The Tottering Government

By Saeed Qureshi    

Just imagine the abject manner; the incumbent government of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has bent over heavily backward to woo back the perennially rebellious political party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. The PPP government wants to remain in power by hook and by crook even if it means selling its veneer of prestige in broad day light.

It has been stooping so low as to fall now into a ditch of disgrace and public chastisement. The political analysts would demur and wonder how a tottering government is busy in making all the base efforts to cling on to the bandwagon of power which is getting out of its control at a breakneck speed.

Many a time, the government has eaten the humble pie. The prime minister made a humiliating pilgrimage to the nine zero to mount the last ditch endeavor to keep the MQM within the government fold. This servile attempt will not stand in good stead for the leading coalition partner in power. The government has budged and surrendered like the ill-famed General Niazi who laid down his arms at the so called Palton Maidan in Dacca in December 1971, before the Jubilant Indian army commander general Aurora.

This is no dignified politics .These are ignominious antics to catch at a straw that would eventually serve no purpose.  Sooner than later the power boat is destined to sink with its passengers. When the people moaned about the RGST (reformed general sales tax) the government pretended to be deaf. When the people protested at the spike in petroleum prices, the government put up stubborn stone walling against such public uproarious clamors. But God bless the MQM that came to the rescue of the masses and thus the government reversed the harsh measures that would have heaped more miseries upon the economically choked people of Pakistan.

When the government is presenting the worst format of governance and not serving the people of Pakistan even with a modicum of good governance, why does it want to hang on to the power? What credentials and bona fides is it left with to be in the power saddle and keep ruling the roost? If today it can muster enough votes in the assembly to survive: what about tomorrow and in the coming days? Will it always fall back upon cheap sell-out of its honor and broker its stay by conceding ground and giving in to the demands howsoever, untenable and exacting, hurled by the political opponents.

The government by its acts of omission and commission has put itself on life support now being administered by its disaffected coalition partners. But how long this artificial rescsuitation would work and keep the political party alive? The MQM’s appeasement cost the government immense chagrin of the global financial brokers namely the IMF, the World Bank and the mighty United States of America. An 11 billion dollar relief loan is jeopardized.

The Gilani government fails to perceive the stark reality that its days are numbered unless it puts it act of performance in order. There are still more looming challenges to the ability of the government desperately trying to hang on to power.

One is from the PMLN that so far is euphemistically dubbed as a friendly opposition. It walked out of the coalition yet it kept dishing out it unqualified support and cooperation to Mr. Zardari and Mr. Gilani. On this gratuitous support, the PPP high command must be gloating.

But of late, the head of the PMLN who has developed a paranoid about the army rule, ever since he was ousted by general Musharraf through a military coup, is sending mixed and rather menacing signals. He has issued a 45 days deadline to the government to accept his 10 point agenda or otherwise face the dire consequences.

As far the electoral count and vote bank, the PMNL has a much better standing than MQM. Moreover, while MQM is having a coalition with PPP in Sindh, the PMLN has the same political quid pro quo with the PPP in Punjab. The PMNL has warned of parting company with the PPP in Punjab if the situation does not show marked upturn with regard to good governance and addressing the people’s problems.

The PMNL has been issuing such warning shots at the PPP from the time when the PPP’s untamable stalwart Salman Taseer was still the Governor of Punjab; giving very tough time to the PMNL led provincial Punjab government. Now when he is no more, the PMNL should have lowered it level of saber rattling. But it did not and instead has come up with a 10 point demand notice.

On the contrary it would be further emboldened to put more pressure on the PPP.  There seems to be no match of Salman Taseer to be picked as the governor of Punjab, who was an unrivaled expert in fire-spitting and tongue lashing. The appointment of president Zardari bosom friend Sardari Latif Khosa would be more irksome for the people if not for the political parties.

Mr. Khosa has earned notoriety for his scams and scandals in kickbacks and other questionable wrong doings. His choice as the governor of Punjab highlights the sordid fact that government is promoting toadyism. Khosa is crafty but not as petulant as his predecessor was.  The exit of Salman Taseer is more conducive for PMNL as it brings it into a stronger bargaining position that before.

It is predictable that MQM that wants to extend its appeal and political canvas to the whole of Pakistan would not like to be tied with the apron string of the PPP for a longer period of time. Its image has been considerably dented by making a last minute compromise with the PPP at the center. If this party keeps it working relationship with the PPP at the federal level, it would fail to achieve its goal of turning into a national party from a parochial one that it is perceived to be now.

The irrevocable stand that the MQM has taken on RGSL and hike of petroleum prices is more beneficial to the MQM than bringing any big advantage to the PPP. The reason is easy to dig out. The MQM took a principled stand in support of the people of Pakistan while the PPP government stalled decisions under pressure and to save its numerical parliamentary strength to forestall a no confidence.

The storm is gathering on the political horizon of Pakistan and is assuming ominous proportions.  The religious lobbies are poised to unceasingly resist the amendment of the blasphemy law and prosecution of Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of Governor Salman Taseer. All the religious parties are united on opposing the government and mobilizing the people on the sensitive question of blasphemy. Of late, they have announced countrywide protest rallies on January 15, over Pope Benedict XVI call for repealing the blasphemy Act and to release Aasia Bibi.

How the government is going to stem such cataclysmal movements is beyond any tangible assessment. That would entail more bloodshed, chaos and anarchy for a country already trapped in the quagmire of problems.

No sane person is in favor of derailing the prevailing democratic system and its replacement with the army rule. But if the democratically elected leaders are totally oblivious to their responsibilities of serving the country with devotion, selflessness, honesty and patriotic spirit then the people’s yearning for a change whether democratic or otherwise is bound to explode.

Probably there is a viable way-out for the government to avert the impasse that the country is likely to be plunged into by religious movements, or the ultimatums or pressure tactics of other political adversaries. It should, on its own should announce fresh elections and get a renewed popular mandate. That is the only face saving exit for the tottering and shaky PPP dispensation. Otherwise the future scenario seems to be murky for the government.

To many compromises, too many pledges, too many challenges are dangling over the head of an already shaky government. Only God almighty knows how it is going to cope with the plethora of hurdles in its way of completing the five years mandate.

The Prime Minister Gilani’s prompt acceptance of Nawaz Sharif’s latest demands is on the face a tall orders for the PPP government to honor. Similarly Maulana Fazalur Rehman’s demand for the prime minister to resign and not to alter the blasphemy law is a stupendous stumbling block hard to surmount. Additionally people are at their wits ends due to unbridled lawlessness, rampant unemployment, galloping prices, economic miseries, and no hope for the future.

The writer is a Dallas-based journalist and a former diplomat. 


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Comments

  • Zafar Akhtar  On January 11, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Saeed Qureshi analysis are always very realistic and reflects the opinion of the masses of the country as well.
    Zafar Akhtar

  • S U Turkman  On January 11, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Yes his biased opinion is very realistic. All Pakistanis believe Bibi’s young son has a lot of responsibilities but he is living-off Pakistan. Pakistan is paying for lavish living of Billionaire Z A Bhutto’s grandson and Billionaire Bibi’s son in U.K., right?
    That young Kid should jump in to Politics instead of completing his education so, you could kill him like his grandfather, Uncles and Mother, right?
    PPP is responsible of all the Corruption in Pakistan and no other Political Party or Army was ever responsible for that, right?
    Zardari and his son should go to every Police Station and stop it from extorting money, right?

  • S U Turkman  On January 11, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Mr. Quraishi,
    Zardari killed all your dreams by reconciling with MQM instead of ending PPP’s term.
    You wrote, “All the religious parties are united on opposing the government and mobilizing the people on the sensitive question of blasphemy”.
    So, Pak Government should resign because Parties representing only 4% of Pakistanis are opposing it?
    Then, Obama should also resign because not only Tea Party but also Republican majority in Congress is against him.
    .
    This man lives in USA well only because of Democracy but does not believe in Democracy. Does he know, even in Parliamentarian System you can not hold new Elections until a government loses majority?
    Then, why are you pointing out to a small ratio of population of lawless crazy people protesting on the streets, when 3/4th of this world is against Blasphemy Law of Pakistan?
    Quraishi writes for Pak Army that wants to overthrow Elected Government of Zardari or replace him with some of its Stooge because all he does is, provides Obama some more excuses in favor of Pak Army to let it overthrow Zardari Government, on regular basis.

  • Parvez Amin  On January 12, 2011 at 12:04 am

    I am of the opinion that the present set of politicians do not have the competence to solve the problems you describe, and they secretly admit the position. So they have decided only to torture the incumbents and enjoy their discomfort and ignore the people. We need a detailed plan for achieving prosperity through creating conditions that allow the people to work. That seems to be the only way out. Who among us can prepare such a plan?

  • Saeed Qureshi  On January 12, 2011 at 1:34 am

    Hello,
    There have been conflicting comments posted in response to my article. Understandably everyone has a right to hold an opinion and impulsively the people tend to support or
    Oppose a political party or a doctrine. Those who cannot oppose the PPP or the PMLN do so for reasons of loyalty to the party. They are hard nut to crack as they refuse to perceive reason and comprehend the changing direction of the political wind that is currently ferociously sweeping across the political landscape of Pakistan.
    If you say that the government is doing spectacular things for the people of Pakistan, no one is going to buy this false claim. This government that was foisted into power with a laudable mandate and president Zardari with an unprecedented support from all the political parties is now fast slipping down on the popular ladder. What can be the reasons for this steep downside one has to ponder?
    The PPP government now acquiescing to all the demands of the PMNL but when there was the best time to do so it balked. The PMLN left the coalition and the government inducted fringe parties like ANP, MQM and PMLQ to form a coalition that has remained shaky and rather fractious all along. Had the coalition been in place between these two mainstream political parties there would have been stability and progress. While the PPP government kept the PMNL at bay, it went out of the way to please and oblige the coalition partners via myriad way of doling out perks and favors.
    The government’s constant fight and bickering with the courts has been a sordid phenomenon for the last three years. The people of Pakistan never got a fair deal from the government in bringing them relief. Instead, the mayhem caused by the power outrages, lawlessness and swelling poverty and countless other public related problems changed the public opinion against the government. On the contrary it has been promoting nepotism, corruption, sleazy intriguing, and providing bases to the external invades within Pakistan to be used against its own people.
    So all this mounting chaos is of government’s making in power. I did not make it. I am simply echoing what I observe as a journalist. I do not work for the Pakistan army, or for the establishment or for America. I am an independent journalist.
    Thank you
    Saeed Qureshi

  • Saeed Qureshi  On January 12, 2011 at 1:36 am

    I have already posted the comment

  • S U Turkman  On January 12, 2011 at 3:00 am

    I have inserted my comments below.
    ——–
    QURAISHI wrote:

    Hello,
    There have been conflicting comments posted in response to my article. Understandably everyone has a right to hold an opinion and impulsively the people tend to support or
    Oppose a political party or a doctrine. Those who cannot oppose the PPP or the PMLN do so for reasons of loyalty to the party. They are hard nut to crack as they refuse to perceive reason and comprehend the changing direction of the political wind that is currently ferociously sweeping across the political landscape of Pakistan.
    If you say that the government is doing spectacular things for the people of Pakistan, no one is going to buy this false claim.
    .
    TURKMAN: You people are not buying any claims of Pres. Musharraf either, when facts prove, he is not lying. What could have been more ‘spectacular’ than doubling GDP, Per Capita Income and Export Earnings in just 5 years, that neither any leader of Pakistan had caused nor any other leader in rest of the world that he had done? When you are so bias, why talk about your impartiality blaming others being biased?
    ——
    This government that was foisted into power with a laudable mandate and president Zardari with an unprecedented support from all the political parties is now fast slipping down on the popular ladder. What can be the reasons for this steep downside one has to ponder?
    .
    TURKMAN: The false propaganda by people like you, who work for Army, what else? People know, sky is not falling, only Obama has refused to permit Keyani to overthrow Zardari.

    The PPP government now acquiescing to all the demands of the PMNL but when there was the best time to do so it balked. The PMLN left the coalition and the government inducted fringe parties like ANP, MQM and PMLQ to form a coalition that has remained shaky and rather fractious all along.
    .
    TURKMAN: When did PPP not have the government that its forming Government now with the help of Fringe Parties? Is doing this Unconstitutional? Had not Nawaz Sharif ignored PPP majority in Sindh and had formed Sindh government gathering Fringe Parties and Independents last time he was in power? Though PML N had not won a majority but still had not Zardari recognized it the largest Party by taking it in to his Punjab Coalition Government? Since Keyani threatened Zardari against kicking PML N is this fair, PML N is mis-using that backing to keep acting like opposition Party despite being a Coalition partner in the biggest Province of Pakistan? Its called backstabbing.
    ——–
    Had the coalition been in place between these two mainstream political parties there would have been stability and progress.
    .
    TURKMAN: Had not Zardari done that? PML N is a ‘Main Stream’ Party with just 1/3rd of Seats in Punjab Assembly and zero seats in rest of Pakistan? Now talk about partiality …!
    ———
    While the PPP government kept the PMNL at bay, it went out of the way to please and oblige the coalition partners via myriad way of doling out perks and favors.
    .
    TURKMAN: Facts are just opposite of what you wrote. While the PML N kept acting like an opposition Party despite being a part of PPP Coalition government, it went out of the way to please and oblige PML N doling out perks and favors. Is lying a part of your Islam?
    ——–
    The government’s constant fight and bickering with the courts has been a sordid phenomenon for the last three years.
    .
    TURKMAN: What could an Elected Government do, when Gen. Keyani wants to end its government through courts since Obama has refused him permission to overthrow it? Zardari is not Gen. Musharraf that he can dismiss the Chief Justice and other Judges like he had done. Do you want him to do the same instead of abiding by Constitution?
    ——–
    The people of Pakistan never got a fair deal from the government in bringing them relief.
    .
    TURKMAN: This is not what the Statistical Economical Data of Pakistan says. From 1947 to 1950’s Salary of Policeman, Soldier, Peon, Messenger, Driver etc was Rs. 10 a month and Flour was Rs. 1.12 for 3 and a half Sear (Sear: a little less than Kilo). Now the same Employees make Rs. 7,000 so, compared to that Flour should be Rs. 787 for 3 and quarter Kilo or Rs 242 per Kilo. Is it? They used Mustard Oil (SarsoN kaa tail) for cooking in those days. Do they now? They could never buy Meat. Can they now or not? Stop bullshitting …! Facts can not win over lies.
    ———
    Instead, the mayhem caused by the ‘power outrage’s,’ lawlessness’ and ‘swelling poverty’ and countless other public related problems.
    .
    TURKMAN: Oh yeah, yeah before Zardari took over, Pakistan had never faced Power Outage, there was never any lawlessness, there was never ‘swelling povery’. You and your Army think, you can change the public opinion against a government elected by Pakistanis with just your lies and overthrow it and then Army can tell Obama, we didn’t do it. People did it, right?
    ——–
    On the contrary it has been promoting nepotism, corruption, sleazy intriguing, and providing bases to the external invades within Pakistan to be used against its own people.
    .
    TURKMAN: What is ‘external invades’? I think, you meant, ‘Invaders’ and you are calling USA, on who’s generosity and charity you are living off in Texas, Invader of Pakistan. Now tell me, why should I not report you to FBI or ICE to get you deported for spreading lies against their country? So, Zardari is going door to door promoting ‘nepotism, corruption, sleazy intriguing’ to people in Police, Pak Army Rangers, Government Employees etc? Your Gen. Zia had never promoted all this by saying on National TV that Pakistanis should pay money to Government Employees if they do something for them (performing their duty)?
    —————-
    So all this mounting chaos is of government’s making in power.
    .
    TURKMAN: FACT: So all this mounting propaganda is spread by Pak Army because Gen. Keyani hates the Government elected by Pakistanis since it wants good relations with India and wants Army to put a leash on its Mercenary Dogs, called Taliban.
    ———–
    I did not make it.
    .
    TURKMAN: But we know, your Bosses in Pak Army have. You are only doing your job trying your best to end Democracy in Pakistan for your Holy Army that has ruled Pakistan 49 of the last 55 years. 36 years in its direct rule and 13 years through indirect rule.
    ——–
    I am simply echoing what I observe as a journalist.
    .
    TURKMAN: Yeah, and what would be the better place to observe Pakistan than by sitting in Texas, USA, right?
    ————-
    I do not work for the Pakistan army, or for the establishment or for America. I am an independent journalist.
    Thank you
    Saeed Qureshi
    .
    TURKMAN: Sure, sure and what could be a better proof of that but your Anti Pakistan, Anti Pakistanis, Anti government of Pakistan elected by Pakistanis, right? Stop bullshitting …! Lies can not win over Facts.

  • Shaheen  On January 12, 2011 at 4:21 am

    Bibe …girti huwi dewar ko…aik dhakka aur do ..

    We are all part of the mess……with our silence.
    Look whats happend to J Javed Iqbals parents, murdered in the Holy envoirment of Cavalry grounds, murdered both above 77 years. Running after Power…to become rich, good goverance…hang your self!

  • am malik  On January 12, 2011 at 4:34 am

    One could not get a worst government than the present who has the distinct honour to be an outstanding allrounder
    for corruption, nepotism, inefficiency and incompetence. The greed manifested in the blood of this party is like a heroine streaming in their veins. The present chief of the party has not learnt any lesson from the exit of their great mohtramma who did every thing but left empty handed. Nor has the cochairman learnt while in England and enjoying the secutity and the fun at the expense of the poor of the country. I have seen all road and highways littered with the bill boards of the gruesom faces decorated on the bill boards. Who is paying for all this drama? I do not mind if it is from the party funds but I have serious objections if the taxpayers money is being spaent on the same. One of the greatest stupid action the government did was to give a free hand to – good for nothing unions – only for cheap few votes. These unions are nothing but parasites affecting the growth of every organistaion and department of the government.
    am

    • Bajwa  On January 12, 2011 at 4:35 am

      What one should worry about is that State is continually yielding ground to the Church, often with public support.

      A.Bajwa

  • Saeed Qureshi  On January 12, 2011 at 8:02 am

    In response to Turkman

    The Turkmen is less civil and more vituperative. His response is simply abusive. He tells me your Zia, who incarcerated me for being an independent journalist and ousted from the foreign service for being a friend of Mr. Bhutto.

    Turkman (is he from Turkistan) uses word yeah. I don’t understand this word but this shows he lives in a remote areas of red necks somewhere in America. I have no response to the perverted logic and venomous outpouring of this person or citizen of Pakistan who seems to be a Tony Blair of reverend president of Pakistan Asif Zardari or a front man adept in meaningless harangue.

    He is fuming and fretting without any cogent grounds and hitting hard with his volley of abuses and baseless insinuations. What can I do with a crazy and reckless Jiala? He is hurling allegations without any evidence or substance. You are this and you are this as he was with me all along and has been noting every minutest detail.

    I may just tell him in passing that I hold the membership of PPP card since 1967. But I am not as moronic as this defender of the dynastic party is. I parted company as did so many others because the PPP lost its revolutionary élan as well as lofty agenda. My criticism is for the good of the party and not a servile toadyism as Turkman is demonstrating.

    Yeah! This is absolutely true. If you don’t believe me ask about my credentials from Mr. Farahtullah Babar and my friend Nusrat Javed to name only two gentlemen.
    So long
    Saeed Qureshi

  • FM  On January 12, 2011 at 8:07 am

    With such degenerated values of life and poor/ shameless performance by all Political Parties make the PPPP Govt get going then there has to be some reason.
    Poor man is buying tomato @ Rs 80 Kg when curry can be made without it. This means will to buy and means to afford are there. How it can be unfair because 6000 pm can not buy daal and Tammatar to maintain a family of six.
    So nothing to worry by the end of the day one has to believe in that Govt is as corrupt as the Nation is?????? So it will go on as it is because 90% is based on Dishonesty. Remaining 10% is also part of it as silent spectators
    FM

  • Saeed Qureshi  On January 12, 2011 at 8:28 am

    The Turkmen is less civil and more vituperative. His response is simply abusive. He calls me your Zia, who incarcerated me for being an independent journalist and ousted from the Foreign Service for being a friend of Mr. Bhutto.
    Turkman (is he from Turkistan) uses word yeah. I don’t understand this word but this shows he lives in a remote areas of red necks somewhere in America. I have no response to the perverted logic and venomous outpouring of this person or citizen of Pakistan who seems to be a Tony Blair of reverend president of Pakistan Asif Zardari or a front man adept in meaningless harangue.
    He is fuming and fretting without any cogent grounds and hitting hard with his volley of abuses and baseless insinuations. What can I do with a crazy and reckless Jiala? He is hurling allegations without any evidence or substance. You are this and you are this as he was with me all along and has been noting every minutest detail.
    I may just tell him in passing that I hold the membership of PPP card since 1967. But I am not as moronic as this defender of the dynastic party is. I parted company as did so many others because the PPP lost its revolutionary élan as well as lofty agenda. My criticism is for the good of the party and not a servile toadyism as Turkman is demonstrating
    Yeah! This is absolutely true. If you don’t believe me ask about my credentials from Mr. Farahtullah Babar and my friend Nusrat Javed to name only two gentlemen.
    So long
    Saeed Qureshi

  • kourtnie  On January 17, 2011 at 2:32 am

    how do i join

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