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Mr. 100%

By Hakim Hazik 

I think the most important man in Pakistan at the moment is not Kayani or Musharraf, but Zardari. Pakistan has witnessed a most amazing transformation in Zardari, since 27th of December: from thief to statesman. He has made excellent political decisions, including trying to make peace with the MQM. I think the MQM were taken by surprise, as they started distancing themselves from Musharraf and talking of all the questions about 12th of May not having been answered, (implying that it was the army, not them, responsible for the carnage.) Zardari’s coalition with Nawaz Sharif, in spite of Musharraf’s manoeuvrings was a great decision, as was Nawaz Sharif’s decision to accept the right of the PPP to form the Government. (Think what Pakistan’s history would be like if Bhutto had accepted that Mujeeb ur Rehman had the right to form the Government, and Mujeeb had offered him the post of Prime Minister.)

What Zardari has been unable to do so far, like Benazir, is to give up his ambiguous stance regarding the judges. The only reason I can think of is the fear of revocation of the NRO, by the independent judiciary. He also, like Benazir, sees Aitazaz Ahsan as a rival centre of political power, and is unable to come to terms with the fact that he is the biggest national hero we have, at the moment. This irritability seems more pronounced since CJ’s historic Quetta rally Therefore he and his loyalists such as Farooq Naek, Babar Awan, and Lateef Khosa are trying to diminish Aitazaz’s stature. Consider this statement attributed to Zardari: ‘The chief justice has politicised himself’. The same statement the Musharraf’s men, including MQM goons have been parroting ad nauseum for the past one year. Or see the footage of Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Ahmed Mukhtar accompanying Musharraf to China. Big error of judgement. Have they forgotten why the Q League lost the election? 

Zardari has the opportunity to transform his and his country’s fortunes. It will not last very long. Zardari holds all the cards at the moment. He can restore the judges tomorrow. The PPP will be on the roll. They will become immensely popular in the Punjab. The army will have to make way for the civil society. The coalition will become unbreakable. The constitution will be restored. Musharraf will be history. There is a risk that the judiciary may review the blanket amnesty in corruption cases, but there are ways to overcome that risk. Zardari should realize that the biggest threat to him is not the judiciary, but the army.

Or he can play into Musharraf’s hands. Try to stall or undermine the restoration of judges, lead to the break up of coalition. Allow the army to play games. Miss the opportunity to revoke the 8th amendment, face a split in the PPP and become the Ch Shujaat of Larkana or end up in a fairly long family reunion in Dubai.

We should not be fooled by the rhetoric that the sovereignty of the parliament should not be undermined. The sovereignty does not belong to the parliament, it belongs to the people. If the parliament stands in the way of people will, it will be swept away. The people have given their verdict on the 18th of February. It should be respected.



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