Wheat, oil crises created deliberately; president may be stopped from representing country abroad
By Mohammad Saleh Zaafir
ISLAMABAD: PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday agreed to give priority to impeachment of President Musharraf after they realised that the president has made up his mind to dissolve the assemblies and send the coalition government packing.
Sources told The News that both the leaders reviewed President Musharraf’s engagements and activities and found out that in meetings with leaders of different parties including the PML-Q, the MQM and the Pagara League, the president was giving indications of uprooting the government and the system.
The leaders, the sources said, agreed that the economic and political crises faced by the country were deliberately created by the president with the help of his supporters. The planning for these crises was done well before the February elections. The flour and oil crises were also part of the strategy adopted by the president. The wheat was first exported and when the situation got out of control it was imported on high rates. Similarly petroleum products were given a subsidy and no effort was made to stabilise the prices.
Consequently, the PPP and PML-N leaders believed, the economy came under pressure and unrest increased in the country. They also agreed that the president gave the impression that the armed forces would support him in his plans. However, the chief of army staff has said time and again that the armed forces would not interfere in politics. The army’s image was tarnished when General Pervez Musharraf was the chief of the army staff and soldiers and officers of the army had to face many difficulties particularly in the last days of Musharraf as army chief.
However, with the steps taken by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani the image of the armed forces was restored. Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari met one-on-one, before their aides joined them, to devise a line of action.
The two leaders recalled that on November 3, 2007, when the Supreme Court was about to decide on Pervez Musharraf’s eligibility to contest the presidential election, he imposed martial law in the country. When the lawyers protested, they were tortured openly and blatantly. Journalists were targeted and restricted strictly and many innocent people were killed in the Lal Masjid operation. Large-scale annihilation was caused by initiating an operation in Balochistan killing Nawab Akbar Bugti. All this threatened the national cohesion and integrity.
There were some subversive activities in Karachi putting the whole country into the a state of frustration that not only destroyed the social structure but also the economic set-up. This was done with clear intentions and much thought out conspiracy.
According to the sources, both Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari were in agreement about Pervez Musharraf that he had become a threat to the country’s stability and development. He, they believed, had devised his internal and external policies to only serve his own purpose.
He has misused his authority to benefit his personal friends. The leadership of the two parties agreed on the point that it was not possible for Pakistan to continue on the path of prosperity as long as Pervez Musharraf remained president of the country.
By using certain tactics he paralysed the government machinery. Likewise, there was a prevailing sense of insecurity among the government officials and they were not able to serve the country in a meaningful way.
Recently through his statements President Musharraf tried to give the impression that he was about to dissolve the elected assemblies by using Article 58-2(b).
Sources said because of these policies of the president the country’s foreign exchange reserves declined to a critical level and chances to revive the national economy were bleak. It is further said that during the meeting, President Musharraf’s impeachment and a number of other punitive measures, which would be taken under the constitution, were also discussed. However, what would be the line of action was still a secret in this regard. Preventing President Musharraf from representing the country at world-level meetings and forums was also being considered.
According to diplomatic analysts under the prevailing situation President Musharraf’s visit to China tomorrow (Thursday) can also be jeopardized. It is also learnt that a charge sheet regarding allegations against Musharraf was prepared; however, it would be given a final shape after consulting the leaders of other political parties of coalition.
Source: The News, 6/8/2008