By Farman Nawaz (Daily Outlook Afghanistan)
Nawaz Sharif and President Zardari have started the long awaited blame game. Though this game was carried out successfully by their political descendants however now as the elections are coming closer, Nawaz took the initiative and Zardari paid in the same coins.
It is expected that this game will continue with intervals till elections but its one aspect is noticeable. Nawaz Sharif target audience is the general masses. He wants to gain the attention of the people and wants to create a wave of slogans of corruption against President Zardari. On the other side President Zardari wants to take advantage of Nawaz Sharif pro-Taliban and hardliner image. If on one side Nawaz wants to defame Zardari in public, on the other side Zardari is fully aware of the weaknesses and internal confusion of army and the regional scenario that is why he wants to defame Nawaz in the eyes of the army, regional players and US. Presently International forces do not need pro-Taliban parties in power here in Pakistan but rather they need such forces here that can support the army – the real power house and ally of US– and can convince the Taliban for reconciliation and for playing a minor role by accepting international involvement in Afghanistan. Secondly that government must be able to fill the gap between Pakistani establishment and US.
This blame game is a kind of war of words between liberals and conservatives in Pakistan where army is also busy in cleansing their ranks of radical elements. However Nawaz and Zardari are not publicly showing their conservative and liberal stances as Asfandyar Wali of ANP and Late Salman Taseer expressed their secular approaches at the top of their voices. PML-N is of the view that Zardari statement will bring closer the religious voters to Nawaz but actually PPP has its own vote bank. Secondly religious vote is already divided between various religious circles whose interests change with changing political situations.
Nawaz Sharif is blaming the government with corruption charges as well as the increasing burden of price hike. But people will believe in them when any case of corruption is filed against Zardari. Similarly Nawaz has forgotten that in his previous government his finance minister Surtaj Aziz was infamous for adding surcharges to utility bills and that’s why people called him ‘Surcharge Aziz’. Zardari too, while accusing Nawaz as supporter of fundamentalists, has forgotten that Taliban movement was established in People’s Party government in 90’s.
Nawaz stance about accountability of army is appreciable as it will strengthen the parliament but why shouldn’t we start this accountability from the day when Musharaf dissolved the parliament of two-third majority. After Musharaf trial why shouldn’t we first make Nawaz accountable for sacrificing that parliament? He may be involved in airplane hijacking but it was not the fault of the parliament and it was his national duty to fight for the sake of that parliament. But alas he preferred to stay away from the country. Nawaz stance of independent Judiciary is also appreciable but we are waiting for the time when this independent judiciary will also open the cases against Sharif family so that this judiciary can be really called the ‘Independent Judiciary’. On the other side Zardari stance of strengthening the army is also appreciable at this critical time but this strong army is only strong against its own people. It is not able to defeat Tehrik -e- Taliban Pakistan. This army never tried to bring us closer to the regional countries. This army is still accused of terrifying journalists. This army is still not able to bring annoyed Balochis to table talks. And lastly this army is always a burden on the weak economy of Pakistan. Instead of strengthening the army we must compel the army now to shun its trembling approach of national security and to adopt a regional approach of security.
The objections which I have raised are not for paving way for third power but the question is that where this blame game will lead us? Do these politicians have any vision for Pakistan? Ideology of Pakistan was the base for the creation of Pakistan in 1947. Just in few years this ideology had changed the mindset of the Muslims of united India and a Muslim state emerged on the world map. But today do we have an ideology for the same ideological state?
This blame game is only for attracting more voters in elections or getting closer to those powers that can become a ladder for politicians in elections. It has nothing to do with the fate of Pakistan. Pakistan can only progress if the political leaders and army reset their agendas. All the parties must express their visions how to bring closer Pakistan to regional powers and neighbors. They must tell the nation how they will raise the per capita income and GNP. Army must also express its fears to the nation just like US army which even identifies publicly its enemies and friends. Every political party is presenting itself as the only savior but they will have to tell the nation their vision of Pakistan, their approach towards India, Iran, China, Russia, and US, their approach towards religion and minorities, their economic agenda to repay the loans, to boost the economy and uplift the country, their educational plans and the way to get rid of the points of hatred in our syllabus books, their plans how to keep army out of decision making, and finally how to draft a new constitution? Only a new constitution can solve our problems. But for this all the political parties and power circles will have to reconcile.