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By-elections in Sindh.

Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and his camp should realise that any break in the mass contact drive would be their last opportunity for a compromise with the effective opposition. Dilly-dallying now could mean they will be faced with the daunting prospect of PPP making good the threat of leading a Long March to Islamabad. Pakistan had to bear the socio-economic burden caused by the presence of more than three million Afghan refugees for over a decade besides the dangerous proliferation of arms supplied for the Afghans which filtered back into the country bringing Pakistan to the brink of anarchy and social chaos.

By-election on three MPA seats in Karachi will be held on May 2. The opposition leader in the National Assembly Benazir Bhutto demanded that these elections should be held under the supervision of Army and Rangers. The PDA has also demanded that by-elections to the three Provincial Assembly seats in Karachi should be postponed till the Sindh High Court decides on the constitutional petition before it. The writ challenges the dismissal of dissident members of the MQM. The Sanghar by-election is to be held on April 28. The official candidate is Jam Ashiq Ali, while the PDA has pitted Shah Nawaz Junejo who defeated the former Prime Minister Mohammad Khan Junejo in l988 general election against him.

In the meantime Pir Pagaro made his Muslim League functional. This surprise move has seemingly undermined the influence of PML President Mohammad Khan Junejo and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and it appears that Sindh government has been virtually hijacked by Pir Pagaro. The induction of Irfanullah Marwat, son-in-law of President Ghulam Ishaq Khan as deputy organiser, Sindh ML (F), is a clear indication of the fact that Pagaro's move enjoys the "blessings" of the president. Meanwhile, political observers, are of the opinion that Pagaro's initiative also enjoys the support of the "powers that matter". Thus, it is being concluded by the political circles that as a result of this move Prime Minister is pushed into a corner. This move, in view of some political astrologers, is tantamount to announcement of checking Nawaz Sharif power as Prime Minister.

It is interesting to note that at least three ministers namely Salim Jan Mazari, Pirsadruddin Shah and Ghulam Oadir Malkani and three advisors namely Sardar Ghulam Mohammad Mehar, Irfanullah Marwat and Syed Shafqat Ali Shah Jamote belonging to Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah's Sindh cabinet have been made organisers of different districts in the newly created network of ML (F) Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah himself accepted the office of Sindh Chief Ministership at the behest of Pir Pagaro. Thus with the inclusion of three provincial ministers and three advisors in the organisational set-up of ML (F), Sindh cabinet seems to be in the hands of Pir Pagaro and he may create embarrassment for the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at any time if he likes.

Pir's second but more vital political round is expected in Punjab. According to the circles close to Pir Pagaro, by 20th April Punjab might become a political "waterloo" for the politics of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Meanwhile, some political circles predict that Pir Pagaro has been given the signal to play his role to fill up the vacuum created in the corridors of power by Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, due to his decision to join hands with PPP. Some political observers even go to the extent of predicting that Pir's ML (F) might emerge as a third force which is being direly needed by the echelons of power in view of their reported contention that "PPP is not acceptable while Nawaz Sharif has failed to deliver the goods." According to the circles, once Pir consolidates the position of his group of Muslim League it is not ruled out that a new political alliance comprising of ML (F) and religious parties like Jamiat Islami and JUP might be forged.

The APC drive for mass contact may be postponed. Apparently PPP is reportedly bargaining with the rulers. There are indications that references against Benazir may be withdrawn. Accountability cell in the Presidency has been disbanded which supported the view that references against Benazir may be dropped. It may be recalled that these references were filed by Ghulam Ishaq Khan in September 1990 on the recommendation of Mr. Jatoi the Ex-care-taker Prime Minister who has now joined hands with PPP.

Although Ms. Bhutto has publicly ruled out a rapprochement with the government, a show of resolve from her side for the postponement of the APC drive, should it come through in the CEC meeting would be an indication for the government to move in for rapprochement. Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and his camp should realise that any break in the mass contact drive would be their last opportunity for a compromise with the effective opposition. Dilly-dallying now could mean they will be faced with the daunting prospect of PPP making good the threat of leading a Long March to Islamabad.

It is speculated that Speaker National Assembly may lose his job as he acted like a non-partisan Speaker. This may or may not be true but one thing is clear, the Treasury benches are not happy with Mr. Gohar Ayub and would like to see him behave as he used to in the past, especially during the passage of the controversial 12th Constitutional Amendment in the Assembly. His recent efforts to live-up in the image of a non-partisan speaker have not gone down well with the ruling party and every step that he has taken in that direction has widened the gap in the relationship between the two.

Afghanistan - Big Power Game is over

Afghanistan situation has become quite fluid after the resignation of Dr. Najibullah. UN peace plan is no more valid. Pakistan appears to have no Afghan policy and as contended by Qazi Hussain Ahmed it is toeing the American line. Ahmed Shah Masood has emerged as the most powerful of the Mujahideen Commanders. He has formed a coalition of Islamic Jehad Council. Masood is joined by two defecting militia commanders, Abdul Rashid Dostum and Sayeed Jaffer Noderi. Gulbadin Hikmatyar refuses to accept Ahmed Shah Masood and the country is heading towards a showdown. Ahmed Shah Masood the guerilla commander whose forces are poised for attack on Kabul, has given assurances that his forces will not attack the Afghan capital so as to ensure a peaceful takeover of the city. The contending forces who fueled the Afghan war are no more on the scene and the Afghan junta is now facing a bloody civil war.

The truth is that the government of Pakistan has been totally isolated without any role to play in Afghanistan. Similarly, Saudi Arabia, who financed arms for the mujahideen has now become a silent spectator. As many as 1.4 million Afghans were killed during the long drawn war while 5.0 million were uprooted from their homes and hearths out of a population of 18 million. Pakistan had to bear the socio-economic burden caused by the presence of more than three million Afghan refugees for over a decade besides the dangerous proliferation of arms supplied for the Afghans which filtered back into the country bringing Pakistan to the brink of anarchy and social chaos.

The super power game is over. The advantage of being a conduit for arms had come to an end. All the active players of the game have disappeared. Afghanistan now faces a long drawn civil war which would lead to the division of the country between the Persian-speaking groups and the majority Pushtoons who have ruled Afghanistan for 250 years or more. The wishful dreams of marching to Kabul and offering prayers there should be abandoned. Immediate steps should be taken to compel the Afghan refugees to surrender their arms and return to Afghanistan.

US Imperialism and Libya

US is now out to strangulate Colonel Moammar Qaddafi. The man from the desert is no more bearable for Washington particularly when there is no one to challenge the conduct of the US. UN Security Council sanctions against Libya have gone into effect with an embargo on international airlinks with Tripoli a ban on the sale of arms, aircraft a spare parts. The reduction of Libyan diplomats worldwide and closing of Libyan Arab Airlines offices overseas.

The Libyan application to International Court of Justice was rejected. Libya pleaded to bar the United States and Britain from any action to force Tripoli to hand over two suspects in the Lockerbie airliner bombing in 1988 killing 270 people. The whole game of sanction is being played on a very weak wicket. Firstly one third of the security Council including India and China abstained from the vote. India and China are the most populous states of the world which are also the members of the UN. Secondly, as India pointed out that Security Council did not exhaust all its options for resolving the problems peacefully. Thirdly, the sanctions were imposed on a mere suspicion of Libya being involved in the Pan Am disaster.

UN has not imposed any sanction against Israel who openly confessed to have shot down Libyan Airlines Boeing 727 with 104 passengers on board after actually speaking to the pilots. Time magazine in its issue of April 27, 1992 published an investigated report on the Pan Am 103 flight. This report disclosed that Syrian drug dealer might have helped plant the bomb and that the real targets were intelligence agents working for the CIA.

The duality of standards is evident. There is no one to question Israel about its defiance of the UN resolution. Nor is there any one to question the United States itself when it downed the Iranian plane over international waters, killing over 400 passengers. If standards are strictly observed the Israeli artillery officers should stand trial who shot down a Libyan airliner in 1973.

While Colonel Qaddafi has been left alone by the Arab World, Islamabad stand on imposition of sanction against Libya is regrettable. Libya is not only a brother Muslim country, but also the strong supporter of Pakistan. During the year 1970-71 when Pakistan was subjected to Indian aggression Oaddafi's was the only voice condemning the Indian action and supporting Pakistan to the hilt. The Muslim Ummah should wake-up and realise that today it is Libya, tomorrow it would be Syria, Iran and Pakistan.
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Title Annotation:Pakistan politics and foreign relations
Author:Haidari, Iqbal
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Apr 1, 1992
Words:1728
Previous Article:Promotion of Pakistan tourism.
Next Article:Budget 1992-93 - shape of things to come.


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