Apr 282008

Nawaz Sharif is not happy with his ministers who attended a dinner with Musharraf at the Prime Minister’s House the other day, reported a widely read newspaper.
After having seen pictures of the event that appeared in the press the next morning, I was also surprised how Mian Saheb could tolerate such socialization when he does not like even to breathe the same air as Pervez Musharraf. The news story reveals that Nawaz Sharif has expressed displeasure over the incident, saying that this had “presented a negative image of the party which does not accept Musharraf as a legally elected president and also does not want any working relationship with him”. 
The PML-N leader is said to be particularly displeased and annoyed over the fact that ministers did not bother consult the party leadership before attending the dinner.
I can really imagine how bad must have Mr. Sharif felt, especially seeing his party’s Secretary Information Ahsan Iqbal, along with his wife, enjoying the meal at Table Number One. Musharraf must have been at a “spoon shake” distance from him.
The ministers shouldn’t have gone to such a party where the biggest persona non grata of the PML-N was the focal point throughout the activity. I am sure; he would have been the one to do most of the talking that evening. He must have been the only civilian in the entire gathering that General Kayani might had felt comfortable with. All the more reason for the PML-N ministers not to have shown up.
I think the only thing that could have put a smile on Nawaz Sharif’s face was the “go Musharraf go” slogan as a compulsory feature of the dinner. Alas, none of his comrades even thought of a black-armband ribbon protest, which could have also given some face-saving to the angry leader, who of course didn’t come either. Not that anyone called him.
The only explanation the ministers might have given their leader could have been that they never knew that Musharraf would also be attending the dinner. My mole, inside the mainstream these days, has quoted one of the ministers as saying that the PM House intentionally concealed that Musharraf would be attending the dinner, on the pretext of security reasons. This might have worsened their case a little further because the last thing that Nawaz Sharif would have expected from his ministers was to be so naïve as not to know that keeping the nature of the event in mind even a child could have guessed who was coming to dinner.
The moral of the story is that how far would the coalition go with this kind of a mindset about Musharraf. The events of the last couple of weeks have already recorded a significant proximity and bonhomie between the President and the PPP top brass. Everybody including the Prime Minister is singing songs of co-existence and working relationship, etc. Even Mr. Zardaari has been surprising many, especially Nawaz Sharif with a sudden touch of tenderness for Pervaiz Musharraf. One can safely say that the PPP has duly transformed into a Musharraf-friendly party with the gift of NRO as the head-liner of this relationship. This seems very much in harmony with the American wishes too.
You really don’t have to be an Einstein to understand that both the major stakeholders in the ruling coalition are growing apart every day. The Judge Issue is still hanging unresolved and the unholy liaison between the PPP and the President, backed by the establishment of course, is gaining strength by the hour. Makhdoom Javed Hashmi and CM Khosa have already started throwing out feelers. Even the date, 10th of May, is being quoted to mark the beginning of the end. That might be the time for Nawaz Sharif to say enough is enough, should the PPP fail to deliver on the Judge Issue. As the initial step, the PML-N is clearly poised to call it a day in the Cabinet.
Obviously, Asif Zardaari will not go gaga over this. He should, and perhaps will, go to any extent to stop the doomsday scenario unfolding. But unfortunately, he has very little to offer Mr. Sharif on the Judges Issue and all most nothing on Musharraf. I don’t see both of them on the same page for very much longer.
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Source: The Nation, 28/4/2008

 Posted by at 6:44 am

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