Posted on 04 March 2008.
The Good cop, Bad cop routine is being played to the hilt by the PPPP and the PML(N).
The attitude of the leaders perhaps reflects the stature of the personalities. Mr. Zardari leads a national political party which is popular in all the four provinces and in Azad Kashmir. Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s policies have relegated his PML(N) to a section of the Punjab. Even in the Punjab Mr. Sharif could not get a plurality of the votes.
Pakistanis in general and Punjabis in particular do not like parochial personalities. They want to deal with national leaders.
The PPP and Zardari, at least at the surface are being sagacious, warm hearted and open-minded. The attitude of Mr. Zardari has been acclaimed from all sections of the society and it is hoped that this policy will continue. It surprised all analysts, that Mr. Zardari could be so magnanimous.
Mr. Sharif’s can be a stateman. However his party has support only in one province. This is not by accident. Mr. Sharif “jails” and confines and limits himself by injecting ethnicity in his politics. it is to his own detriment. If he is to become a national leader, he has to widen his horizons. The Punjab wants to vote for national leaders, not ethnic leaders.
If Mr. Sharif continues on this path he will end up like Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi and Abdul Hafeez Pirzada. Both giants of the PPP with international stature reduced themselves to Lilliputian dimensions because they carried the parochial banners rather than carry the crescent and star to international heights.
Ghaffar Khan had the potential to become a Pakistani leader and a leader of all Pastuns and Afghans, and beyond that a Central Asian leader. He achieved less than nothing. He shot himself in the foot trying to fight only for his own provincial rights only. He should have fought for the rights of the poverty stricken Punjabis, the penury stricken Baluch, Kisans of kashmir, and the poor haris of Sindh. He did not. His tunnel vision allowed him only to see “pakhtoonistan”. He did not have the vision to see beyond the province or the ethnicity. He could have risen to unprecedented stature and become a leader of Pakistan and an international leader of Asia. Today he lies buried in a remote corner. Wali Khan did the same. He could not rise beyond Sarhad. Was the nomenclature worth it? As Prime Minister of Pakistan he could do whatever he wanted. However he could not sell his message beyond East of the Indus. And his message never reached the Oxus.
Afsundaryar Wali has an opportunity to lift himself and propel himself from the confines of Sarhad and become a national politicians. He has not done so yet. Does he have it in himself to sel lhis message in Sindh and Punjab, or will be remain confined to Charshaddah?
“I have been a Pakhtun for 5000 years, a Muslim for 1400 years and a Pakistan for 60 years”. This was Wali Khan’s Lilliputian statement and a reflection of his communal mentlaity. He could not grow beyond the confined walls of his particular well. (kunaeh ka maindekh).
Khan Abdul Wali Khan should have ardently worked for a confederation between all of Afghanistan and all of Pakistan. This was tried by Liaqat Ali Khan and approved, but died a death after Liaqat Ali Khan was assassinated by the CIA for refusing to elp the USA attack Iran.
These maps show how Pakistan called Indus Valley at the time existed 5000 years ago. Wali Khan should have said, “I am a proud Pakistani for 5000 years, a Muslim for 1400 hundred years and a Pathan for the past 600 years”. This statement more accurately reflects the geographical and historical reality of the Subcontinent. After all the Indus valley Civilization existed almost entirely on the banks of the Indus. Pakistan existed 5000 years ago as the Indus Valley, which originally was not inhabited by the Pathans, but eventually it was.
Mr. Sharif’s can reduce himself to a clown. the choice is his. His ethnic politics may have worked at the street level, but in the elections, when push came to shove, Punjabis voted their conscience (as they always do) and voted for national parties. In preparation for the next elections, Mr. Sharif continues to play the ethnic card which has worked well for him in the past few months! The show of strength at Mr. Sharif’s “Aashiana” and the of parade 171 members of parliament were meant to convey the impression that Mr. Sharif has two thirds majority in parliament and that he can impeach the president. An actual roll was not shown, and many may have come for the dinner and drinks.
Mr. Zardari has chosen to be the “I am epitome of love“ and has made friends with the political parties in Balauchistan, Sarhad (soon to be named Pakhtunkhwa or Afghania) and Sindh. Mr. Zardari has not talked about revenge, or recrimination against those who jailed him for years (Mr. Nawaz Sharif). He has made conciliatory moves towards Mr. Pervez Musharraf and also met the American Ambassador several times assuaging him on continued prosecution of the Taliban. Of course he went overboard in his comments on Kashmir that created a huge backlash against his statements in Pakistan and Kashmir.
Apparently Nawaz Sharif has chosen to pull all the stops, and be the angry bad cop. In the past few days, he has repeatedly asked for the resignation of Mr. Musharraf, threatened not to take an oath if Mr. Musharraf administers the oath (option available — Mr. Musharraf goes for Haj and speaker of the house takes oath), raided the PML(Q), seduced the independent members of parliament, demanded an inquiry into Kargil, promised to restore all the judged to pre- November situation (read assignment of friend Iftikhar Chaudhry), extracted the “Forward Block” of senators from the PML(Q), and promised to elect A.Q. Khan as the new president. More ominously he has torpedoed the possibility of the PPP-MQM government in Sind and placed a huge question mark on the future participation of the MQM in the new government.
The PML(Q) and MQM was taken aback at the ferocity of the Sharif attack on the party during the elections. During the campaign, Mr. Imran Khan, a stable and farsighted visionary got himself entangled in the dirty politics of Mr. Nawaz Sharif. Hit hard by defections, mass scale exodus from his Tehrik-e-Istaqlal, and isolated in the prison of his one-man party, Mr. Imran Khan got goaded into playing the attack dog of the PML(Q). Mr. Khan went as far as visiting Scotland Yard and resubmitting indictment papers to them Apparently they were filed away without action. Mr. Khan had the tacit and active support from the PML(N), the JKLF (groups that works for an independent Kashmir not “Kashmir with Pakistan“), and other disaffected anti-Musharraf groups in the USA like Aana (South Asian group with huge Indian participation that focuses Mukhtarian Main rape case in Pakistan). Mr. Khan’s spat with the MQM was an unnecessary wastage of energy and did not elevate him into a national leader.
As it exists today, Mr. Imran Khan will remain confined to Mianwali with no national standing.
Many think that Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s intransigence is based on the MQMs support for Mr. Musharraf but it is also symptomatic of the ethnic tensions being created by Mr. Nawaz Sharif. In Mr. Sharif’s policy, the the ethnic card worked well in creating widespread dissension against Mr. Musharraf and the MQM.
Mr. Sharif hopes that the same ethnic card will allow him to weaken the PPP government for the next elections.
This is not the first time Mr. Sharif has used these ethnic tactics. During the Zia years when he was the Chief Minister of the Punjab, Mr. Sharif played the card, and ran for elections against the popular Ms. Benazir Bhutto. He even won the elections partly on the basis of that card. A man rises to the highest level of his incompetence. Perhaps Mr. Sharif has reached his zenith.
The last ruler of the Punjab who used the ethnic card was Maharaja Ranjit Singh. His Sikha-shahi still brings tears to the eyes of the people of the Subcontinent. Mr. Sharif’s strategy is dangerous, but it will not succeed. The people of Punjab are the heart of Pakistan. repeatedly over the past six decades they have chosen national interests over ethnic politics. the fact that the vote bank of the PPP is in the Punjab shows the fallacy of the Nawaz strategy.
Isolated in Saudi Arabia, Mr. Sharif’s party faced defections and decimation. Mr. Sharif is not a bigot but used the ethnic card to sow the seeds of dissatisfaction in the general populace. He was not toallty successful, because the people rejected his calls and voted for the PPP. Mr. Sharif’s campaign was based on venom against the MQM. the PML(Q) worked the propaganda that Mr. Musharraf was a MQM guy and Mr. Kiyani was more acceptable than Mr. Musharraf. The million Dollar question is will there be peace in Karachi or will a “military action” be resumed against 9-Zero? Of the hundreds of cases against the leader of the MQM is a case that he stole the hat of one of the policeman! Sarhad and Baluchistan are on fire already. Will Mr. Sharif’s policies begin targeting Karachi and really messing with the economy of Pakistan?
Mr. Sharif’s aggressive campaign to prepare for the next elections has left the PML(Q) in a defensive and responsive mode. They met with the MQM to form a “grand opposition”, and promised to take action against the Nilofar Bakhtiars parachute gang.
Whether the PPP can see through Mr. Sharif’s game, or not depends on the vision of Mr. Zardari and friends. Both the PPP and the PML(N) are preparing for the next elections. Keeping that scenario in mind the PPP may propose a Prime Minister from the Punjab.
Sharif rules out compromise with Musharraf
Accusing President Pervez Musharraf of turning Pakistan into a ”US colony”, PML-N chief and former premier Nawaz Sharif on Sunday ruled out the possibility of any compromise with him and the PML-Q, the party which backed the former military ruler.
”President Musharraf turned Pakistan into a US colony and killed Pakistani nationals through the use of force,” Sharif said, ruling out any compromise with the President or his supporters.
Addressing a seminar in Lahore, he said many so-called political stalwarts of the PML-Q had ”collapsed like sand walls” during the elections.
Sharif has been insisting on Musharraf’s resignation since the PML-Q was routed in the February 18 general election.
Musharraf, he pointed out, is ”virtually pursuing US policies aimed at creating a gulf in the nation and destroying the military”.
He advised the nation to stand up against Musharraf as this was the only way to steer Pakistan out of the clutches of the US.
Sharif said the PML-N would back the PPP, which won a majority at the centre in the polls, to form the government.
The PML-N and PPP will jointly frame policies to run the government, which will provide relief to people at all levels, he said.
The PML-N won a majority of seats in Punjab and will form the provincial government headed by Shahbaz Sharif, he said.
The false case framed against Shahbaz by Musharraf and PML-Q leaders has ended and Shahbaz will soon contest and win elections, Sharif said.
Shahbaz was on Saturday acquitted by an anti-terrorism court in Lahore in a case related to the extra-judicial killing of five youths in 1998.