one guilty until or unless proven innocent. Pretty scary and not what the British and all other civilized codes are based on which is innocent until proven guilty. Knowledge is a powerful weapon specially in the morass of Pakistani drawing room elite culture which is prouder of possessions rather than knowledge. MAHI

AAS said...

Oh Mahi.....you know and i know that she and others like her are guilty. I agree they should be brought back to Pakistan and tried. I would say the majority of the accusations are true and i am sure the newly independent judiciary will see it that way too in court.

So bring them back and give them a fair trial and then OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!

Anonymous said...

I posted the corrupt practices of Benazir and Cronies just to acknowledge that

a murderer is a governer,
thiefs and decoits are ministers,

and looters/brief case mafia(bankers) are looting this nation with both hands

Jasi Qaum Wasay Hukmaran

We people are corrupt therefore we accept them and they rule us
Benazir is an classic example.. We still close our eyes on corrupts like her, her defected hubby, sherpao, faisal saleh hayat etc etc
and they are as usual raping the nation.

When we will open our eyes.......

I afraid there is no light in the dark cave...

Independent

libertarian said...

Mahi: agree with you that folks are fiddling while Pakistan burns. Pakistan is one strike (on US soil) away from being rent apart. No US administration will be able to resist the pressure of a full-scale invasion into FATA should that dreaded strike happen.

Ashi said...

It's a shame our countrymen don't realize that recycling is not meant for garbage. Where are the new visionaries and why haven't they stepped up?

Anonymous said...

becoz there is no room for visionaries to blossom and grow in a military dictatorship. Only a free socity lends the necessary space for genuine talent and depth to flourish.
Unless you are a cult or Al Qaeda........

Ashi said...

That logic is faulty, anonymous. You're saying you need a free society to produce the talent necessary for a free society. Democracy was never a natural state, every democracy today grew out of another, worse form of government. It has to start somewhere, we can't keep whining about how our unfair conditions keep us from progressing.

Anonymous said...

Ashi,

With the struggle for judiciary, I can see a light at the end of tunnel. Javed Hashmi who was kept in jail under flimsy charges has been released today. The judiciary is reasserting itself and this time it wont be that easy to silence it. If the masses who just sit in their drawing room preferring dictatorship over democracy so that they dont have to decide which person to vote for wake up and make an effort, this is the ripe environment for creating visionaries, having debates.

IMKHALIL

PS. Salute to the lawyer community, distinguished judges, bhagwandas (the unsung hero) and iftikhar chaudhry for having the guts to not be silenced.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article from the FT published on the New Pakistan site:

New Pakistan (http://www.new-pakistan.com)

"For a democratic, prosperous Pakistan; at peace with its neighbors and itself"

Issue No 47, August 3, 2007

“No Longer an Exaggeration to Say Pakistan Risks State Failure,” Says FT Writer
“How Pakistan is Being Lost:” Federation is Fraying at Edges; Tribal Areas in Revolt; Pashtun Nationalism Fusing with Islamism in NWFP; Insurgency in Balochistan; Ethno-Sectarian Conflict in Sindh





By David Gardner

For a good while now it has been hard to see what the point of General Pervez Musharraf is. When he took power in a bloodless coup eight years ago, many Pakistanis dared to hope for an end to decades of misrule, by civilians as well as generals, that had bankrupted the country and buckled its institutions.

Pakistan’s allies and adversaries, tut-tutting on cue about the vulgar anachronism of a military coup, were privately relieved that a newly nuclear-armed state, which had just fought a small war in the Himalayas with arch-rival India, was in the grip of an officer with an ostensibly modernist outlook: a whisky liberal in an Islamic republic, an admirer of Ataturk, father of secularist Turkey, as much as of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, revered founder of Pakistan.

How naive that all seems now.

True, those who hoped or believed in Gen Musharraf seemed vindicated when he threw his weight behind the US after the al-Qaeda attacks of September 11 2001. As the manager of an initially civilian team, moreover, the general secured some positive change, such as fiscal reform and privatisation, for a rickety economy.

But it was nothing like enough and only now is its price becoming clear.

The general had the chance to relay the foundations of stability and democratic rule. He constantly told visitors to his Army House residence in Rawalpindi that he would restore democracy as soon as he had put in place the accountability essential for it to work – accountability so foreign to the neo-feudal elites who had lorded it over Pakistani politics.

Whereas previous military regimes had merely superimposed martial law on civilian rule, leaving its weak structures intact, he aimed to change them. This he has indeed done: but in a way that seeks to institutionalise and prolong his supremacy, which he appears to regard as consubstantial with the national interest. Gen Musharraf’s whole purpose has been to cling to power, civil and military.

A master tactician, he has managed to convince Washington that only he can deliver up the al-Qaeda cadres Pakistani security episodically kills or captures; that only he, survivor of two near-miss attempts on his life, can prevent the country falling to the jihadis; that it is he who must stay at the head of the army, Pakistan’s last working institution, to banish the spectre of mullahs with nukes.

The US has provided roughly $10bn in aid since 9/11, along with new F-16 fighter jets, while tacitly endorsing Gen Musharraf’s double-hatted but unconstitutional role as president and army chief of staff. Only now is the Bush administration beginning to figure out the cost of its Pakistani strongman’s terrible trade-offs.

Inside the army, Gen Musharraf has bought off some generals with sinecures, but secured the support of others by letting them abet jihad – in Afghanistan through the resurgent Taliban and in Kashmir, the divided, mainly Muslim territory at the heart of Pakistan’s warring with India. Some Pakistani officers, especially in ISI military intelligence, have long believed in the need for “strategic depth” in Afghanistan as part of the primordial contest with India, as well as licensing a few thousand jihadis in Kashmir to hold down up to half a million Indian troops there.

These tactics have willy-nilly given the jihadis a run of territory from Kashmir to the Hindu Kush. But Gen Musharraf’s approach to domestic politics has been equally disastrous.

His methodical marginalisation of the country’s mainstream parties – the Pakistan People’s party of Benazir Bhutto and the Pakistan Muslim League faction led by Nawaz Sharif – has forced him into alliance with the religious right. Before the rigged 2002 elections, support for Islamist parties had never made it into double figures. Now, they swagger across the national stage, Talibanising the country.

Gen Musharraf is leading Pakistan back to the coup 30 years ago by General Mohammed Zia ul-Haq that first set the country on an Islamist course under military tutelage. His success in blocking Pakistan’s political mainstream has given force to the violent Islamist tributaries.

Six months ago, the Bush administration sent Dick Cheney to Islamabad as evidence mounted that al-Qaeda had rebuilt its command and training structures in Pakistan’s tribal areas, with whose leaders Gen Musharraf had concluded a truce.

It is, as not only Musharraf loyalists point out, sickeningly rich that Mr Cheney, the vice-president who after 9/11 pushed so hard to go after Saddam Hussein rather than finish off Osama bin Laden, should be lecturing anyone about the international jihadism he and his superficially muscular policies have done so much to proliferate. It is also fair to say
Pakistan is still struggling with the “blowback” from the anti-Soviet jihad the US sponsored in Afghanistan during the 1980s.

But Gen Musharraf has made this worse. It is no longer an exaggeration to say Pakistan risks state failure.

Its federation is fraying at the edges. The tribal areas are in revolt. In the North-West Frontier province Pashtun nationalism is fusing with Islamism. The crushing of opposition in resource-rich but dirt-poor Balochistan in order to favour pro-Taliban allies has rekindled a nationalist insurgency. Reliance on gangster-politicians in Sindh is reviving ethno-sectarian conflict.

But some of Gen Musharraf’s manoeuvres may offer opportunities. He has been praised for bloodily evicting jihadis from the Red Mosque in Islamabad last month – though had he acted when they started this challenge to the state in January there might have been fewer dead, and perhaps fewer reprisal bombings.

Yet the jihadi onslaught, and his February blunder in sacking the chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, now reinstated by the Supreme Court, is pushing him to seek alliances with, for example, Ms Bhutto, whom he met in Abu Dhabi last week. He faces a renascent civil society, improbably regrouped around the hitherto supine judiciary, as well as the wrath of the jihadis after the Red Mosque assault. He needs allies. The problem is he seems to want to keep his uniform and president’s sash even more, and is angling for a deal with Ms Bhutto that would allow that.
What Pakistan needs is to postpone this parliament’s selection of a president – due to start next month – until a new assembly is fairly elected in open political contest.

Yes, the Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif governments were venal and incompetent. They temporised with the army and jihadis. But Pakistan needs their supporters to build a democratic bloc against Islamist extremism, so that nation-building can begin anew. It may not work but it looks a better bet than this too-clever-by-half generalissimo.

This article appeared in The Financial Times on August 2, 2007

Safiullah Afghan said...

Warning for those making murky decisions on Pakistan’s destiny

The entire nation, including civil society and principled political workers across the political divide are expressing concern, apprehension and a sense of unease at the reported contact and ‘deal’ between the President and the Chairperson of the largest opposition political party, which has until recently claimed to have maintained a substantial and solid vote bank. If one starts believing these stories, than one sad fact that stands out is to do with the fact that both General Musharraf and BB have become largely alienated and divorced from understanding the will and the pulse of the nation. The present PPP leadership should keep in mind that the main reason for its vote bank remains the towering image of late Bhutto, who preferred gallows than to arrive at some from of reconciliation with the former dictator Zia-ul-Haq.

Among all the political parties in Pakistan, Pakistan Peoples Party has until recently the unique distinction that its founder Chairman, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and hundreds and thousands of its workers sacrificed their lives and braved incarcerations, political victimization and vendetta of the unpopular regimes on the basis of their principles and values. The stories of the gallant workers have continued until recently. Munawar Suhurwardy and Abdullah Murad are among scores of those who sacrificed their lives for the party in recent years. However we have also seen that other political parties especially PML (N), BNM, and PTI and their workers are following the footsteps of the PPP in waging a principled struggle and the name of Makhdoom Javed Hashmi stands out prominently.

Late Bhutto (1978) wrote in ‘if I am assassinated’ and I quote various excerpts, “If the sovereignty and the unity of a country is not safe in the supreme hands of the people and their elected representatives, it cannot be safe in any other hands. It is an insult to the people and their patriotism to impose a non-elected, salaried watchdog as the sentinel of national unity. This would be the death knell to national unity”. “If a coup d’etat becomes a permanent part of the political infrastructure, it means the falling of the last petal of the last withered rose. It means the end….” Bhutto also clearly warned, “It sounds very strange and ironical that the Muslims who unitedly struggled for Pakistan against British imperialism and Hindu domination and achieved Pakistan in a miraculous demonstration of unity, should be on the verge of civil war every time the autumn leaves begin to fall. The appetite for aggrandizement, the unquenchable thirst for naked power can become a habit forming drug. It can bring hallucinations of civil war.”

The recent turning point in the wake of judicial crises following suspension and historic restoration of Chief Justice of Pakistan has been described by many as defining moment in our national politics has clearly delineated the contours and direction of the nation. The people of Pakistan have matured in their political foresight and are now determined to continue their struggle for restoration of undiluted democracy, rule of law and permanent return of the Army to the barracks. People of Pakistan are not prepared to compromise on anything less than this. Any politician, including Benazir Bhutto who deviates from these aspirations and strikes any form of reconciliation or offer concession to the current regime which leads to prolonging role of military establishment in the political affairs will soon become marginalised and non entities. Any such compromise will be perceived as disregard and disrespectful to the nation and will tantamount to bartering away the supreme sacrifices offered by Bhutto and others. Not only such ‘deals’ or ‘shortcuts’ are going to stand for long enough to provide solutions to our deepening crises but will be rejected out rightly by the new tide of peoples revolution facilitated by an independent judiciary and motivated and vibrant civil society. The politicians and political parties who are mature and wise and choose to march along with this tide will be gain the vote bank and will have more chances of reaching the citadel of power through free and fair elections.


Dr Safiullah Afghan
Coventry, UK

Anonymous said...

You mean 'grasping at straws' one presumes(title)

libertarian said...

Here's BB outlining (in the US press of course) that doctrine of necessity thing again. So when the judiciary seems to have got well, the to-be executive catches the bug.

Syed said...

August 6, 2007

Bug is in the genes of the slave nations.

Anonymous said...

By Carnegie Endowment for Peace:

Of the 10 billion dollars of assistance which Pakistan has received since 9/11, only 900 million has been spent on development, while the rest has been consumed by the military

So much aid gone for the wrong causes. Only the military seems to have gained by U-turn by Pervez Usharraf

http://www.atlantic-community.org/index.php/articles/view/Time_to_Put_Pressure_on_Pakistan

IMKHALIL

Anonymous said...

Full link

http://www.atlantic-community.org/index.php/
articles/view/Time_to_Put_Pressure_on_Pakistan

IMKHALIL

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