May 072008

LAHORE – While the PPP leadership seems to have convinced the PML-N that it had no role in the postponement of by-polls by announcing to hold them by the end of June, it is still clueless about the real game plan, though Advisor to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik has so far emerged as the main actor in the whole episode. 
Party chief Asif Ali Zardari had a detailed meeting on Tuesday with Malik to ascertain the factual position, but he was reportedly even more confused than before after knowing his version of the story. 
Rehman Malik reportedly told his party chief that he did talk about law and order situation in general with the NWFP Chief Minister with regard to his province, but did not specifically asked him to write to the Election Commission of Pakistan to postpone the coming by-elections. 
According to PPP sources, the top party leadership needs some solid evidence to hold Malik responsible for the ugly situation it had to face with regard to the postponement of polls. 
When The Nation contacted PPP spokesperson Farhatullah Babar to know his party’s version about Rehman Malik’s alleged role in the deferment of polls, he said Malik had denied having asked the NWFF government to send that report to the Election Commission, and going by his statement, he (Rehman) cannot be held responsible for what had happened. 
The PPP spokesperson, however, cast aspersion on NWFP government, which, according to him, did not bother to consult the Prime Minister and other coalition partners before writing to the Election Commission. 
“Even if Malik had asked the NWFP CM to send that report, the NWFP Government should not have done so without proper verification and consultation with all concerned,” Farhatullah made his point. 
He termed the development ‘intriguing’, which needs to be probed into to get the real culprits behind the move. 
Meanwhile, the PPP leadership has succeeded to convince its major coalition partner, the PML-N, that it had no role in the postponement of elections. 
While talking to TheNation on Tuesday, senior PML-N leader Raja Zafarul Haq said that his party was convinced that PPP also wanted holding of by-polls as per earlier schedule, and there was no reason to doubt its intentions in this regard. He said his party was in touch with the PPP leadership in this regard. 
Another senior party leader Iqbal Zafar Jhagra also came up with a similar statement when this scribe contacted him to know whether the PML-N leadership was satisfied with the PPP’s explanation of the whole affair. “This might have happened due to some misunderstanding”, he maintained, and added, “For the PML-N, judges’ restoration was more important than any delay in the by-polls.” He said his party would not make it an issue with the PPP, as it wanted smooth working of the coalition government. He hoped that judges would be restored on May 12. 
To a question, Jhagra said that PML-N would continue to support the PPP government even if it had to pull out of the coalition over the judges’ issue. “We would continue to support the present system as we want continuity of democracy in the country,” he maintained.

Source: The Nation, 7/5/2008

 Posted by at 6:35 am

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