Zardari ensures second term!
By Aijaz Ahmed
The political landscape of the country is going to be altered soon as the PPP and PML-Q have finally reached a deal with the blessings of the chief of the country’s top spy agency with a Lahore based business tycoon and a top builder of the country being one of the guarantors!
Observers believe that the ‘deal’ will certainly bring political stability in the country, which will ultimately restore the trust of the business and the investors. However, they also believe the deal will make way for change in Punjab’s political landscape as well.
The umpteenth ‘political wonder’ was finalized late Thursday night at presidency where Ch. Shujaat and Pervaiz Elahi along with few colleagues had a formal meeting and dinner with President who also happens to be Co-Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
The new element of the meeting whispered by sources at the Pakistan’s Capital Hill was an inventory list from the Presidency side. Sources are ready to bear all burden of the list that is being revealed and according to them the ISI Chief General Ahmed Shuja Pasha was the strongest witness and a wheeler-dealer of the agreement.
Details of the agreement are the same, which Indus Herald has already revealed with one minor addition that Ch. Pervaiz Elahi will be appointed deputy prime minister and an amendment to this affect will be made accordingly. The top builder of the country and Chief of Bahria Town, Malik Riaz was guarantor from the Presidency side while Lahore based business tycoon Ch. Siddique was present as a guarantor from Q league side, sources added.
Although, the deal in itself is being considered as yet another political achievement of Mr. Zardari even in the worst political situation, the real achievement he secured in the deal is second Presidential term for him. PML-Q has agreed to support his candidature in the next presidential elections at completion of the current term and the move is fully backed by present military leadership including the ISI chief, sources added.
‘The situation in the country needs continuity at top level, and also a person who understands army point of view beside having a backing from Europe and also from a strong US lobby is suitable’, sources say adding that he (Zardari) is the one who refuses to completely bow down to US demands in the present situation and that has created and strengthened mutual trust between the Pak Army and President Zardari. Army wants him to stay for another five years and thus the demand was made part of the agreement at the last minute, and was ensured to be agreed by ISI Chief, sources claimed.
Some of the points included in the deal indicate the reason why UK had interest in the alliance, and thus the efforts made by them have succeeded, sources also observed.
In the second round of the political parlays and to further discuss some minor details of the deal, Ch Shujaat had another meeting with President after Jumma Prayers at the Presidency and this time Faisal Saleh Hayat, a former PPP stalwart and presently Parliamentary leader of the party in National Assembly replaced Pervaiz Elahi to discuss his own grievances and reservations with the president.
Confirming the meeting, Farhat Ullah Babar, the presidential spokesman observed that ‘current political situation of the country was discussed during the meeting. The meeting was held in the context of over all political reconciliation in the country and realignment of political forces. Such meetings will also take place in the future’, he added.
Giving the actual context of the meeting, the sources and the witnesses of the meeting observed that the peer from Jhang, a remote and less developed district between the central and southern Punjab had reservations against his former party colleague for certain personal and other reasons. Both former colleagues and rivals had a warm handshake and held detailed discussion on his reservations. Both were at ease and in friendly mood when the meeting ended sources observed. Mr. Hayat was assured that PPP would not field Begum Abida Hussain against him as a candidate, while he will not pursue his case on rental power and other energy issues in return, sources confided.
Although, both the parties have agreed to enter in a marriage of convenience they still harbor mutual mistrust and have formed committees to keep a vigilant eye on each other.
The way, PPP handled Nawaz Sharif and put him in the political isolation has made the PML-Q think twice and Choudhris could not have blind trust in Mr. Zardari. Thus they insisted to sign a formal agreement on the pattern of charter of democracy (CoD) said a PML-Q leader. The charter will be signed in front of the national media, he added
As obvious, PML-N feels heat from the new alliance, as its government in Punjab may become a casualty. The besieged PML-N in its bid to end the political isolation has embarked on a new game plan. The PML-N just before the deal is being signed rushed to the nationalist political parties of Sindh having strong rivalries with the PPP. The PML-N delegation led by Zulfiqar Khosa, a Sardar from Dera Ghazi Khan had political deliberations with Mumtaz Bhutto, the famous talented cousin of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The younger Bhutto left Begum Nusrat Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto Shaheed alone just few days after ZAB was hanged till death by military dictator Zia.
Ever since, BB was martyred at Liaquat Bagh, Rawalpindi, Mumtaz Ali Bhutto is trying to become his political and legal heir. He warmly welcomed Punjab’s leadership and assured full support. ‘We will support every political party struggling to make Pakistan stronger and prosperous’, he observed after the meeting.
Political observers are taking PML-N’s move a desperate attempt to teach a strong lesson to former ally and a partner in the Charter of Democracy in its political strong hold and power base, the Sindh province. However, they are not sure that the move will be taken as a wise and a sharp one by Sindhi voters, as they have already discarded Junior Bhutto many times, they believe.
In yet another political move the PML-N has formally demanded for a fresh political mandate in the shape of mid term elections. Confirming what Indus Herald had already revealed, Mian Nawaz Sharif while talking to a TV Anchorperson refreshed his demand. He said President Zardari had called him twice since he underwent heart surgery. He said he told Mr. Zardari that a fresh mandate in the shape of mid term or general national elections was the only way forward to fight the challenges being faced by the country. Mr. Zardari in return was of the view that the government shall complete its tenure, he maintained.
Nawaz Sharif was also skeptical of the role of military establishment and ISI in the national affairs. ‘I know, the government in the office must have powers to take decisions on the important issues. But as of now, major decisions on the matters related to the foreign policy, war on terror and issues like that of Raymond Davis are being taken by the military top brass, and not by the political government’, he added.