Not many had expected much from the All Parties Conference (APC) convened by JUIF leader Maulana Fazlulr Rehman. As expected it started with lot of sound and fury but died with a whimper. Not that, it did not have enough political pull and power. It was provided enough credentials by Pakistan’s most brilliant young leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman of PPP backed by PMLN’s rising star Maryam Nawaz Sharif.
Bilawal Bhutto made the difference when he opposed Maulana’s religious card against Prime Minister Imran Khan who according to the clerics, have been careless in referring to matters religious. So did Maryam not support Maulana’s move to use religion to pillory IK. Indeed, IK’s religious knowledge and history are as much as is the expertise of a monkey in using the razor blade. Some day he will dig his own grave and rest in peace.
Both Bilawal Bhutto and Maryam Nawaz seems to be thinking differently in their opposition to the PTI government. They would like to speed up the process of its ouster. On the other hand, veteran leadership in their parties are in no hurry and would like IK to have a free run through its tenure. Despite opposition parties sticking to their guns to their mantra from the election days that they had been made victims of pre-and-post election rigging by the Establishment to bring in their ‘selected Prime Minister’ to dance to the music played by their band pipers.
No doubt the government of the ‘selected’ prime minister despite its tall promises to run rivers of milk and honey, put a roof on every shelter-less person’s head, create jobs in such a large number that would even bring back home comfortably and gainfully employed Pakistanis abroad. Prime Minister Khan who had promised to commit suicide rather than extend a beggar’s bowl to IMF has shamelessly surrendered Pakistan’s economic writ to the three imported Musketeers at the back and call of IMF.
Despite having full throttled backing of the Establishment and the Army Chief who has himself taken the plunge by becoming the most important member of the newly contrived National Development Council (NDC)—the ruling party has acknowledged its total failure to deliver that and pass the basic performance test. It is finding itself hard to wriggle out of the economic mess and as such in its panic reaction to the opposition parties, has opened flood gates of intimidation of their leaders by arresting former President Asif Zardari, Hamza Shahbaz and Rana Sanaullah and conveying death threats to independent journalists such as Asma Shirazi, Hamid Meer etc that like of them would soon be behind bars. While their hatchet media managers are having a field day, other social media groups are being targeted for repression. Besides, PTI is also repeating history by indulging in horse trading. It is in the process of initiating a major switch over of members from PMLN to PTI. It is being dreaded by some senior and die-hard PTI stalwarts that a time would soon come when PTI would be dominated by Ex-PMLN-Wallas!
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in his hard hitting public speech on Saturday alleged that the ‘selected’ prime minister is ‘dancing to the umpire’s tunes’ and he doesn’t understand that in a democracy the people are the ultimate umpire. When an Army General starts giving profound lectures on national economy pointing it out its pitfalls, it surely means that IK and his economic team are no better than useless nincompoops.
Addressing a huge public meeting in Dera Ismail Khan, the PPP chief said that a ‘selected’ incompetent government has been imposed on the people of Pakistan. “People from every sector are now screaming but all their protestation are falling on Imran Khan’s deaf ears and he doesn’t care.” He, however, warned that the ‘selected government’ is on shaky ground and will soon fall. Referring to the questions on the transparency of the last general election Bilawal said that since elections were fake as such there is no political freedom and there is a huge question over the presence of democracy in the country. “Imran questioned four constituencies in the 2013 polls. In the last elections, Form 45 was missing in all the constituencies,” he said. “The people of erstwhile FATA fought against terrorists … and now they should fight against the puppets and the riggers. We all have to come out and fight against the selected government,” he said. According to Bilawal Bhutto, Prime Minister Imran Khan has sold the country to the IMF. “His government’s recent budget has all for the rich and nothing for the poor,” he said, adding that all IK promises have proven false.
PPP chairman has called upon superior judiciary to take appropriate action over purported video of accountability court judge that came to light this weekend. He also expressed grave concerns over the allegations of blackmailing of a judge through an incriminating video to force him to give a desired verdict in a corruption reference against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Reacting to the claims made by Maryam Nawaz at a press conference earlier in the day, the PPP chairman said this was not the first time that such accusations had been made. “In the past, similar allegations of exerting pressure on the judges have also been made.” It is indeed a sad commentary on the health of Pakistani democracy that such accusations continue to be made so often and so repeatedly, the PPP chairman urged upon the superior judiciary to take appropriate action in this connection. “If for some reasons the judiciary is not inclined to address such issues then the opposition parties must deliberate on it and formulate a united course of action.”
“It is most unfortunate that even today, political circles are abuzz with pressure reportedly exerted on the judges to deliver preferred verdicts in corruption cases against opposition leaders,” said the PPP chairman. Bilawal said the presidential references against some honourable judges of the Supreme Court and Sindh High Court were also seen by many as an attempt by the ‘regime’ to undermine the judicial independence. He also made an appeal to all judges, who are facing such a situation, not to succumb to pressure tactics and avoid issuing verdicts under pressure.
Most serious challenge faced by political forces in the given circumstances is the pronounced collaboration between the Praetorian Establishment and its selected civil government. The way things are being jointly managed is well indicative of quasi-civil-military government or as Ayesha Siddiqua says, some thing of General Pervez Musharraf and perhaps Gen Ziaul Haq in a new bottle.
Enough is enough. It is time to ponder. Political forces must garner people’s power for street reaction. One must be prepared to counter what price Imran Khan gets like Gen ZIA and Musharraf from the Americans to play ball with them. IMF dole out is significant, more importantly ban of BLA and similar action by Pakistan against Hafiz Saeed. Afghanistan is not yet over and Americans are itching to open yet another front. President Trump being a shrewd businessman knows that the right price to Imran Khan could get him the support that Gen ZIA and Gen Musharraf gave to President Reagan and President Bush.
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