From prison to presidency


By Farman Nawaz (The Frontier Post)

Once upon a time a businessman married a princess – a princess without kingdom. An oriental princess studied in the West did not insist to indulge in love with a prince first and then marry but she surprised the subjects by getting married a person who was not of noble rank, a commoner. The commoner too promised not to betray in hard times. She succeeds to get the thrown back – once usurped by a wicked General of army.

For almost two decades this commoner – Zardari is criticized and presented as the most corrupt and dishonest person of Pakistan. Today Zardari is the most controversial personality in Pakistani politics. He was Mr. 10%, the prisoner, the murderer, the widower and now the president. He served as investment and environment minister in Bhutto’s governments. It was during this time that People’s Party opponents began using the nickname, “Mr 10%”, in reference to the charges of corruption against him which were not proved till NRO. He was also accused of allegedly plotting the murder of Murtaza Bhutto, the brother of his wife Benazir Bhutto. He was later cleared. After his arrest he dared to face the courts instead of making deals with establishment.

After the death of Benazir Bhutto there were riots all over Pakistan. We all knew that there was no one in the country who could control those angry people at that time. Law enforcement agencies were no where to be seen. The murder of Benazir was an international conspiracy. A Sindhi leader was killed in Punjab by a Pakhtoon extremist. In a way ground was set to divide Pakistan. But it was the voice of Zardari that cool down the masses.

After elections the issue of selecting Prime Minister from his party was not an easy task. Even when Mr Gillani was selected the people were thinking that he will be just a puppet in Zardari’s hands. But it was the best decision to select prime minister from Punjab. We can see now how Prime Minster balances the situations and in the last all the burden is placed at the shoulders of PM.

It is said that Zardari does not keep his promises and he wants to be the strongest person in Pakistan. But surprisingly the same Zardari kept his promises while he was in prison. He could easily go outside the country by making deals. But he was all alone for years without wife and family. Even some “Jiyalas” have betrayed with party in those hard times. But what was compelling Zardari to bear it all? The party – Pakistan People’s Party.

Presidential powers, 58-2b and ban on becoming third time prime minister are all the tools that Zardari is using as weapons and blackmailing tactics to protect his party from the lion of Punjab. Once he lost his powers surely a long march is waiting to kick his party out of the government.

The motive behind delayed judiciary restoration was the same. He was well aware that Judiciary will raise the issue of National Reconciliation Ordinance. He was not wrong because the same happened. And now Zardari is abused for presenting NRO in the parliament. Now no body remembers that it was the decision of the court to discuss NRO in the parliament. Zardari is not different from Nawaz. If Nawaz has attacked courts and confronted the army, in the same way Zardari have opposed the restoration of judiciary to save his party.

Now the issue of 58-2b and ban on becoming third time prime minister are strong tools in Zardari hands to prolong his party tenure. Nawaz Sharif will cooperate till he sees these weapons in Zardari hands. Our media propagates that Zardari is isolated and deserted even by his own colleagues. The question is does Zardari represent the parliament? No, Parliament is strong and the person who represents the People’s Party in the parliament is also strong.

All the coalition partners are again on board. And the issues with army are somehow solved. The popularity of political parties will be seen by the people of Pakistan in the forthcoming Gilgat Baltistan elections. Because all the major players are contesting elections. Now the claims of popularity will be evaluated by these elections. If Zardari is unpopular, deceitful and untrustworthy surely masses will reject People’s party. But if his party is again chosen by the masses so it will be the sign of his success and a slap on the faces of his opponents.

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