Apr 302008

By Tariq Butt

ISLAMABAD: President Pervez Musharraf and his political allies have a lot to rejoice over because of the stalemate that hit the Dubai talks between the top leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on the question of the restoration of the deposed judges.
However, a presidential confidant did not agree with this impression and said during an informal chat with The News that Musharraf would have been really thrilled had his political allies won the Feb 18 parliamentary elections.

“One man’s meat is another’s poison,” was the old adage that the confidant quoted while citing the reason behind the deadlock in the parleys between the two major political players on the sacked justices’ issue.

Nawaz Sharif’s desperate dash to Dubai for talks with Asif Zardari would set the future course for all kinds of cooperation between their parties, especially if the PPP co-chairman did not agree to reinstate the judges through an executive order to be passed following the passage of a resolution in the National Assembly.

Musharraf’s confidant said Zardari wanted grand political reconciliation and had practically worked hard in this direction by taking all the major political stakeholders on board. “He wants to tackle the nagging national problems through consensus and consultations.” On the other hand, he said the PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif was determined to do rancorous politics. “This is the basic difference and clash between the two top coalition stalwarts,” he added.

The confidant said since Pakistan’s politics were personality based, no senior politician was consulting with his party on how to resolve the key national issues.

He said had he been an adviser to Nawaz Sharif, he would have counselled him not to quit the ruling coalition just on account of the sacked judges but rather adopt a reconciliatory attitude with the objective of wrestling with the actual colossal problems of Pakistan, which were plenty.

The presidential confidant said Nawaz Sharif had to forget the past and try to move forward following in the footsteps of Zardari. There is no point in being hostage to the past and remaining stuck in what should be bygone, he said, adding that not only in Pakistan but also elsewhere, one had to be flexible in politics.

Meanwhile, when Nawaz Sharif recently talked about conspiracies being hatched at the presidency, he named Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada being on the right side of Musharraf, Attorney General Malik Qayyum on his left and Maj-Gen (retd) Rashid Qureshi in his front, but he did not point to this confidant as being part of such cabal.

The confidant said the prime minister and all the PPP ministers had good working relationship with the president. Those who accompanied Musharraf on his China visit were duly respectful to him during the entire trip.

Not only Musharraf is having the last laugh over the impasse that has struck the PPP-PML-N talks but also his allies, including the PML-Q and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), are elated over the near collapse of the Dubai dialogue. They are eager to see the PML-N walk out of the ruing federal coalition according to its public commitment. They dream a total split of the PML-N from the PPP.

“Precisely, our prediction and assessment based on the PML-N’s track record and hard stand on the judges’ issue is about to come true as the coalition would hit rock bottom sooner than later,” a prominent PML-Q leader told The News.

He said Nawaz Sharif hurriedly dispatched Shahbaz Sharif to Dubai in an attempt to secure a face-saving solution to the sacked justices’ issue but Asif Zardari’s own sensible stand and agenda that he was resolute to implement came in his way.

The PML-Q’s taunts reserved for the PML-N will increase as the latter will have to give marching order to its federal ministers because of non-acceptance of its demand by the PPP. Pundits stressing a doomsday for the unity of the ruling coalition will prove correct.

“This walkout will confirm our point that Nawaz Sharif loves confrontation as he thinks that this course brings immense political dividends to him,” the PML-Q leader said.

However, it depends on the sagacity and wisdom of Nawaz Sharif and Zardari on how to keep their coalition intact but, at the same time, arrive at an amicable solution to the lingering judges’ issue. If they fail, the people’s faith in them that was reposed on Feb 18 will wane significantly.

Courtesy: The News, 30/4/2008

 Posted by at 11:41 am

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