May 312008

By Mian Abrar


ISLAMABAD: PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif, with a new approach, have finally reached an understanding to turn their guns on Musharraf, ultimately paving the way for Asif Zardari to become the country’s president in the “larger interest of the democratic process”.

“In line with the new understanding between them, both the parties will build up immense pressure on Musharraf, leaving him with no other option but to resign without any condition. Once the objective is achieved, Asif Zardari would be elected the new president to ensure continuity of the political process and implementation of the people-friendly agenda of both the parties,” said highly credible sources privy to the developments.

The sources confided to The News that both the leaders had also agreed to put the judges issue on the “back-burner” for the time being, and instead intensify efforts to oust Musharraf by exerting maximum pressure.

“As the military establishment as well as the United States of America, Saudi Arabia and even China are against any move to impeach the president, the political leadership of both the parties has decided not to annoy them and instead subject the president to immense pressure to resign,” said the sources, adding that this was a give-and-take move for both the leaders which suited the agenda of both the parties in the current scenario. Through a smart political move, Asif Zardari has diverted the pressure of the lawyers’ long march from Islamabad towards the GHQ thus “hitting two birds with one stone”.

Riding the public hate wave against the president, like a shrewd politician, Zardari has turned the tables on both — lawyers as well as the establishment.

“Under the plan, both the parties would join the long march announced by the lawyers’ community on June 10, which would be the peak point of this move. Contrary to the general perception that the People’s Lawyers Forum (PLF) would be used to foil the long march of the lawyers’ community, the PLF would participate in the march enthusiastically,” said the sources.

“The big question, however, remains how the military establishment would cope with the massive public pressure when the two mainstream political parties would be marching on Rawalpindi side-by-side with the excited lawyers and civil society organisations? Under the new strategy, the long march is meant to realise only one objective: Musharraf’s resignation,” added the sources.

The changed strategy not only reflects the political acumen of Asif Zardari, who is well known in political circles as a “cool customer”, but also suggests that Zardari, after not receiving the desired support from the establishment and owing to immense diplomatic pressure being put by the friendly countries for staying away from any move to impeach the president, has elegantly redesigned the plan. The sources claimed that most of the leaders of the lawyers’ movement were unaware of the changed strategy agreed between Zardari and Sharif.

However, there is a visible frustration among the deposed judges and there are some who are even publicly expressing displeasure over the unnecessary delay in their restoration. When contacted, a deposed chief justice of a high court, expressed dismay on the ongoing political developments, saying it was unfortunate that the issue of judges’ restoration has been relegated to the background.

“Look, our families are suffering due to lack of resources. This is causing frustration as the judges are facing financial constraints while the people are playing politics over the judges’ issue,” he added.

 Posted by at 9:40 am

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