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Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Frustrated by King Abdullah, PML-N hits back at Zardari

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Tuesday demanded of President Asif Ali Zardari to take the Parliament and people of Pakistan into confidence over his stunning revelations that former president Pervez Musharraf was given safe exit as result of a deal international deal. Even more astounding was the President’s admission that he was part of the deal making process.

“We condemn it as it is against national sovereignty and independence. It is a breach of sovereignty of the country as well as of Parliament,” Leader of Opposition in NA, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, said in an informal talk with newsmen here at Parliament House.

He said that PML-N had decided to take up the issue in the Parliament through motions. He demanded of the President and the government to take the nation on board as under which clause of the Constitution and law, the said deal was made with the international powers. He felt the nation should be told who these “international guarantors” of such underhand deals are, since they effectively insult the people’s democratic mandate. The leaders who accepted these deals are answerable to the Parliament and must come clean before the people’s representatives.

“President Zardari’s statement is startling and there is no precedent in the world where a selected president confesses that he has been made president with the help of the foreign powers,” Nisar quipped. He was of the view that former president resigned in fear of the impeachment instead of any foreign guarantee.

Mid-term elections on cards, says Ch Nisar

ISLAMABAD: Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Tuesday underlined that if the government does not mend its way soon then there is all possibility of holding mid-term elections.

While talking to a private TV channel on Tuesday, Chaudhry Nisar again made it clear that the Saudi Government cannot force PML-N to change its stance on former president Pervez Musharraf's trial.

In response to another question, he stressed that some anti-state forces want to protect the former president, adding that the attitude and behavior of the government is not positive for his trial.

Regarding Public Accounts Committee, Chaudhry Nisar said that it is working in an efficient manner, adding that during the last 11 months, PAC is working honestly and in future too it will take some massive decisions.

At the end of the prevailing month, he said that a meeting of the PAC on the ongoing sugar crisis will be held. -Online

Also read the following analysis by Abbas Ather:

Musharraf’s not so great exit

President Asif Ali Zardari has put the matter of trying General Pervez Musharraf (Retd) for treason behind him Monday, saying that his predecessor was granted “safe exit” as a result of a deal “arranged by international powers with interests in South Asia”. He did not name the foreign “stakeholders” who acted as guarantors for Musharraf, but everybody knows who they are. Too proud to admit that there could be foreign stakeholders in Pakistan — a direct violation of state sovereignty — we can’t, however, deny that our politicians have leaned on foreign guarantors to save their careers and sometimes their lives. Therefore, if President Zardari today absolves his party from the discomfiture of bringing Musharraf to trial, he knows that the PMLN leader Mr Nawaz Sharif too is riding in the same boat with him.

The one stakeholder in Pakistan that has acted less rashly than the politicians is the Pakistan Army. It has seen more clearly the risks that would have affected Pakistan’s security if the populist demand for Musharraf’s head had been met. The foreign stakeholders in the US and the UK must have found themselves in agreement with the GHQ in Pakistan over the issue. Their focus on the war against terrorism in Pakistan must have pushed them to agree. Saudi Arabia’s concern could have been linked to its view of the Pakistan Army itself. It simply did not want that Pakistani politicians should cause another trauma like the one the army experienced when its chief was dismissed. Equally, it had to bail out a prime minister after he had fired his second army chief and got thrown out himself because after decades of living under the heels of military dictators, Pakistan simply could not be allowed to start hanging them. A more moderate approach, therefore, had to be recommended.

The populism behind the demand for Musharraf’s head from a judiciary that he had fired was, given a number of factors, more a growl of revenge than a need for justice. It soon became clear when a broader view of justice suggested extending the dragnet of accountability to the dictators of the past, hanging the bodily remains of the dead dictators and their living supporters. A nation that has seen a lot of Taliban violence and had become inured to it wanted more violence. In Iraq, public violence has followed the violence of Saddam Hussein.

The PMLN wanted Musharraf hanged more intensely than the other parties in parliament. It was supported by the fringe organisations whose stridency is equal to their lack of representation. The general uproar tended to accuse the PPP government and its leader Mr Zardari of being soft on Musharraf because of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), which the Americans are supposed to have forced Musharraf to promulgate to allow Ms Benazir Bhutto back into the country. Even now, after President Zardari’s “disclosure”, many commentators think that the “safe exit” was decided during the time the NRO was negotiated. They explain the visits everybody has been making to Saudi Arabia by saying that the Saudis are nothing but the clients of the United States, not realising that on the question of repatriation of Mr Nawaz Sharif, Saudi Arabia had played a very “separate” role.

There is nothing wrong, in our specific case, in having “foreign stakeholders” who usually end up securing us against our excesses. All populist decisions taken by our governments brought us nothing but poor results. This is not to say that Musharraf was some great saviour. Neither was he a great strategist, as was proved by Kargil and his covert support of the Taliban; he was also no man of his word. He may be safe from the hangman’s noose but he will not be able to play golf in Pakistan for a long time. (Daily Times)

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