Thursday, February 26, 2009

Zardari, Tara Masih to democracy by Aziz Narejo

Zardari, Tara Masih to democracy, plunges country into another crisis

Aziz Narejo A freelance writer currently living in USA. Editor quarterly Sangat. Ex Editor daily The Chronicle, Islamabad.

(How can Yousuf Gilani advise Asif Zardari to impose governor’s rule in Punjab dislodging the PML-N led provincial government when he had assured Shahbaz Sharif only a couple of days ago that no such action will be taken? Why this treacherous deceit and duplicity? Even if the fake judges had unseated Shahbaz, the Punjab coalition could have elected another CM. Why this attack on democracy and the provincial rights?) This is indeed a sad day for democracy and another black day for the country. It is not just an attack on the Punjab . It is an attack on the will of the people, an attack on the provincial rights of all the provinces and also an attack on the fledgling democracy in the country.

All the people, in all the provinces must condemn it, rise against it and force the federal government to reverse its action. It is unfortunate that the Pakistani rulers have not changed over the time. Most of the central (or call them federal) governments have traditionally attacked and harassed the provincial governments in an effort to impose their hegemony and grab all the powers. It didn’t start today. It began in 1947 when the Sarhad (NWFP or Pukhtoonkhwa) government was overthrown when Jinnah was at the helm. The Sindh, Punjab and East Bengal governments also met the same fate at the hand of the central government. Same has been repeated over and over again sowing the seeds of discontent and at times rebellion in the provinces. No one could ever forget whatever happened in 1971.

The federal government action against the elected government in Punjab has created another major crisis in the country and has the potential to harm the democratic process. It may even bring the PPP rule to an end. No one else but the present leadership of the party will be responsible for such an eventuality. Other unfortunate casualties of the federal government’s action are the Charter of Democracy and the goodwill between the PPP and the PML-N.

Slain PPP leader Benazir Bhutto and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif had worked hard to establish a close working relationship between the two parties. It was seen essential for the future of democracy and the country itself. The government action will also add fuel to the fire ignited by the lawyers’ movement seeking reinstatement of the November 3, 2007 judiciary. It will take the country back to the belligerency of the 1990s. The PPP and its present leadership seem to be the biggest losers in this. But as the saying goes there is no cure for self-inflicted injuries. People and the country continue to suffer at the hands of the most incompetent and imprudent leaders. Can the civil society rise to the occasion and turn the situation around?

Aziz Narejo


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