View Full Version : Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall...

06 May 06,, 17:17
Saturday, May 06, 2006 E-Mail this article to a friend Printer Friendly Version

EDITORIAL: Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall...

General Pervez Musharraf has again thrown his weight behind the PML president, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, telling the ruling League’s vice presidents that they should not oppose Mr Hussain but rather work with him to strengthen the party. Since the municipal elections last year, the ruling League has been riven with internal tensions with various leaders accusing Mr Hussain and his cousin, the Punjab chief minister, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, of “hijacking” the party. The League has a “forward bloc” and its leaders have been trying unsuccessfully to mount an internal coup against Mr Hussain and Mr Elahi. General Musharraf’s current “advice” was directed towards party vice presidents Ijaz Ul Haq, Hamid Nasir Chattha and Manzoor Wattoo. But there are other leaders too and they include such names as Majeed Malik, Kabir Wasti, Azeem Chaudhry and Iqbal Dar. In two recent meetings these leaders openly said that they opposed Mr Hussain’s policies. They also alleged that the Chaudhries were “running the party like a personal fief”.

General Musharraf is rightly upset with the ongoing tension. Not only do both sides look up to him for support, he also needs unity in the League and its coalition partners to field a strong team in the 2007 elections. For now the dissident leaders have assured General Musharraf that they will not do anything to disrupt and weaken the party but differences run deep and are unlikely to be put to rest. Already they have been recrudescing. Indeed, if statements are anything to go by, the “forward bloc” is not about to back off. General Musharraf’s decision not to meet its leaders on the pretext that he is too busy may only serve to fuel the rebellion.

Even at the meeting between General Musharraf and the PML vice presidents, the leaders did not make any bones about the way the Chaudhries are handling matters: “Decisions are not being taken on the party platform, the Central Working Committee has not met for a long time and top leaders have failed to summon parliamentary party meetings regularly,” was how they painted the situation. Similarly, while Mr Elahi, for instance, has come out openly in favour of General Musharraf’s uniform post-2007, Mr Chattha told the media that this was Mr Elahi’s personal view and not that of the League. This implies that there is either a sharp difference of opinion on the issue within the PML ranks or that the anti-Chaudhry group is going to play hard to get if General Musharraf doesn’t fulfil its need for sharing power and limelight in the League. Then there are some League leaders who genuinely think that General Musharraf should retire as army chief and join the League as its president. However, all this does not mean that General Musharraf is likely to take the risk of doffing his uniform. Mr Chattha’s statement in this regard is significant. After the meeting with General Musharraf, he said that “Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz are not being considered as candidates for the office of PML president.”

General Musharraf needs total unity among his allies because he has effectively alienated the political opposition. While it is too early to confirm that he is completely committed to plan A (League and allies) for the 2007 elections, it is difficult to see how he might shift gears to plan B if circumstances necessitate a last minute deal with both Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. Mr Sharif has categorically stated that no compromise with General Musharraf is possible. He has also lashed out at General Musharraf’s policies and cannot forget how he was insulted and injured by the treatment meted out to him by General Musharraf after the coup. In Pakistan, personal affront and vindictiveness is often more important than political differences and it doesn’t seem likely that either Mr Sharif or General Musharraf will bite the bullet and be flexible towards each other. But a deal with Ms Bhutto cannot be ruled out at some stage of the game. That is what makes the situation fluid. The stronger and more united the League under General Musharraf the better the chances that a deal with Ms Bhutto, if it is still necessary, will be on General Musharraf’s terms, and the greater the disunity and squabbling within the League the greater the chances that the combined opposition will prevail more forcefully. *


Though the President of a country unless he is the Chief Executive like the President of the US, he should remain neutral.

Paksitan has a Prime Minister who is the head of government and so should be the one who is the political head as also the real executive.

However, Pakistan is unique since it is a military boosted democracy and hence it is a bit of a hotch potch. This allows the President to be the Chief Executive and the Prime Minister merely as his sidekick.

It appears that a panic has set in Musharraf.

First, he nudges the PML to "suggest" that Musharraf should stand for re-electon before this favourable Parliament is dissolved. This means that Mushrraf is not too sure that the next lot may re-elect him.

He also wants a favourable lot in the next Parliament so that he can live comfortably in his present capacity.

Quite a charade in the name of democracy!