By Muhammad Akram
The Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) has decided to tread cautiously on the path, it chose for itself last month, to bring the PPP-led coalition government to its knees following the emergence of volatile and uncertain political situation in the country in the wake of ‘sudden’ travel abroad of President Asif Ali Zardari, ostensibly on his deteriorating health condition, informed party sources confided to Daily Times on Thursday.
The sources said that PML-N President Nawaz Sharif’s wish for an early recovery of President Zardari was a well-thought move aimed at easing out the tension on the national horizon as rumours are rife of the latter’s feeling tremendous pressure owing to the ‘memogate’ scandal that has reported strained ties between the democratic government and the powerful military establishment.
The sources said that the party leadership wanted to lend a helping hand if approached and welcomed a returned call from Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on the reported ‘kind words’ from Nawaz Sharif for the ailing president.
The sources said that the top party leadership would not support any hard or soft coup as being hinted, quoting various political and non-political sources and would seek transition of power through elections from one democratically elected government to the other.
The sources said that PML-N Senator Ishaq Dar’s letter to the chairman of parliament’s national security committee, Raza Rabbani, for the early convening of the meeting to discuss ‘memogate’ scandal was an attempt on the part of the party to not let the matter get out of the hands of political forces.
The sources said that though the PML-N had moved the Supreme Court viewing parliament’s action on the ‘memogate’ scandal as dilly-dallying, it has not closed down numerous other options in hands to redress the emerging and alarming situation wherein the political system in the country appeared to be dithering and going out of the bound of political forces.
The sources said the top PML-N leadership has conveyed to the PPP leadership that the party would not support an undemocratic move to send packing the elected government though it reserved the right to continue the political movement to bring a change only through constitutional means.
The sources in the PPP, on the other hand, appeared confident that telephonic contact between Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Gilani would not just served as a morale booster for the party but would help it open fresh political contacts with the largest opposition party in the country.
The sources said the political overture could help the democratic forces’ reunion for the cause of democracy in the country.
The party sources believed that the PPP government was facing the toughest challenge in its three and half years’ rule sans a Bhutto leading the party. The defiant gesture of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari wearing a Sindhi cap and clad in shawl during a party meeting on Wednesday has served well the ranks and files of the party besides sending a powerful message that the party is not over, yet, for the PPP.
Knowledgeable political observers, however, see no let up to the agony being faced by the democratically elected government besides getting support of opposition parties on the cause of perpetuation of the democratic system in the country. They view with jaundice eye the pending PML-N petition on ‘memogate’ scandal before the Supreme Court the real cause of concern to the elected government unless parliament’s national security committee – with PML-N and other parliamentary parties represented in it – come up with a solution that could debar the apex court from proceeding on the ‘memogate’ scandal case any further.
The observer said the apex court’s pro-active role on quick hearing on the petition, seeking replies from all respondents including President Zardari, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani and Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha is a sword hanging on the government’s head, as no one can predict what is going to be reported to the 9-member full bench of the SC about the role of the implicated individuals, including President Zardari.
The observers believe that though the petitioners have not mentioned names in the petition, the matter pending before an ‘independent court’ is open-ended and could help things move out of the hands of the elected government.
Though the petitioners have not raised the issue as to who authorised the ISI director general to meet Mansoor Ijaz, the author of the article in Financial Times on October 10, only 12 days after the publication of the write-up wherein he mentioned in between the lines Asif Zardari as boss on whose behest the important diplomat (read Husain Haqqani) made him to write down the notorious memo seeking US help to cut to size the power military of the country.
The observers were of the view that the PML-N could play an important role in defusing the tension by putting its weight in favour of the democratic system rather than having it wrapped up by the establishment.
The PML-N, the observer said, can again support the continuation of the democratic system by putting weight behind the parliament’s national security committee against the pending petition on the ‘memogate’ scandal before the Supreme Court.
This is besides the PML-N president expressing support for democracy without paying heed to the calls for soft coup, which would help his detractors only.
Source: Daily Times