Articles of the year 2007

The End Game
Published on May 25th, 2007

At this point in Musharraf's tenure not only is he holding all the cards, but the oppositionists lined up against him seem formidable, but in name only. Every one of them appears to be struggling and in their own assessments they could be marginalized forever. And in their best hopes they would be part of a grand coalition, with Musharraf calling the shots not unlike the last eight years. Even without the helping hidden hands.

Looking at the opposition, the JI and Imran Khan have already realized that in the last five years the wily Maulvi has while partaking in the profits of governance ensconced himself firmly in the power establishment of Islamabad. Also, successfully isolating the JI and the PTI. The PMLN while being played by the PPP into a boycott no boycott game, was unlucky that the N did not go it alone much earlier, and their principled stand may be slightly tarnished. But they may yet use the PPP game in their favour. Even with their handicaps the Nawaz league has a formidable team of grass roots committed supporters in the Punjab, and if unpaid rallies can be counted, then their showing at the polls should put them ahead of the others in the Punjab. The Punjab voter in 2008 has, thanks to television talk shows displayed his awareness of the political games being played, and is acutely aware of the impact of the CJ muzzling. The Punjabi is traditionally a romantic and dislikes unfair or cruel behaviour. The many songs of tragedy and the bias toward the underdog is visible in much of Punjabi folklore, and would have Aitzaz a winner by miles--- but he is not running! Unfortunately there is no room for a negative vote in our election, and no one to take the benefit from the Barrister's sacrifice. I cannot imagine that his predicament should garner him the Presidency of the Bar Association only. Surely he is destined for greater stuff? And it would be foolish for the political parties to ignore this formidable source of votes. Or is there a cunning plan afoot?

It must also be pointed out that Musharraf has survived the incredible damage done to his government by his cronies. The latest being the trip to the UN by his team of incompetents who were repeatedly barracked by their audiences. I as a Pakistani am ashamed at reading some of the newspaper reports of the level of arguments that were put forward by the representatives. These three will join Ahmed Raza Kasuri Wasi Zafar and Durrani in being nominated for a gold medal for the greatest disservice to the Nation. The pity is that these characters have emerged in the spotlight during Musharraf's tenure. This is probably his biggest failing, the rise of the inept and the incompetent. If only they could have been muzzled or kept under wraps not to be exposed – ever. For never in the short history of Pakistan have such numbers of fools appeared on the National stage. The stories of an erstwhile Governor of Sind are of legendary quality but he had his political contribution hence a Governorship, and his foibles were kept locked in a few hands. These people have absolutely no contribution politically and the damage they have wrought is colossal. Surely the people making the recommendations should have their sense of judgment revalued.?

The phenomenal luck of Musharraf, despite his cronies, continues to hold, and coupled with the mistakes made by the opposition, his mandate to continue is fairly strong and unless any major tragedy occurs his team led by Pervez Elahi will succeed in the elections. The others will be also rans, to pick up the bits cast their way.

Some of the Opposition Parties have threatened taking to the streets if the vote goes against them. The street power myth has already been destroyed, but then these Parties including the PPP should be asked why they sat in the assemblies for five years partaking of the benefits and the perks, and set a record for the only assembly to complete its term. Surely a walkout at that time would not have resulted in such a claim. Why did they allow such an 'illegal and immoral' parliament to continue with their participation? These are questions that will be asked by the voters, and I am sure the replies will be found inadequate. And so will the votes.