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The new caretaker set-up.

* Elections will now be held on October 6 and 9 for National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies respectively.

* Dr. Moeen Qureshi former Vice President of World Bank has been appointed as the new caretaker Prime Minister.

* Drastic economic changes are being made to put the economy on the rail.

Whether at gun point or not G.I.K. and Nawaz Sharif simultaneously made an unceremonious exit. The credit of brokering a deal among the embattled political leadership of the country goes to the army. This is for the first time that army top brass opted for democratic measures than imposing martial law to resolve the crisis. An interim set-up has been inducted. Senate Chairman Wasim Sajjad is the Acting President and Moeen Qureshi, the former Vice President of the World Bank, took over as the care-taker Prime Minister. All four Governors and Chief Ministers have also been replaced. Elections of National and Provincial Assemblies will be held on October 6 and 9 this year respectively. New political alliances are in the offing. Nawaz Sharif for the first time in his 14 years political carrier will face elections without the blessings of administration. No single political party is likely to win simple majority. It will again be a coalition government.

The election campaign in the country has not yet gain momentum and everything appears to be in the melting pot. But the contest in the forthcoming elections is believed to be triangular among Benazir, Nawaz Sharif and the religious element. The beneficiary in that case would be Benazir's PPP.

After the appointment of the caretaker Prime Minister Mr. Moeen Qureshi, a new cabinet of 9 ministers has been formed. The first batch comprised of three bureaucrats Mr. F.K. Bandial, Mr. Abdus Sattar and General Shafiq, two industrialists, Syed Babar Ali and Mr. Ahmed Farooq and one Multinational Corporate Executive Mr. Nisar Memon.

Mr. Bandial has remained a federal secretary in various ministries including interior and communications while Mr. Abdus Sattar is a known Foreign Office expert who has been given the foreign ministry. Mr. Babar Ali belongs to the Packages Limited and is the chairman and the moving spirit behind Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) which had invited Prime Minister Moeen Qureshi in December 1990 where he made two speeches giving his national agenda for the country.

Mr. Ahmed Farooq is the son of Mr. Ghulam Farooq of NWFP, the late industrialist who formed the PIDC and was Finance Minister in the Mufti Mahmood cabinet in early 70s in NWFP. Mr. Nisar Memon is a businessman who until recently was the chief of American multinational IBM for South Asia region. He was a student activist in NSF in Karachi during the middle 60s.

The criterion that caretaker Prime Minister has apparently set for choosing cabinet colleagues is sound: that they should be non-political, neutral and should, preferably, have some knowledge of the tasks they have been deputed to perform. So far there has not been any exception to this general rule to select caretaker ministers.

There are two former generals in the caretaker cabinet, one of whom was in active service less than seven months ago. This can cause some to raise eyebrows. In any case this is not entirely in conformity with the Army's strategy of staying completely aloof from politics even while it has played a significant role in resolving the recent political impasse.

The caretaker government has taken two important decisions i.e. massive devaluation of the currency and massive reshuffle in top bureaucracy. While the devaluation of the currency has been severely criticized by Benazir Bhutto, the reshuffle of the bureaucracy was also considered biased. It may be recalled that the Mazari government had also made ruthless reshuffle in the bureaucracy on the directions from the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan who after dismissing Nawaz Sharif and dissolving the National Assembly wanted to politically eliminate the former Prime Minister in the next elections. No doubt, the removal of the Federal Information Secretary, the Managing Director of the Pakistan Television Corporation and the Director of the Intelligence Bureau may be justified.

Similarly, replacement of chief secretaries and Inspectors General of Police (IGPs) in the provinces with other officers is understandable because they are directly concerned with the election process. However, affiliations and relationships of the new appointees should have been closely scrutinised. The decision-makers have apparently overlooked this aspect for unexplained reasons. it is reported that the appointment of F.K. Bandial as Interior Minister is questionable. He is known to have a cleartilt towards the PPP. His son-in-law, who is a close friend of Asif Zardari, was appointed as ambassadorin Kenya by Ms. Benazir Bhutto. He was removed by Nawaz Sharif when the latter assumed the office of the Prime Minister.

Other changes made in the bureaucracy are the removal of the federal secretaries of Finance. Communications, Defence Production and almost every significant and insignificant ministry and the Chairman of the Central Board of Revenue. There is no doubt that the caretaker Prime Minister, Moeen Qureshi, does not know much about the top bureaucracy because of his long absence from Pakistan and therefore, the reshuffle has apparently been done by someone else on his behalf. The Establishment Division reportedly does not have much say in the whole affairs and is just issuing the orders as directed by the Prime Minister's Secretariat.

Murtaza Bhutto Factor

Murtaza Bhutto the remaining male heir of ZAB is staging a comeback. According to reports he would b entering into Pakistan politics by contesting from seven national and 17 provincial assembly seats from Sindh against PPP candidates. Murlaza Bhutto's decision to contest election as an independent candidate will have a major impact on the structure of PPP. Murtaza Bhutto accused the PPP leadership of having developed connections with anti-democratic intelligence agencies of Pakistan.

Murtaza Bhutto is in self-exile in Syria for the last 17 years. It is not known when he will be arriving in Pa According to reports published in Khaleej Times Begum Nusrat Bhutto has already obtained amnesty for her son when she left the country about two months ago. Besides, she also had with her sketchy information about cases against him and legal opinion that since he had not been convicted in any case he was qualified to contest elections from any constituency in the country. He is expected in September to engage himself in the election campaign.

In an interview Murtaza Bhutto called his decision to return to Pakistan and participate in the mainstream politics as offer for peace with Pakistani establishment. He admitted that he formed Al-Zulfiqar to carry out politico military resistence against the authoritarian rule of General Ziaul Haq. He had also acknowledged that Al-Zulfiqar consists of "tens of thousands of armed persons inside Pakistan. "I want this conflict to end forever. in response I expect a fair deal, the same deal which was offered to Ajmal Khattak, Afrasiab Khattak and some Baloch leaders once they packed up their armed resistance in the NWFP and Balochistan and returned from their exile in foreign countries to participate in the national policies." Murtaza asked: "A Sindhi must also be treated equally, shouldn't he?

Murlaza Bhutto was quite harsh in his comment on the recent political currents in the country. Elaborating on his political ideas, Murtaza said "I don't see eye to eye with any political party in Pakistan. The question does not arise of having any sort of negotiations with Nawaz Sharif. I consider him to be the biggest threat for democracy in Pakistan. He was created by the establishment and he still is the establishment's candidate in the coming elections. The man is a perpetual threat to democracy."

Is Murtaza Bhutto a threat to PPP? Whether his entry will split the PPP or strengthen it are questions that are agitating the minds of the people. It is known that Murtaza Bhutto will contest election as an independent candidate. However, his main headquarter will be 70 Clifton the headquarter of PPP. Mir Murtaza would be focusing only on Sindh and not embarrassing Benazir elsewhere in the country. He would be supported not only by the old guards of the PPP and Mr. Mumtaz Bhutto but also by the People's Student Federation and the militant wing of the PPP who resent the return of the turn-coats or lotas who had made their fortunes serving Jam Sadiq and Muzzafar Shah, or Gen. Zia and Mr. Nawaz Sharif. Murtaza Bhutto's strategy to contest election on 24 seats is that to keep one set then set his men elected to the vacated 23 seats. This strategy had already been tried by Benazir in the past. The political observers are attaching great importance to changes taking place in the politics. The future is quite hazy and if elections are transparent as it is proclaimed there would be many surprises for people of Pakistan in the forthcoming elections.

Mr. Wasim Sajjad Acting President of Pakistan, son of Justice Sajjad Ahmed Jan born on March 30,1941, Wasim Sajjad graduated from the University of the Punjab in 1961 obtaining first class with Honours in English. He stood_first in FEL and LLB examinations of the Punjab, University in 1962 and 1963 winning gold medals in both examinations. He clinched another gold medal in 1964 by securing first position in MA (Political Science). He was selected for Rhodes Scholarship from Pakistan for studies at Oxford University in 1964 and won honours in Jurisprudence from there in 1966. He also obtained the postgraduate degree of Bachelor of Civil Laws (BCL) from Oxford University in 1967 and is Barrister from the Inner Temple, London. He has been practicing law at the High Courts and the Supreme Court of Pakistan since 1963. He has appeared in a large number of cases of constitutional and legal importance before the High Courts and the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He held the Cabinet portfolio of the Federal Minister for Justice and Parliamentary Affairs from September 28, 1986 to December 1, 1988. He held the office of Chairman Senate from December 24, 1988 to March 20, 1991 and was elected as the Chairman Senate for the second term on the same date.

Mr. Moeen A. Qureshi, Caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan, is a graduate of the University of Punjab and also has a doctorate in economics from Indiana University in the United States. Born on June 26, 1930, Mr. Moeen A. Qureshi was appointed Senior Vice-President, Operations, on June 1, 1987. He begun his career in the Government of Pakistan in 1953 and held various responsible positions in Finance and Planning Departments. He was Deputy Chief in the Planning Commission of the government in 1958 when he moved to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington. He served in various capacities with the IMF from 1958 to 1970, including service in West Africa as the IMF's resident representative in Ghana. He held the rank of Senior Adviser at the time of joining the International Finance Cooperation in 1970. Mr. Qureshi has served in IFC as Economic Adviser and Vice-President before being appointed Executive Vice-President in February 1977. In July 1979, he was concurrently appointed Vice-President, Finance, of the World Bank and continued to serve in that joint capacity until January 1981. In August 1980 he was appointed Senior Vice-President, Finance, of the World Bank.
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Title Annotation:includes related articles; caretaker government and forthcoming elections in Pakistan
Author:Haidari, Iqbal
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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