Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Pakistan: Situation far from satisfactory

The recent unfolding of events in Pakistan seems far from satisfactory. Tackling external threats, especially the recent firing by India at borders demanded consensus among the political parties and all the organs of the state. 

The future of incumbent government looks uncertain after the apex court ordered arrest of Prime Minister Raja Perveiz Ashraf and demands that President Asif Ali Zardari should resign. The sit in by the followers and sympathizers of Allama Tahir-ul-Qadri in Islamabad demanding dissolution of assemblies is fueling constitutional crisis.

Islamabad has been missing President Zardari for some time and there are allegations that his trusted Interior Minister Rehman Malik has also joined Islamabad protestors. This point gets credence due to entry of swarms of protestors in highly sensitive D-Square of the federal capital.

While Imran Khan has demanded president to submit his resignation, the real cause of concern is presentation of a resolution in Balochistan Assembly condemning imposition of Governor Rule in the province.

Situation is changing so fast that apprehensions are growing that the country may plunge into serious constitutional crisis, similar to that of 1977, if some crucial steps are not taken immediately. At that time Army was prompted to intervene but now handing over Quetta under Army control was not considered feasible.

While many of the critics attribute the present crisis to incompetence of the present ruling junta, a few conspiracy theories are also getting credence. It is being said that the process of fragmentation of Pakistan has started and probability of foreign intervention is high. The only problem is that rulers instead of reading writing on the wall are asking where the wall is.

Self centeredness of political leaders forces the critics to say that they are responsible for the prevailing mess. PPP and PML-N kept on following ‘you scratch my back and I scratch your back’ policy but also kept on denying this.

Over the years PML-N kept on accusing PPP of the worst corruption but never had the courage to move non-confidence resolution against the prime minister, fearing it would be accused of derailing democratic process. Some say it was not any sympathy with the democracy but to its rule in the largest province, where 65 per cent of total population of the country lives.

In the aftermath of war going on in Afghanistan for more than four decades various extremists groups, many supported by outsiders have continued their activities throughout Pakistan. The Government failed in weeding out the criminals.

If Balochistan was under the grip of infiltrators, the situation was not very different in other three provinces. Often Punjab government was accused of enjoying highly cordial relationships with many of the banned outfits

Lately, Chief Minister of Balochistan was dismissed and Governor Rule was imposed in the province. This was because the provincial government failed in stopping killing of an ethnic group, Hazaras. The apathy was at its height when Hazaras staged a sit in along with nearly 90 dead bodies but no one paid any heed. When prime minister reached Quetta emphasis was on bringing an in-house change and dismissal of the chief minister was resisted.

Now the government faces precarious position because a resolution condemning imposition of Governor Rule has been present in the Balochistan assembly. The response on issue of arrest warrants of prime minister has been more or less the same.

An Advisor to the prime minister, Fawad Chaudhry while talking to a foreign news agency after the Supreme Court ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Ashraf said there was no doubt the country’s military and Supreme Court were working together to topple the government. Following this instance caused problems in areas where PPP enjoys strong vote bank as the activists resorted to killing of people and putting on fire private and public properties.

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