Monday, March 16, 2009
Taseer, Malik and Fazl lead Zardari astray
By Hamid Mir
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari is now angry with his close aides who pushed him into a dead political end.
People like Salmaan Taseer, Rehman Malik and Maulana Fazlur Rehman assured him many a time that Nawaz Sharif could not attract the public to the roads and the government should not show flexibility on the restoration of the deposed judges. These advisers even told Zardari that he should not think about implementing the Charter of Democracy because its implementation would weaken his own constitutional powers.
Zardari even refused to listen not only to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani but also to some foreign dignitaries, who advised him to resolve the crisis by reinstating the deposed judges through an executive order.
Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer played a key role in destroying the political image of the federal government. He provided wrong information and assessments to Zardari about his talks with the PML-Q. He assured Zardari that the PML-Q was ready to form a coalition government with the PPP in the Punjab and he would also muster the support of, at least, 18 turncoats of the PML-N from the Punjab Assembly.
He was proven wrong. The PML-Q never took a clear position to form an alliance with the PPP and just one day before the long march, they said sorry to Salmaan Taseer. After this big political failure, Zardari tried to scare Nawaz Sharif by issuing some security alerts. Zardari was confident that Nawaz Sharif would not dare to come on the roads himself. His government informed him about the threat of “suicide bombers” again and again but Nawaz Sharif never listened to these threats.
As a last resort, Zardari tried to use the American pressure. It was surprising for Zardari that some top US government officials never used any “pressure” on Nawaz Sharif and they just tried to mediate.
Top US government functionaries tried their level best to prevent the PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif from coming out on the roads but they failed. US President’s Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke spoke to Nawaz Sharif twice last week and offered his services for mediation with Asif Ali Zardari but the PML-N Quaid never encouraged him.
Nawaz Shrif told this scribe that he did not want the Army and the US to interfere in the political affairs of the country and that was why he ignored the offer of the American envoy, but in a polite and friendly way.
Nawaz Sharif is confident that March 16 will change the history of Pakistan not through foreign forces and the Army but by the peopleís power and he is determined to spend at least seven days under the open sky in front of the President House in Islamabad.
Finally, it was the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who tried that Nawaz Sharif should not come on the roads for the restoration of the deposed judges. She assured Nawaz Sharif that the government of Pakistan would file a review petition in the Supreme Court against the disqualification of the Sharif brothers, governorís rule in the Punjab would be removed and the deposed judges would also be restored if Nawaz Sharif started a dialogue with Zardari.
The PML-N Quaid simply informed Hilary Clinton that he had signed written agreements with Zardari three times in the last one year and he could not trust him anymore. Nawaz Sharif made it clear to her that he was not interested in his disqualification and he would start talking to Zardari only after the restoration of the deposed judges.
Hilary Clinton informed President Zardari about the condition of Nawaz Sharif but Zardari only issued a vague press release on Friday night without taking any clear position. He simply missed a great chance for the resolution of the crisis.
Prime Minister Gilani has now advised Zardari to remove the governor Punjab immediately and say yes to the restoration of the deposed judges or the movement for the restoration of the deposed judges may turn into a “go Zardari go” movement.
March 16th will be the last day for Zardari to save his office from an angry mass movement. It is sad that some personal friends are advising him to use the Sindh card against Nawaz Sharif but Prime Minister Gilani is opposed to this advice.
He thinks that no PPP minister from the Punjab has resigned at this crucial stage. Two ministers from Sindh resigned against the policies of Zardari and it is now time to rescue the credibility of the government by taking some good decisions.
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