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Head-on collision?


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IT has taken only a matter of days for the Supreme Court judgment against Prime Minister Gilani to translate into a full-blown political confrontation. So long as ministers and other senior figures on either side of the parliamentary divide were sniping at each other, the matter could have been contained. But yesterday, Nawaz Sharif upped the ante by demanding the resignation of the prime minister, and if that was not forthcoming the PML-N supremo pledged to launch a protest movement. At the moment, the PML-N’s game-plan is not clear: does it hope to use the protest movement to build pressure for early elections or is this just an attempt to shed the last vestiges of the ‘friendly opposition’ tag with elections on the horizon? Using the SC-government tussle over the Swiss letter for electoral ends is not without risks. It isn’t clear if a pro-judiciary-type movement can be fashioned out of this particular issue as it was several years ago when Gen Musharraf had tried to shut Chief Justice Chaudhry out of office. The earlier campaign helped the PML-N to unexpected success in the 2008 elections but this time round the matter is less clear-cut. The PML-N brain trust will be furiously calculating the potential gains versus the risk that a protest movement which doesn’t catch the imagination of the public could pose to the PML-N at the next election.

So far, the more sensible route to follow appears to be the one suggested by Prime Minister Gilani. The prime minister’s suggestion in the Senate yesterday that everyone wait for the SC’s full judgment was obviously laced with self-interest. Delay has been a central part of the PPP’s strategy in its troubles with the court. However, the pledge inside parliament by the prime minister that if he were de-notified he would accept the verdict and go home is one that the opposition ought to take seriously and hold him to. After all, the PML-N has the right to ask the speaker of the National Assembly to refer the matter of Mr Gilani’s disqualification to the Election Commission and if the final judgment of the SC clarifies the ambiguity of the short order, the matter should be settled relatively quickly.

Yet, the sensible path is not always the one treaded by the political class here. After four years of relative calm, with a general election at most a year or so away, the PML-N’s and the PPP’s calculations may lean towards confrontation at this point in time. Perhaps if the full judgment of the SC were issued soon, some of the uncertainty may be lifted and matters could settle down again.

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Comments (15) Closed

Sky Bird
May 01, 2012 01:44pm
supreme court should gave a clear decision about whether the PM is disqualified or not . I personally think that the institution of Judiciary has been politicized and biased.The Supreme court never open the case on the issue of Nawaz sharif attack on Supreme court.I am not a supporter of PPP nor any other.
May 01, 2012 02:49pm
It would have been far better if Gilani had resigned after the very moment his punishment ended.
sohail yasin
May 01, 2012 09:07am
nation should understand the real face of both partieis as no one is ready to do in the favour of the Pakistani people everyone is manouvering for their interest
May 01, 2012 10:30pm
I hope all relevant parties do not loose sight of the impact their disputes or movements are making on the economy. A common man is more interested in getting a reasonable work opportunity that helps him/her lead a safe and respectable family life. All the disputes, attacks, counter attacks should not deprive people of their economic well being.
Usman Masood
May 01, 2012 05:50pm
A Balanced Analysis !
F Khan
May 01, 2012 09:55am
They must make the Constitution a whole lot more clear on the subjects like immunity, disqualification of members of assemblies, contempt of court, remedies for corruption, etc. And at the very least a 4 year term is the maximum we should have. This is totally self-evident.
Khalid Mahmood
May 01, 2012 04:23am
Gilani should spare the nation further chaos and political confrontation and resign in the best interest of the nation. That would be in the fitness of democratic norms.
M. Asghar
May 01, 2012 11:07am
It seems that even if the PM may want to resign, his entourage led by the Zardari's clan would not let him go to save their untenable positions.
El Cid
May 01, 2012 04:32am
Everyone must abide by the law. No one should be above the law. The Prime Minister has been convicted and punished, however symbolic, and should resign his position in the interest of personal dignity and for the respect and prestige of his position. 'Falling on his sword' to protect the honour of a man of dubious character and known corruption is not becoming of his name, lineage, prestige, or position. The world watches and measures Pakistan and its people by the actions of its leaders...the dignity.and esteem they exude, and the standards to which they hold themselves to.
Zar Murad Khan
May 01, 2012 07:37am
As I think that Gilani has been disqualified,and he should has to vacate the office without any delay in order to control the political distrss in Pakistan,otherwise it will create a great problem for this, economically depress country.
Haji Ashfaq
May 01, 2012 10:50am
Bow out with grace and honor. Enough is enough.
Ehtesham khan
May 01, 2012 05:40am
Both the two main parties should avoid revenge-politics and focus on the issues facing Pakistan today.
M.Waseem Akram
May 01, 2012 09:13am
Both parties are like " two sides of the same coin"
May 01, 2012 03:57pm
If the Supreme Court issues the full judgement before the long march, the PPP gets a chance to appeal, then appoint another similar PM and the cycle will continue giving PPP a chance to hang on to power till the elections. Only a long march can defeat that strategy of continued delay and in the process serve the purpose of building up Imran Khan as a viable PM, something that the establishment is known to be in favour of. That is why the Court is holding up the full judgement till after Gilani is forced to quit by the long march.
May 01, 2012 09:34am
When everyone is saying to wait the full judgement, why is the SC delaying issuing one? Is it attemting to plug all the holes before issuing one?