By Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: Asif Ali Zardari has proved yet again that he is not a man of his word.
In Geo’s popular talk show — Dr Shahid Masood’s Meray Mutabiq — on Monday Asif Ali Zardari backed off from his public pledge as well as the Murree Declaration that he had signed with Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on March 9, 2008.
Previously he had backtracked from his public statement, made a few days after Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, that Amin Fahim would be the party’s candidate for the office of the prime minister. He ended up nominating Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani for the slot of prime minister.
Dr Shahid Masood, who knows this top politician of today’s Pakistan, did well to show to the people of Pakistan different facets of the person in whose hands the destiny of this country lies.
The major part of the almost two-hour programme was consumed on discussion of the judges’ issue. When Zardari was asked about his commitment that judges’ would be restored through a simple National Assembly resolution within 30 days of the formation of the federal government as envisaged in the Murree Declaration, he said that it was a political statement.
Not only was the Murree Declaration formally signed by the country’s two top leaders in front of the media, it was also read out at the press conference. There was no mention of any constitutional package and its linkage with the judges’ restoration in the Murree Declaration but now Zardari has conveniently changed his stance to the surprise of the whole of Pakistan.
“In such situations how can we trust our leaders,” Lt Gen (Retd) Jamshed Gulzar Kiani told this correspondent while showing his utter disappointment over Zardari’s latest summersault. “He made a public pledge. It was not a joke,” the reputed retired general said, adding that the PPP co-chairperson has traumatised the people.
Dr Shahid also gave a piece of advice to his guest: why does he not grasp the golden opportunity of making the people happy by restoring their darling judges. The host also explained that it would boost Zardari’s popularity graph to an all-time high but the guest explained the qualities of leadership. He said that leaders takes difficult decisions so that the nation prospers.
On the third day of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, Zardari announced that Makhdoom Amin Fahim would be the party’s candidate for the office of the prime minister. After the party won the elections, the PPP co-chairperson changed his mind. He nominated the incumbent Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for the slot despite the fact that respected PPP top leader Amin Fahim once reminded Zardari on the floor of the National Assembly that Zardari is a man of his word and that he is also a friend of friends. But Fahim’s reminder did not work. Rather it was not taken well by the Zardari House in Islamabad.
By showing that he is a “man of words” and “not a man of deeds”, Zardari vividly followed in the footsteps of President General (retd) Musharraf, who had announced in January 2004 that by 31st December 2004 he would doff his uniform but he actually did it only in November 2007.
One thing that is common between the two — both of whom claim to be top leaders — is that both are born under the zodiac sign of Leo and as such they have many common trades and qualities, which are commonly attached with the people born under this star at a specific point of time and are in authority, as is mentioned in the books of astrology.
In an interview to a Lahore-based English weekly during his jail days, Zardari once even said that he and Musharraf share one thing in common i.e. that both are Leo.
But the latest interview of Zardari showed yet a few more commonalities between him and Musharraf. One of such commonality is that they both dislike deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. While Musharraf has been repeatedly using harsh language against Justice Iftikhar since the last year’s judicial crisis, Zardari has lately opened up.
While the people talk of the deposed judges with great respect and see a hope for a better future in them, both Zardari and Musharraf have their negative views about these judges. Zardari cautioned Dr Shahid on Monday not to expect good decisions (justice) from the deposed judges “whom you want to restore”.
Leos are known for their arrogance or pride. We have been hearing Musharraf saying, “I will do this, I will do that” for the last eight years. The use of pronoun “I” was excessive in Zardari’s Monday night confrontation in the ‘Meray Mutabiq’ of Geo.
Yet another commonality noticed was their claim regarding press freedom. Musharraf has been saying all throughout during his dictatorship that he has given unprecedented freedom to the country’s media. On Monday, Zardari claimed the same and reminded his host that Dr Shahid had reappeared on the television screen only because of the PPP co-chairperson. He also claimed that Geo, which was earlier banned, got re-opened with the advent of the PPP government. Dr Shahid, however, corrected Zardari that this was not the case.
Source: The News, 30/4/2008