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Split in the power troika.

* PDA threat of resignation from the NA appears to be a potential

danger for the destabilisation of the Government PM Nawaz

Sharif had declared to hold by-elections on the seats vacated

by the opposition. Political pundits feel that this would be a

political blunder on the part of the Prime Minister.

* Martial Law is not on the cards, although a foreign journal

wrote that if martial law was imposed people would accept it.

Foreign diplomats in Islamabad do not favour the idea. Moreover,

aid-cuts, severance of military supplies and differences over

the nuclear programme with the U.S.A. are other constraints

which may not favour the military rule at present.

Pakistan is at the crossroad. The province of Sindh is passing through a critical phase. Second largest political party MQM has been smashed by the army. The fate of Sindh Assembly is hanging in the balance. It may breathe its last any moment. Several thousand PPP activists have been rounded up in the province of Sindh. At least six hundred PPP activists were arrested. Behind the scene moves are being made to maintain status quo. Hard bargaining is going to win over the MPAs so that the fragile government of Muzaffar Hussain Shah could be saved.

PDA called off its agitational plan on July 30. It was believed that PDA made a retreat due to MQM factor. The PPP leaders were told if the PPP decided to go ahead with its plan of agitation the angry supporters of the MQM would seize the opportunity, penetrate into rally and turn it into a violent showdown with the government. This was given to understand by Corps Commander Lt. General Naseer Akhtar. Political observers feel that MQM is not in a position to launch any mass movement and such stories are fabricated to dissolve the PPP efforts to form any representative government.

A split in the power troika is visible if one reads under-currents of the events closely. As matters stand today, the Prime Minister is scared of the army, the army apprehensive of the PM and the President unsure of both. According to reports in Frontier Post there was a top secret meeting between the PM and his Kitchen cabinet in which the option of the present COAS removal from office was discussed. This infuriated the COAS who made his way to the Presidency. The matter was resolved but the damage to the trust was to be permanent. The COAS and the PM can never be friends again. The position of President has been made vulnerable. His credibility suffered in the Marwat case and from reports about the activities of his other son-in-laws. How can the operation clean-up be even-handed when no one questions the President Son-in-law despite the fact that a charge sheet against him is available.

There is yet another factor which may create problem for the President. The personal friendship between the Speaker NA Gauhar Ayub Khan and COAs and his ambitions are no secret. "By the same extended logic if the COAS chose to make the first move, and historically it were the COAS's who exercised their options before the others, then he could send the President packing and therefore the president would not like to alienate the COAS at this particular stage", writes Frontier Post.

Events have unfolded yet another game plan under which country's popular leadership of Benazir Bhutto was discredited by the power that matters on August 6, 1990. The dismissal of Benazir was not for protecting the democratic values but it was an outcome of palace intrigues, backroom deals and political thuggery. The detailed judgement of the Supreme Court released recently made pointed references to the vague nature of some of the allegations which the Presidential Order contained. Lt. Gen. (Retd). Alam Jam Mashuq disclosed that General Aslam Beg had delivered the MQM to IJI during its move of no confidence against Benazir Bhutto.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has also confirmed this faction a recent statement. Thus, a seed of discord had been sown between the Mohajir and Sindhis. Strong reaction to this game plan echoed in the speeches made at the Lahore procession where demand was made for the prosecution of General (Retd) Aslam Beg by Sheikh Rafiq Ahmed, the PPP Secretary General. A similar demand was made by Malik Mohammad Qasim another PDA leader. What is needed at present is the restoration of the credibility of electoral process for having elected government without subverting the sanctity of the ballot.

PDA threat of resignation from the NA appears to be a potential danger for the destabilisation of the Government PM Nawaz Sharif had declared to hold by-elections on the seats vacated by the opposition. Political pundits feel that this would be a political blunder on the part of the Prime Minister. The IJI was formed by ISI and General Hameed Gul was involved in persuading Jamat-e-Islami to join the bandwagon. The elections were rigged and the elected representatives were replaced with the favourite few. The IJI Government thus felt no remorse in wiping out MQM which was the brainchild of the Army ignoring the fact that it was the second biggest elected party in the National Assembly. Mr. Altaf Hussain amassed millions by loot and plunder and does not want to return to Pakistan because he fears he would be killed. His whole team has gone underground. A new MQM is being groomed.

The army operation is in full swing. However, the arms so far recovered are reported to be the "tip of the iceberg. The extremely limited recovery of such arms is causing a degree of frustration among the official circles. According to official sources at least 16,000 arms licences were issued during Jam government in Karachi only and equivalent pieces of arms in the rest of the province. On the other hand, intelligence agencies agree that another about 5,000 kalashnikovs besides mortars, SMGs and LMGs were in possession of the anti-social elements. The recoveries in this respect are poorer still.

The enforcement agency is reported to have confirmed reports that a particular ethnic group has dumped, at least 5,000 kalashnikovs and 16,000 licenced arms including small weapons like TT, pistols, revolvers, besides at least 500 to 1,000 SMGs and some LMGs also. The officials also agreed that some other groups like Al-Zulfiqar, Jeay Sindh Progressive and Punjabi Pakhtoon Ittehad also possessed substantial quantity of arms.

The big problem is whether the fragile government of Muzaffar Hussain Shah would get the lease of life. In its memorandum the PDA had claimed that chief Minister had lost the confidence of the House and the Governor should ask him to seek fresh vote of confidence. The requisitioned session of the assembly is due and it would discuss the agenda of the PDA which includes resignation of Speaker Abdul Razique Khan, resignation of 24 MPAs of the MQM and to deliberate the issue of employees who were sacked by the government.

The cases of scandals are mending. The Blind Qari scaldal in which poor people were looted in the name of lucrative jobs right under the umbrella of PM secretariat cannot be brushed aside as an insignificant incident. It is not understandable why a press conference was arranged for this Blind Qazi Newspapers reports that whatever has come to light is merely a tip of the iceberg. Yet another issue which may turn out to be a big scandal is the reported transfer of Rs. 2.0 billion from Baitul Mal to PM's secretariat. It may be recalled that Pakistan Baitul Mal (PBM) has started operation with an amount of Rs. 4 billion at its disposal. The PBM Act under which the PBM was established, only says the institution will work for the welfare of the poor and the needy. In March last Rs. 10 million were withdrawn from PBM which were spent on the publicity campaign of the prime minister who was visiting remote areas of the country at that time. Central Zakat Foundation yet another welfare body of the federal government enjoying Rs. 100 million at its disposal was merged with the PBM. If an account has been opened and Baitul Mal money is transferable, the PM will have to do a lot of explaining to brush away the impression that this money was to be used for horse trading.

Martial Law is not on the cards, although a foreign journal wrote that if martial law was imposed people would accept it. Foreign diplomats in Islamabad do not favour the idea. Moreover, aid-cuts, severance of military supplies and differences over the nuclear programme with the U.S.A. are other constraints which may not favour the military rule at present.
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Title Annotation:politics and government in Pakistan
Author:Haidari, Iqbal
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Jul 1, 1992
Words:1453
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