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New alliance of politicians.

Slowly Benazir Bhutto is emerging as a strong force to be reckoned with. Efforts are in the offing to contain the force of PPP. A new alliance is being formed to be named as National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ostensibly to counter BB and her PDA. NDA has been termed as an alliance of eight politicians rather than eight parties. By ignoring the largest political party PPP, this alliance has weakened the struggle of the collective opposition.

The Independence Day rally outside Nasir Bagh at Lower Mall, Lahore was biggest ever in recent times. It was PDA APC public meeting. The meeting was addressed by PDA leaders and Benazir Bhutto. The former Prime Minister lashed out at President Ghulam Ishaq Khan who according to her had become senile and could not see the rampant corruption let loose by IJI rulers and the failure of the government to control law and order.

Slowly Benazir Bhutto is emerging as a strong force to be reckoned with. Efforts are in the offing to contain the force of PPP. A new alliance is being formed to be named as National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ostensibly to counter BB and her PDA. The new alliance will have Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, Ghulam Mustafa Khar, Kausar Niazi, Fatehyab Ali Khan and Nawab Akber Bugti. The new alliance, it is said, has blessings of the President. NDA has been termed as an alliance of eight politicians rather than eight parties. By ignoring the largest political party PPP, this alliance has weakened the struggle of the collective opposition.

Those who are moving spirit behind the new political alliance are confidently saying it will pave way for the formation of the national government which will include Muslim League, PDA and other major opposition parties. The national government thus installed would continue for longer period allowing the present polarisation to defuse the situation stabilised for holding fresh elections.

The Government has lost the two third majority in the parliament with the exit of MQM members. Jamat has also left the IJI. The latest to quit are the senators from a group headed by Pir Pagara who split from Sharifs Muslim League and formed his own functional Muslim League. The declaration of the Prime Minister to amend the constitution yet again to ensure as he put the supremacy of the Shariat either through the government's hand picked men prove to be the last nail in the democracy's coffin.

Whatever happens a change in the present set up is imminent. To save himself from the new onslaught from Benazir, the President has given signals to some of his men in the opposition to arrange an indirect dialogue between him and Benazir Bhutto.

An APC leader speaking on the condition of anonymity, disclosed that President Ishaq is not in a good shape and he might leave abroad for treatment soon. The President before leaving for treatment wanted to settle certain things in the national politics, the APC leader said. However, the repetition of the furious attack of Benazir Bhutto on the President, the chances of rapprochement have once again sunk into oblivion. Benazir Bhutto and other opposition leaders believe that the indirect offer of the President is yet another trap.

The last initiative for the rapprochement by the main leaders of the new alliance in the making, however, has not been welcomed by other opposition leaders including PDA and the APC convenor, Nawabzada Nasarullah Khan. The decision of submitting resignation en bloc by the PDA parliamentary group in September would turn the confused political battle into a straight fight in which the role of new alliance will be diminished. Opposition leaders' decision to storm the Presidency is likely to bring about radical change in the political culture.

Deputy Opposition leader Farooq Leghari demanded criminal proceedings against the Director of the intelligence Bureau (DIB) Brig (Retd) Imtiaz Ahmed for subverting the constitution and engaging in horse trading in league with other officials. Leghari's demand was the follow-up of a press conference by Salman Taseer two days back, when he had distributed copies of the transcripts of audio cassettes containing conversations between the DIB, then a serving army officer, and assorted MNAs.

A set of these cassettes with the transcripts been sent to President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Leghari said that this was sufficient proof of horse trading and the President could no longer use the excuse of lack of evidence for action against the government. The Deputy Opposition Leader castigated the DIB and others whom he termed "a troop of conspirators" against a democratically elected government and charged they were occupying various state organs today.

He also questioned their behaviour on moral grounds and alleged that they used extremely filthy and insulting language during their conversation contained in the tape recordings against the then Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto. He added that they misused Official funds and this was reflective of their fascist attitude. Farooq Leghari said General (Retd) Hameed Gul was on record to have said after his retirement that he founded the IJI and later these people were owned by Nawaz Sharif with pride. In rely to a question, the deputy opposition leader said that if the government found it feasible to make public the tapes of the conversation between Benazir Bhutto and the late Indian Premier Rajiv Gandhi, they should come out with it.

The Shah Bunder case scheduled to be heard in Rawalpindi now been fixed for hearing on September 19. Possibly the case be transferred to Sindh as there was big hue and cry when the case was shifted to Rawalpindi. Malik Qasim leader of his own faction of Muslim League and PDA said such an act could break the country. He reminded that two of the judges in the Agartala Conspiracy Case against the Bengali leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman were Bengalis but the chairman was a Punjabi and the Bengalis never forgot this. As a result the country broke up.

Transfer of the case to Rawalpindi not only undermine the dignity and the credibility of the Sindh judiciary in whose jurisdiction the case falls but also laid open the government to the charge justified or not of attempting to manipulate the evidence and witnesses far away from the scene of the "crime". Judicious opinion all over the country has expressed its displeasure and its apprehensions. Given the state of alienation in Sindh, the popular refrain all over the province may well be: "No more dead bodies to come back from Punjab." Hatred for the perceived injustices perpetrated by Punjab will increase and further embitter an already estranged populace.

The operation clean-up has been speeded up. Army jawans have been deployed everywhere. In a bid to make the ongoing clean-up operation more effective, law enforcing agencies may opt for clamping curfew and carry out house to house search. It is reported that the law enforcing agencies have collected details with the help of secret agencies about criminals wanted in serious crimes, their hide outs and whereabouts of arms stocks. In this connection, light security measures have been adopted and suspected cars and areas have been put under strict surveillance.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his recent visit to Karachi asked Sindh Chief Minister Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah to announce the list of the wanted persons. After Prime Minister's keenness all hurdles in finalising the list is likely to be made public soon.

If the list is released as described by the Prime Minister, the army command will get the needed green signal to go ahead with their plan to nab some influential political figures involved in criminal activities and aiding and abetting dacoits and other criminals. However, this seems unlikely as the list of 60 persons already prepared on the basis of various intelligience agencies reports includes some provincial ministers also. Any action at this stage against any minister will cause problems for the Sindh government which is already under severe pressure following en masses resignations of the MQM MPA's.

The operation has become very much against MQM. A women's rally of MQM was dispersed by the police and several hundred women were arrested. Mr. Altaf Hussain also alleged that his workers were killed by the police and their bodies were mutilated. The Naib Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami said the operation had yielded nothing more than setting up of security posts done in urban areas. He claimed that the incidents of kidnappings and decoities had increased to an alarming extent and the army completely failed to recover illegal weapons.

Altaf also alleged that MQM workers are being retrenched from all government offices including police, KMC, KESC, Steel Mills etc. The MQM chief said as a result of struggle by MQM, Mohajir Youth from urban areas, who were recruited for the first time in police, were now being removed from jobs, while they had fulfilled all legal urges for the jobs.
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Title Annotation:Pakistan political arena
Author:Haidari, Iqbal
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Aug 1, 1992
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