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Has Babar Awan burnt his PPP boats?


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Babar Awan, the voluble, omnipresent and much berated face of the PPP has disappeared from the radar. —File photo

ISLAMABAD: Have the PPP’s legal eagles switched places?

Babar Awan, the voluble, omnipresent and much berated face of the PPP has disappeared from the radar. The new face of the PPP’s legal strategy is Aitzaz Ahsan who was once completely sidelined in the party.

But the reports of Senator Babar Awan’s fall have proved startling. Till just recently he was so close to the president that Asif Zardari expressed his annoyance over the PTV’s failure to telecast a press conference of his live.

But this is no longer the case. Instead, reports emanating from the party suggest that the president is not happy with his former law minister because he has let down the prime minister.

Though the problem began with the realisation that Awan’s legal strategy had simply not worked it soon dawned on the ruling party that his tactics were too provocative.

“There is a perception that it was Babar Awan who provoked the Supreme Court and the judiciary to this level; otherwise the Prime Minister’s contempt of court case was a manageable one,” said a senior federal minister. These words reveal the general opinion within the party.

However, the ‘fatal’ mistake came later. This was obvious by the very public snub the prime minister directed at Babar Awan when he said on March 8 that only a woman came to his help in his hour of need.

“When I needed a witness in the court, men refused but a woman sided with me.”

He was referring to Awan’s refusal to testify in court on the prime minister’s behalf. This refusal earned him the ire of the party leadership, especially the president.

According to a close aide to the prime minister, the decision to put Mr Awan in the list of witnesses was taken after due consultation with President Zardari.

Referring to a meeting of top PPP leaders at the presidency, the aide said that Barrister Ahsan briefed them that a mere appearance by Mr Awan in the court would absolve the prime minister. In the legal stalwart’s view, all the law minister had to say was that he had recommended that the prime minister need not write a letter to the Swiss authorities against the president and Mr Gilani would be home free.

“Mr Awan was also invited to the meeting, but he didn’t attend it,” the aide said.

“May be it was the blind confidence which President Zardari placed in Mr Awan, but he gave a go ahead to Barrister Ahsan to use Senator Awan as a witness for prime minister without asking for the formal consent of the former,” said the official. But Awan refused as did his handpicked law secretary.

In fact, the official said Prime Minister Gilani was so upset that he shared the story with every second person he met.

In private discussions Mr Awan is equally disturbed over the latest happenings related to the decision of the prime minister to present him as one of his witnesses. At one sitting he was quoted as saying that he had no qualms in going to the court to speak in favour of the prime minister, but the way Barrister Ahsan had roped him in as a defence witness wasn’t acceptable.

But his ‘entrapment’ was far from over. Ahsan then came up with an alternative plan. He proposed that if Awan was reluctant to appear in court, Ahsan would simply submit his affidavit.

Once again the president felt confident enough to promise on his former law minister’s behalf that the affidavit would be signed and delivered to Ahsan by the afternoon of Tuesday, March 6, when he needed to submit it to the court.

The affidavit was delivered to Awan. However, a PPP leader involved in the matter, said that Awan acknowledged receiving the affidavit --- and then there was silence. Calls to his cell phone and his home went unanswered. A frustrated president sent Rukhsana Bangash to Awan’s house.

She waited there all afternoon for the elusive Awan --- while the president waited in the presidency. “The president sleeps in the afternoon; but that afternoon, he didn’t,” said the PPP leader.

Awan finally appeared out of nowhere to meet Bangash --- after five, when it was no longer possible to submit anything to the court.

He is said to have told her in so many words that he did not appreciate being offered up for sacrifice alone, a message, which once it was relayed to the president, is said to have not gone down well.

Keeping in mind the context of the contempt case and how the prime minister is claiming to offer his post and political career to protect the president, the president has taken Mr Gilani’s side instead of Mr Awan’s. And due to this, his enemies are predicting that Mr Awan’s end is nigh.

But never say never. In recent days many an exiled and alienated leader in the PPP has been resurrected (Sherry Rehman and Aitzaz Ahsan are cases in point).

Would someone like Awan who has perfected the Darbari craft stay out of favour for long? One can only wait and watch out for him to bounce back, for he will try hard.

Comments (13) Closed

said ali khan Mar 21, 2012 02:58pm
I appreciate babar awan for his turning from left to right and is cunning. in Benazir;s murder case he left the site leaving her alone in critical conditions. He is not to be trusted by PM or President.
Ferva Mar 21, 2012 04:57pm
All of this internal politics within PPP is the reason why I've lost faith in Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's party and vision..
Sajjad Mar 21, 2012 05:38pm
Mr. Awan is the same person who was among distributors of sweet on the assassination of Z.A. Butto. He is the same person who left alone Benazir Bhutto and run away along with Mr. Rehman. He is the same person who took bribe in Bank fraud case and then put the blame on Ahmadies ( Qaadyanies party ).
Abbas Mar 21, 2012 08:23pm
Remember Zulfiqar Mirza was telling Zardari to be careful with Awan nd Rehman........ Awan proved nd his friend Rehman is yet to.........
MUSHTAQ Mar 21, 2012 10:51pm
harry Khan Mar 22, 2012 12:53am
He made his money and will be honoured for that, nothing new in Pakistan.
ZQ Mar 22, 2012 02:30am
My Fellow Pakistanis........All politicians and all Army generals are corrupt. Wait for "PAKISTAN SPRING"
Izhar Minhas Mar 22, 2012 04:26am
People like babar Awan has no place in the Party.
jamshed Mar 22, 2012 07:59am
The murder of Benazir Bhutto has few close witnesses who need to be interrogated and than the puzzle will come open. As the saying goes as shall you sow so shall you reap. So Barbar awan went from the hater to be hated and now lets see him going to bars.. I mean behind bars and his license cancelled and he becoming a no one.
Sajjad Khan Mar 22, 2012 09:27am
Awan is a real turncoat and a dicy and selfish character.His credentials are absolutely doubtful.He left BB and ranaway and now he has repeated the same.He puts self before anything else.
M. Alam Rajput, Mar 22, 2012 11:15am
The whole immoral life story of people like babar awan makes one feel ashamed and disgusted at the low level of thinking/doing things in national politics with fake and false degrees. His licence of legal practice is already suspended by the Suprem Court. He should be banned from politics and all the legal fee/money paid to him in staggering figures of many crores be recovered from him and deposited in the national exchequer. Enough is enough.
Zohair Mar 22, 2012 02:39pm
It is funny.
Syed Mar 22, 2012 07:22pm
Oh... I love the snippet that ("President Sleeps in afternoon" but didn't on that day).... wow how much health and the sleep is dear to the President when the most of the poor Pakistanies work hard in afternoon to earn a rightful bread.