Articles of the year 2010

He's Got it All
Published on October 12th, 2010

He's got it all. Karachi October 10, 2010. As of today Asif Ali Zardari is way ahead in the political sweepstakes. He controls the National Assembly, and the Senate. Having positioned his own Speaker in the House and Chairman of the Senate, both diehard Zardariites. To call them Bhuttoiites,is to take credit away from Zardari. It is purely and simply a Zardari Government, and getting more so by the day. He is the undisputed master of the entire political spectrum in Pakistan.

Zardari has consolidated his grip on Sindh of which there was never any doubt. In the Punjab, propping up Salman as Governor ,with teeth, was enough to coerce the local administration into following the path laid down by Islamabad if the federal funds were not to dry up. The Sharifs were not about to taste that bitter pill. Having done without for so long, the Sharifs, as all political leaders, had no intention of depleting their own and their party funds, in what seems like a long battle. From the other political fronts, Imran Khan and the other leadership that has been thrust into the distribution of the flood funds, and are way too busy in keeping the charity channels clear of all the sticky fingers, that are itching to get their hands on some of the loot which the PPP leadership feels they have a right to, notwithstanding the desperate plight of the flood affectees. The very fact that there was a heated debate in the cabinet,last week, over a requisition for 2 bullet proof cars for the use of 2 cabinet ministers shows how the priorities of the MNAS are fraught with self indulgence with no care for the poor flood victims. To the Members of the Parliament, the needs of the people are of no concern provided the Harrods shopping is allowed to continue unabated.

The cricket fiasco in England is a case in point. Did no one in Islamabad realize that with 20 million flood affectees at risk, nothing should have been allowed to draw away from the focus, on the charity required. Instead with a buffoon as chairman, the detractors of Pakistan were quick to heap scorn upon our attempts and an air of sleaze was allowed to encompass a genuine desperate need for the poor people of Pakistan. Instead the Chairman Ijaz Butt got an inordinate amount of coverage from the British media, all of it negative. Diverting from what was a noble cause into one where the Pakistani team was portrayed as cheats in the'books' on the defensive, so having charity appearances was out of the question. Zardari had decided that the Defence Minister could not be moved, as he was placed there to ward off any letters to be written to the COAS for assistance were to be routed through the Miinister of Defence! Zardari has done his homework. The cricketing fans in Pakistan will no doubt be shocked that the devious schemers in Islamabad have taken advantage of Cricket so that their Machiavellian schemes are not thwarted.

The foreigners one meets are quizzical in their queries as to why the people are not out in the streets. The answer to that is very simple. The poor are too busy in scrabbling for their one meal a day, to indulge in the luxury of demonstrating against the Government. when that is their only visible source of succor. All else is already committed to those beholden to the same vested interests –the executive branch. Surely until this vicious circle can be broken, President Zardari will remain the complete master of Pakistan. The Sharifs have lost the stomach for a good fight, and have retreated to the comfort of their position saying that they do not want to derail democracy. The present setup has allowed Zardari to effectively control all the levers of power, including the paths to those levers. The Sharifs are shocked at the appointment of the Chairman NAB. Did they really expect anything else? Admittedly President Asif Ali Zardari has outmaneuvered all his adversaries and left us aghast at the completeness of his victory. The Supreme Court may also be engulfed by the events that are being created. It is truly unfortunate for Pakistan that one man has been able to take control of the destinies of 180 million good honest people.

It is now only the Supreme Court that can rescue Pakistan from the most deliberate flouting of the Constitution witnessed by us in 63 years.