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Spotlight no longer on PPP

Published Nov 09, 2012 03:11am


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PPP leader and Yousuf Raza Gilani’s lawyer in the contempt of court case Aitzaz Ahsan leaves the Supreme Court building along with Qamar Zaman Kaira (top R) and Nayyar Bukhari (L) in Islamabad, Feb 2, 2012. — Photo by AFP

Since Monday, the media has been busy deciphering the statements issued by Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.

The usual explanations have been churned out: pessimists view the statements as a direct confrontation between the army and the judiciary, while optimists would like to believe that since both upheld the supremacy of the Constitution, it was a good omen for the country.

However, regardless of the perceived messages – whether they actually hit out at each other intentionally or it was a mere coincidence that they both spoke on the same day – the episode had one very obvious beneficiary: President Asif Ali Zardari and in turn his party, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

For the better part of his stint since his election as president in September 2008, Mr Zardari has been perceived as the joint target of both the military leadership and superior judiciary of the country at one point or the other.

The events on Monday though seemed to have created a fissure between the judiciary and the military, which worked to his advantage by diverting attention from the growing distrust between the PPP, military and judiciary.

It was just in June this year that a Supreme Court-appointed judicial commission found former ambassador to the US, Mr Hussain Haqqani, handpicked by President Zardari, guilty of forwarding the controversial memo to the US military. General Kayani and ex-spymaster, General Shuja Pasha, had submitted their witnesses in the probe, which eventually led to the exit of Mr Haqqani from the ambassadorship.

Then of late there has been the dragged out saga of the Swiss letter with the judiciary. Despite the government’s claims that the sitting president enjoys constitutional immunity, the judiciary has consistently insisted that a letter be written to the Swiss authorities for reopening graft cases against President Zardari. In numerous other cases, the PPP-led government has been criticised for obstructing justice.

Earlier, the PPP fell out of favour with the army due to its stance after the May 2 Abbottabad raid. It was apparent to all that President Zardari and the military establishment were on two different pages: while the president hailed the attack in his piece that he wrote for the Washington Post, the GHQ criticised the government for media handling and letting it pan out by all and sundry for its ill-preparedness against the American SEAL team attack.

In such circumstances, the perceived disagreement between the superior judiciary and the military top brass has the governing PPP leadership out of the fray. The spotlight has been turned away from the ruling party, and very conveniently, the PPP is refusing to pick sides between the COAS and the CJ.

A senior PPP leader, while talking to Dawn, remarked: “I don’t know if there is a real or perceived conflict between the judiciary and military, the ensuing discussion in the media is going our way.”

“Throughout our tenure in the government since 2008 general elections, the PPP had been painted as the villain party that had refused to accept court orders, and put the national interest at stake by pitting itself against the military establishment. It’s a blessing in disguise that with general elections around the corner, such events are shaking off these ignominious tags from the party,” he added.

The PPP leader explained that the SC judgment on Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s case – in which the court vindicated the PPP’s stand that 1990 general elections were stolen by the then military establishment in connivance with the right wing Islami Jamhoori Ittehad – had buttressed the party’s case.

“And now with the latest episode of COAS and CJ statements, our leadership has been absolved of the blame of taking sides, because for some time it was being discussed in some section of the media as if the president is busy wooing military leadership for another presidential term. And lately some even accused us of warming up to the judiciary when the government agreed to write the letter to the Swiss government,” said the PPP leader.

With the elections around the corner, the nuances of every single statement and action would continue to be put under the microscope and analysed to no end. The right way of playing the game would be by sitting on the fence.


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Comments (10) Closed

observer Nov 10, 2012 12:23pm
This article is biased. I am sure if this article discussed Congress-I and Indian President, the tone would have been one step more friendly.
Adil Jadoon Nov 09, 2012 09:14pm
PPP and PML are both parties with a feudal mind set. They consider the country to be their fiefdom and their interest is not in improving the situation for the people but to gain influence and hence an opportunity for corruption. If people vote for them again they will get exactly what they voted for and will deserve the next 5 years.
Farhan Nov 09, 2012 09:10pm
i just cannot understand why people who've been given such gracious and important statuses as CJ and COAS, President or PM would totally foget that the only reason they have those post is so they can serve the nation. They all enjoy happiness/status/power in their life but cannot offer any towards building the nation. So in turn they're amongst the weakest.
NASAH (USA) Nov 10, 2012 01:15am
What a relief for PPP - albeit temporarily.
Malick Nov 09, 2012 04:27pm
PPP is doing the best but I can not praise PPP untill it controle Karachi and northern part of country. Pull back rangers, Police strength should be increased with double salary and tripple amount of official powers. The Courts should assist the police. No one should be granted political bail by the Judges. Judges should refuse to political interference. Why judges accept political interference. Judges should be trialed if they grant political bail.
sja Nov 10, 2012 11:32pm
ppp spotlight letter to swiss authorities, ppp spotlight asghar khan pandora box, ppp spotlight judicial vs military establishment, ppp spotlight pml n, ppp spotlight jehanghir badar tamasha, ppp spotlight rabbani khar in Bangla desh, ppp spotlight -- unconditional appology for 1971 per bangla desh foreign minister, ppp spotlights Karachi --- 20 murders tonight 11/10/2012. LOTS OF SPOTLIGHTS for PPP.
Daud Nov 10, 2012 11:12am
I think it is Time to Court Marshal all the Bad apples from Country.
ali Nov 10, 2012 12:20am
All three institutions are trying to flex their muscles.
Ahmed Khanzada Nov 09, 2012 09:53pm
Bias alert!!! Author has a bias against PPP.
Nadir Shah Nov 10, 2012 01:15pm
Spotlight should be on grinding poverty, lawlessness, target killing ,loadshedding all happening under PPP's regime.Rest is for pseudo intellectuals and TV talk shows addicts..