Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has scored her first international hat-trick. She delivered googlies that sent the three back to the pavilion. The lady walked off with the ‘man of the match’ award from President Obama. The three batting were President Asif Ali Zardari; Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Mian Nawaz Sharif. Zardari was clean bowled; Gilani was caught behind the wicket; and Sharif was run out. The ball used in the match was no ordinary made-in-Sialkot glob. It was a multi-million-dollar musket ball made-in-USA. Her words, not exact, were: “Now you listen to me Mr President” hectored Hillary “either you yield to Mr Sharif’s demands or we cancel your next aid instalment.” The threat worked. Next to be bowled out was our prime minister. “Mr Prime Minister, get before the TV camera pronto and make the announcement or else…” Gilani straightaway went to work on the speech dictated from DC. With three dry runs on the teleprompter – cut, paste and edit – several hours later when the muezzin had already called the faithful for morning prayers and daylight had arrived, the PM made his ‘historic’ speech stumblingly to millions of bleary eyed Pakistanis. Last but not the least was the phone call to Nawaz Sharif. “Mr Sharif, call off the long march” said madam secretary. “President Zardari has accepted all your demands.”
Are women better negotiators? Where Ambassador Holbrooke and COAS General Kayani failed to rope in Zardari, Hillary Clinton succeeded. She played her trump card last. Nawaz Sharif’s breaking through the police pickets to come out and lead the march in Lahore bound for Islamabad was a defining moment. He could have been killed. One heard of sharpshooters sent to Punjab to bump him off. Amidst a sea of thousands, Nawaz Sharif would have gone the way of Benazir Bhutto and embraced martyrdom. His heroic defiance in the face of death drew the fury of Lahore out on the streets. Hillary Clinton too must have held her breath as did millions glued to their TV sets. It was then that she decided to pick up the phone and threaten the president with halting all American aid if he did not restore Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.
Only one problem: shouldn’t our rulers now ban the word ‘sovereignty?’ Not only will we be spared its mispronunciation by many; we’ll stop pretending we are sovereign. Our masters won’t have to make nutty excuses about drone attacks anymore.
More urgently, we need to purge the judiciary of jiyala judges, some of them reprehensible creatures while others not worth calling ‘My Lords.’ They are sinister and must go. Only then can the lower courts be rescued from blood-sucking judges. And let’s please bury the ‘Naek Formula’ forever! Justice (r) Wajhiuddin rightly calls it a “bundle of stupidity.” Attorney General Sardar Latif Khosa must now work for Pakistan; not the president and the PPP. Naek and Khosa must never be allowed to finger the self-destruct button ever again. Had the fear of Hillary Clinton not entered the spheres of influence, there would have been martial law. Some heads have to be lopped off. Senator sober Raza Rabbani would make a competent law minister. Also Senator Babar Awan needs a reality check. “I don’t want to live in the past,” he continued insisting when asked about the fate of the PCO and jiyala judges. “You’re making an unfortunate statement,” he chortled at his interviewer. “Tell me the names of these judges whom you accuse of having party (PPP) affiliations?” This kind of chalaki is passé Senator! Your boss tried it and it didn’t work. “Mr Zardari seems to have this time outsmarted himself!” said one foreign newspaper.
Mr Zardari and his ‘savants’ claim all the credit for restoring the pre-November 2, 2007, judiciary. Notice their faces on TV. They belie the truth. The people of Pakistan have wizened and matured in a matter of one year. But the PPP bunch are men and women of yesterday from whom the masses have already wrested the promise Zardari never intended to fulfil. Remember, it was the people’s groundswell on that Sunday afternoon that got Hillary to make the final three phone calls.
Next time, Hillary may not call. She may just let the army take over.
The writer is a freelance journalist with over twenty years of experience in national and international reporting. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org