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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Pakistan's Political Chess Board: PPP Plans Counter Moves

By Aijaz Ahmed

March is usually calm and cold month for Islamabad with snow fall on the surrounding hills and the mild showers in the twin cities but this time the situation is quite different as political temperature is on constant rise despite cold wave at the beginning of the spring weather.

The current ‘political heat wave’ started with the PML-N’s move to expel PPP from the Punjab government. It has been followed by the ‘mysterious’ activism by JUI’s Maulana Fazlu-rehman who shrewdly brought a large number of opposition leaders together at his residence. The more unusual and astonishing was the participation of the “principled’ opposition leader, Ch Nisar Ali khan and his friendly discussion with ex-military dictator Musharraf’s ‘political adopted babies’ like Ch. Shujaat Hussain and Mushahid Hussain whom PML-N considers its enemies! The sole reason given by the PML-N was the discussion on political developments in of course the ‘national interest’!

Other unusual development was the presence of MQM, which sits on the treasury benches both in the parliament and the provincial assembly of Sindh and enjoys more power than the actual government party, the PPP.

PPP hawks are carefully watching these ‘follow-up developments’ after the party’s rather unceremonious ouster from the Punjab cabinet. As the leading party of the coalition government feels pressure and threat to its very survival, it has formed multi pronged strategy to withstand the pressure and political moves to be unleashed in near future?

The party insiders reveal that the Sindh Chapter will be used to put pressure on the Punjab Government along with the opposition in the Punjab provincial assembly. ‘The recent statements by two MPAs from Sindh are just trailer in this regards’, a party leader observed. In Punjab, the opposition will use corruption and ‘lotacracy’ (politics of turncoats) as one of its tool against Shahbaz Sharif. ‘We will provide full legal support to PML (Q) parliamentary leaders in Punjab in any legal and the court proceeding to de-seat unification block at Punjab Assembly’, he added.

However, at the center, the party has planned to politically respond to onslaught by PML-N leaders Mian Nawaz Sharif, Ch Nisar and others. Prime Minister has been given responsibility to keep ‘in touch’ with Nawaz Sharif and not to let him go to an extreme position. Accordingly, PM has made two contacts in last three days with the ‘king of Raiwind’ and assured him that PPP will not break CoD despite the break up with PML-N in Punjab.
PM Yusuf Gilani, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif & Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif
Here comes the role of Dr. Babar Awan whom Mian Sb has brought to an equal status. The legal wizard will lead party’s campaign at central level. He will respond each and every step by PML-N, but in response, PPP will not launch any onslaught on PML-N to avoid any blame of destabilizing the system, one of the central party leaders told this scribe.

‘We respect PML-N and its role in last few years. We respect CoD as it is a sacred document signed by BB Shaheed’, said Qamar Zaman Kaira. ‘PPP will not let any opposition party to go to the extant where system is destabilized’, observed a political appointee at the presidency, adding that ‘we will bear pressure but complete our tenure’. ‘However, any move from PML-N will be responded in same manner and we believe that PML-N will not be in a position to loose Punjab at this stage, and this is the point we are making central to our strategy’, he further observed.

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