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Home / Asia / China / Our coalition’s responsibilities

Our coalition’s responsibilities

The process of reconciliation between the political parties began with the signing of the Charter of Democracy at London and gained momentum with the holding of the All Parties Conference in July 2007. It ultimately resulted into the formation of the All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM).
The struggle for restoration of the deposed judges, led by the bar, bench and the media, gave new impetus to the movement, which exploded into a revolution with the assassination of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and all the machinations of the dictatorial regime, to rig the elections failed and the main opposition parties namely PPP, PML-N and ANP emerged victorious.
Their leaders Mr Asif Zardari and Mian Nawaz Sharif met at Murree and finalised the historic agreement to form a coalition government, which came as a shock to the policy-makers in Washington as expressed by the editor of Washington Times and United Press: “Democracy is, what has now emerged – an unholy alliance of long-time America haters. The behind-the-scenes god-lather of this broad-based, anti-US coalition is Nawaz Sharif.”
Negroponte-Boucher team therefore was rushed to Islamabad to control the damage. They met the prime minister in his chamber, and Mr Nawaz Sharif at his residence, but surprisingly Mr Asif Zardari and Bilawal Zardari went to the American Deputy High Commissioners residence, to receive condolences for Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s demise. The trouble shooters paid a hectic visit, meeting all the political leaders and officials who mattered and now it appears that the message they would carry home, is positive, yet they did convey their concern about issues they consider important. The American delegation supported Musharraf because “all Pakistanis are bad. Only one person is good, and he is Musharraf…. He has delivered in the past and he will deliver in the future also” – Seymore Hersh.
They want, the Pakistan Army to fight their war in Afghanistan, by eliminating the ‘so-called Pakistani terrorists’. They showed no enthusiasm for the restoration of the deposed judges. They desired that MQM join the government at the centre, to provide the much needed political support to Musharraf and also to serve as the stand-by, to form the government at the centre, in case, Nawaz Sharif finds it difficult to concede on the issues of president, restoration of the judiciary, war on terror and MQM. Knowing Nawaz Sharifs views on these issues, he is not likely to compromise and may prefer to leave the coalition, if the going gets rough.
The peoples’ verdict of February 18 produced an interesting phenomenon of distribution of political power in Pakistan. The political base of Nawaz Sharif is Punjab – 62 percent of Pakistan and is secure because PML-Q, the opposition in Punjab, is gradually fading-away. Thus Nawaz Sharif has the pivotal role to play, whether within the alliance, or outside.
The political sagacity and judgement, he has displayed so far, suggests that he will hold the key to the sustainability of the democratic order in Pakistan. The PPP leader, Asif Zardari has shown remarkable political wisdom in dealing with the formation of the government and coolness of mind, ignoring the irritating delays by the president for the completion of constitutional formalities. His is the largest party in the coalition, yet its political base in Sindh is not as secure, with MQM, PML-Q and PML-F waiting on the wings, to exploit weaknesses of the government in power. This provides a perfect scenario, for the Americans to play “Alfateh-Hamas game” in Pakistan.
The obtaining political equation in Pakistan cannot be reversed, and any “attempt to manipulate the political process will backfire” because the national dynamics in Pakistan are “out of control of American political decision making.”
The Americans, therefore, must show magnanimity and reconcile their ambivalent attitude in consonance with the ground realities in Pakistan. They have to develop a new understanding, based on the fact that the Pakistani nation must be given a chance, to order its priorities, after a long period of sufferings of over half a century, as a result of a chequered Pak-US relationship. The common man in Pakistan respects American ‘Soft-Power’, while it rejects the policy of application of its ‘Hard-Power’ in the region. which has caused disastrous impact on our national security.
The present Pakistani leadership reflects these feelings and has to be understood in this light. “What is needed, rather, is some new, creative thinking about a changed world in which authoritarianism is enjoying a renaissance and America and its allies need to work together to spread peace, freedom and democracy (Roger Cohen).
Mr Asif Zardari, Mr Nawaz Sharif and Mr Asfandyar Wali have shown political maturity in the conduct of national politics. In all probability, together, they will be able to ward off the threat to national unity, which has suffered as a result of such machinations in the past. Efforts are already being made now to induct such persons in the government as advisors, technocrats and ambassadors, who have doubtful credentials and their mission is to break the unity of the coalition. In order to consolidate the political cohesion of the new democratic order, this coalition leadership is already working to share responsibility and power with the APDM leadership, which opted to remain out of the election process, yet its role in the main stream national politics, as an integrative force is pre-determined. Together they share the pain of grief, for the loss of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. The trauma, also bears with it a great burden of responsibility,’ which shall serve as the glue to keep the coalition intact.
And above all: “Democracy in Pakistan is truly becoming stable, as the people have come to value it, not solely for its economic and social preferences, but intrinsically for its political attitudes.” The coalition leadership is fully conscious of these ground realities and stands firm without fear, on not making concessions in preserving democracy. Edmund Burke rightly said, “The concessions of the weak are the concessions of fear.”


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