The cat is out of the bag, finally!
The bulletproof monk has thanked Allah for deliverance. The maverick cleric Allama Dr Tahirul Qadri addressing his “millions long march” in the heart of the federal capital has declared that the apex court having done half his job by ordering the arrest of the prime minister in the RPPs (rental power plants) case. The rest would be done once he is through with his dharna.
The cat is finally out of the bag. It is not in vain that Qadri has been invoking the military and the higher judiciary to “save democracy”. The Chief Justice of Pakistan has obliged by announcing the arrest of “Raja Rental” and his cohorts involved in the case.
By virtue of the timing of its verdict, the apex court has thrown a spanner in the works. The democratic system already shaky in the face of Qadri’s long march has been further destabilised.
The prime minister’s continuing in office will depend upon the attitude of the higher judiciary and the military. Merely on his own, the demagogue cleric cannot send the government packing.
So far as the military is concerned it is facing a tricky situation with India. Manmohan Singh in retaliation to skirmishes on the LoC (Line of Control) has sent a tough message to Islamabad.
The new visa regime that was supposed to be operative from Tuesday stands suspended. To add insult to injury, the visiting hockey team has been unceremoniously sent back to Pakistan.
Its hands full in dealing with an internal insurgency threatening the state from within the military has now to deal with an increasingly belligerent and sabre rattling Indian Army. The military is also playing a pivotal role in negotiating with the Taliban as a precursor to the end game in Afghanistan.
This is hardly the time for the khakis to overtly dabble in internal war games despite Qadri goading them: “Not only to make policy but also to act.”
Nevertheless the Allama’s nefarious agenda to get the system wrapped up through the courts and the military is now in the open. Efforts to sabotage the carefully nurtured system just a few weeks before general elections – going to be held for the first time under the aegis of a neutral and consensual caretaker government and an independent Election Commission – is indeed sinister. Nawaz Sharif has invited all major opposition parties for parleys at his Riawind residence. Naturally the PML-N supremo reckons that he has the most to lose. He thinks that Zardari has had his innings and now it his turn.
The PML-N rank and file believes that Qadri has been launched out of the blue to thwart Sharif. The game plan is simple – to introduce a long-term caretaker government to clean up the Augean stables in the name of accountability. This could mean disqualifying politicians across the board, including Nawaz Sharif and Zardari, with the blessings of the superior judiciary.
Throwing the two major political parties of the country out of the arena is going to be extremely dangerous. Unrest seen in major cities of Sindh, including Karachi Hyderabad and Sukkur is a precursor of things to come. It is obvious that Zardari painted in a corner, will not hesitate to invoke the “Sindh card”.
Similarly, dislodging a major Punjab based party in the name of accountability will galvanize the opposition parties against a fragile and synthetic caretaker government. Messers Qadri and Imran can call it “Muk Muka” but a two party system buttressed by coalitions of smaller parties is a reality of democracy in Pakistan.
Predictably former dictator Pervez Musharraf has endorsed Qadri’s agenda. He thinks his ‘true democracy’ was the real democracy. From his self-imposed exile he has invoked the military and the judiciary to play their role by sending the present democratic system packing.
It is obvious that those forces that cannot even win a union council election want to grab power through the back door. Notwithstanding the economic woes of the country and tales of corruption of our ruling elite, the mullah, military and the judiciary are no holy cows either.
It is indeed hypocritical of Qadri to invoke Imam Hussain (RA) offering his chest for the first bullet, himself hiding behind bulletproof screens. The FIA is probing the enormous funds he has spent on organizing, publicizing and sustaining his rally. It is ironical that Qadri holding a Canadian passport and rolling in millions of dollars wants to reform the system in favour of the masses – before his next trip back to Canada.
CROSS POST FROM PAKISTAN TODAY 16/1/2013