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Ansar Abbasi: Nawaz Sharif must refrain from political reconciliation with the PPP.

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Ansar Abbasi advises Nawaz Sharif to refrain from reconciliation.
He suggests that politics of reconciliation can be devastating for the country. Really? Good bye, democracy. Welcome, military dictatorship. Whose agenda are you serving Mr. Abbasi?

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All the king’s horses together against democracy?
Here is how a life-time ISI stooge Roedad Khan spits his venom against the democratic government:

To the barricades! To the barricades!
Monday, March 09, 2009
Roedad Khan
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Euripides said: “Whom the Gods destroy, they first make mad.” Just when you think our situation couldn’t possibly get worse, Mr Asif Ali Zardari manages to get it down another notch.

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009, will be remembered as a day of infamy in the history of Pakistan. On that day, Mr Zardari committed an egregious folly. He exploited the power of his office to overturn the express will of millions of people in Punjab and stabbed Pakistan’s fledging democracy in the back. Consequent upon the highly controversial decision of the Supreme Court, declaring Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif ineligible to contest elections or hold public offices, he, illegally, imposed Governor’s Rule in Punjab – a decision that has plunged Pakistan into deeper political turmoil as it grapples with an escalating insurgency.
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Today, say Pakistan and what comes to mind: anarchy within, irresistible pressure from without, a country cracking up under outside pressure, a proxy war, pervasive fear and sabotage. Perhaps no place on earth more closely resembles Hobbes’s description of a state of nature in which life is “nasty, brutish and short.”

I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, that Pakistan is on the edge of the abyss. There is an element of dread in the air. Today Pakistan is trembling with anxiety about its future.

Against this grim backdrop, Mr Zardari’s ascension to power has caused panic among the people. Thrown there by accident, he is grotesquely unsuited for his new position. With General Musharraf’s exit, we thought we had reached the summit. Alas! After two years of hard struggle, we are back to square one, like Sisyphus, whose punishment in Hades was to push uphill a huge boulder only to have it tumble down again.

On March 9, 2007, a judicial earthquake remade the political terrain. From that day and from that place (Army House), began a new epoch in the history of Pakistan. It was a painful day for anyone who wore the nation’s uniform or who wanted to be proud of the Pakistani army. On that day, General Musharraf made a fatal move against Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Napoleon needed the Terror, Caesar needed the Gallic Wars, Churchill needed the Nazis, and Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry needed General Musharraf to be raised to the greatness each achieved.

All revolutions need a symbolic beginning. In France, it was the storming of the Bastille. In Russia, it was the capture of the Winter Palace. In the United States of America, Rose Louise Parks made history by refusing to give up her seat on the Cleveland Avenue bus to a white man. Her courageous act touched off a 381-day boycott of the city’s bus system, led by Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., and is now considered the beginning of the American civil rights movement. With her simple act of courage, she changed history. All that Chief Justice Iftikhar did was to refuse to resign and decide to fight back and defend himself. With that he changed the course of Pakistan’s history.

March 9 also saw the return of political passions which had long been dormant. This was the moment when Pakistan lifted its head and began to fight back against the military ruler. The Bar and the Bench joined hands, for the first time in the history of Pakistan, and triggered a revolution. The presence of thousands of enthusiastic lawyers and members of civil society on the Constitution Avenue, protesting against the suspension of the Chief Justice and demanding his reinstatement, supremacy of the Constitution, independence of the judiciary, rule of law, was indeed exhilarating. They are not led by political leaders. Their struggle is not a contest for power. It is an unprecedented struggle, with Chief Justice Iftikhar as its symbol, to challenge despotism and restore the independence of the judiciary and rule of law. While political leaders are dithering, the Bar and the Bench are making history. Today, they are, in the words of Marx, the bulldozer of History and are writing a page of history that will be read and admired by their children and their children. A window of hope has opened for Pakistan. Few persons but those who were present on Constitution Avenue could comprehend how it galvanised everybody and rekindled hope.

Today the good news is that General Musharraf has been hounded out of office and thrown into the dustbin of history. The bad news is that Mr Zardari, his democratic successor, seems to have entered into a Faustian bargain with General Musharraf to pursue his agenda. God protect us all.

Here in the Capital, a sense of high intensity chaos prevails. Islamabad is once again preparing for a showdown. The stage is set for a collision between those who are fighting for the reinstatement of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Choudhary and Rule of Law and those who represent the forces of darkness and oppose them. In this Manichean struggle, you are either with the people or against them. You have to choose sides. To march at their head and lead them? To stand behind them, ridiculing and criticizing them? To stand opposite them and oppose them? Every citizen is free to choose among the three; but by force of circumstances they are all fated to make their choice quickly. Well countrymen, we must hang together or we shall assuredly hang separately.

For members of the intelligentsia living under this authoritarian regime, not to be politically rebellious is, in my view, a moral abandonment of their social post. Members of civil society – doctors, engineers, journalists, writers, academia, civil servants, must be implacable opponents of despotism. People detest those who remain passive, who keep silent and love only those who fight, who dare. It is as simple as that.

Mr. Asif Ali Zardari’s Presidency is condemned to infamy. That is for sure. He has been weighed in the balance and found wanting. He alone is responsible for the mess we are in today because it is he who drives the train. Why not reinstate the deposed Judges, repeal the 17th amendment and restore the statusquo ante? Why not make this long traumatized country normal again? Let Pakistan be Pakistan again. Let it be the dream it used to be, a dream that is almost dead today.

It is time to turn the page. The time to hesitate is through. This is a moment of great hope for Pakistan. Don’t let it turn into a national nightmare. There is no half-way house. As we approach the endgame, the nation has to decide between two conceptions of politics, two visions for our country, two value systems, two very different paths: democracy or dictatorship, confrontation or collaboration.

One man, one man alone, is responsible for the mess we are in today. At this time, all those who see the perils of the future, whatever their political orientation, must draw together to pull our country back from the edge of the abyss. We need to reinvent Pakistan. Our ship of state has hit rough waters. It must now chart a new way forward. If we do not act, and act now, the mess we are in will get even bigger, deeper and taller. We are standing on a “burning platform”. If we don’t work quickly to extinguish the blaze, the country and all of us in it would sink into the sea.

200 years ago, America faced the same problem as we do today. “Our worst danger”, Hamilton warned, “comes from dependent Judges. We ought to resist, resist, till we hurl the tyrants from their imagined thrones”. The lesson of history is never flinch, never weary, never despair, if your cause is just. Citizens! To the barricades! To the barricades! (The News, 9 March 2009)

The writer is a retired federal secretary. Email: rkhan@isb.compol.com. www.roedadkhan.com

Here is how Abbasi’s own newspaper, The News, analyses the situation in Pakistan:

Troubled times
Monday, March 09, 2009
Even though efforts to ‘reconcile’ the PPP and the PML-N continue, it seems apparent that Mian Nawaz Sharif has now opted for the path of open confrontation. His charged speech in Lahore spoke of ‘revolution’ and ‘justice’ and of the manner in which he had been betrayed. Sharif’s harsh attack on President Zardari and his call on people to join the long march to Islamabad would suggest that there is now no going back from the brink. The success of the PML-N-called strike across Punjab, where almost all shops remained closed Friday, also indicates that many in the province have opted to put their faith squarely behind Sharif. In Islamabad meanwhile, it is reported that at high-level meetings, discussions are on about how to handle the protest planned by lawyers, which now has the backing of a major political party. Many fear chaos. People have begun stocking up on food items. All this is all the more alarming as it comes at a time when the dreaded tread of army boots can be at least faintly heard somewhere in the distance.

http://thenews.jang.com.pk/news.asp?cat_id=9

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In the following op-ed Ejaz Hafiz Khan discusess the “un-“intended conseuqneces of the politics of Long March and agitation:

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Also read the following op-ed by Hamid Akhtar: PNA revived, is it revival of Tehreek-e-Naizam-e-Mustafa or IJI? Both were funded and supported by the ISI:


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PPP’s advice: Instead of street politics, we must attempt to reconcile through negotiations:

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Onus is on Nawaz Sharif

The trio of “reconcilers” now clearly led by the JUI’s Maulana Fazlur Rehman says the PPP government and the PMLN may yet back off from their fatal clash. Maulana Fazlur Rehman is reported as having communicated a vital message from President Asif Zardari to the chairman of the PMLN, Raja Zafarul Haq. Some reports say the message contains details of the proposed “18th Amendment” that would “restore” Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and resolve other issues too.

There are a number of issues that are centre stage, some of them obfuscated by partisan debate. It is possible that an announcement about the reinstatement of Justice Chaudhry would deprive the Long March of much of its justification, but the Sharifs also want Governor’s Rule in Punjab removed and the pre-Feb 25 PMLN government headed by Shahbaz Sharif restored. Needless to say, all this can only be done via a constitutional amendment and a presidential “pardon” for the Sharifs. The return of the provincial assembly, once the fear of the Long March is gone, would restore the political status quo.

“Reconciliation” can lead to the end of the “crisis of credibility” over Justice Chaudhry. The incumbent Chief Justice AH Dogar retires some days after the beginning of the Long March. Justice Chaudhry’s reinstatement can be announced in advance, stipulating the actual date on which he will reoccupy his chair at the Supreme Court. The National Assembly can be convened immediately and the 18th Amendment can be passed quickly, providing the assurances that both Mr Sharif and Mr Zardari need and guaranteeing that Mr Chaudhry will not be able to act as a destabilising and politically partisan chief justice.

But will reconciliation come to pass? Yesterday, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Secretary-General of the PPP, announced an end to the initiatives for reconciliation, saying that Nawaz Sharif was unbending. Yesterday, too, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi met with Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer and said the PPP and the PMLQ would form a coalition government after March 11 if the PMLN would not do so. The dye is cast.

If Mr Sharif insists on using street power to achieve his party-political objectives instead of political discourse and compromise, which are essential for the working of democracy, then Pakistan will be in trouble. Indeed, if non-state actors wanting to sow the seeds of anarchy infiltrate the Long March and precipitate violence, there is no knowing how the state and government will respond and unravel. The onus of unleashing violence will then be squarely on Nawaz Sharif. (Daily Times, 9 March 2009)

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A sane advice:

A possible solution
Monday, 09 Mar, 2009

HURTLING as this country is towards the brink of political chaos, there is still time for the politicians to slam on the brakes and reverse course. At the moment though none of them appears to want to do so. The Sharifs have sounded the clarion call for Punjab to rise up, the PPP is busy with the mischief of cleaving forward blocs from the PML-Q and PML-N, and the PML-Q is allowing itself to be courted by both sides while its intra-party divisions refuse to die down. If not stopped immediately, the chain of events triggered by the ouster of the Sharif brothers from electoral politics and the imposition of governor’s rule in Punjab will surely end in tears for everyone involved.

The simplest way to defuse the present crisis would be to withdraw governor’s rule, allow the PML-N to prove its majority in the Punjab Assembly and use the collective will of parliament to pave the way for the Sharifs’ return to electoral politics. Yet, notwithstanding the Sharifs’ fierce assaults on President Zardari, what makes that unlikely for now is the lawyers’ long march. The fear of the PPP will be that even if it reverses course in Punjab, the PML-N and the lawyers will still try to bring down the government in Islamabad. That may be directly attempted by besieging parliament and threatening a violent stand-off until the powers-that-be pull the plug on the federal set-up. Or it may be indirectly attempted by insisting the deposed chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry be reinstated and having him then tear down the edifice of a government that he has made clear is in some ways a continuation of the Musharraf era.

So, if a confrontation on the streets is to be avoided and the crisis resolved within the parliamentary chambers, the key to the solution is the PML-Q. A report in this paper the other day suggested that the PML-N and the PML-Q may be set for a reunion, a result which, from the point of the present crisis, may allow all the protagonists to keep the transition to democracy on track. Because of the PML-Q’s strength in the various assemblies, a union between the two PMLs would greatly simplify the numbers game. In Punjab, a combined PML would have a secure two-thirds majority. In the National Assembly and the Senate, the present coalition government’s simple majorities in both houses would not be turned. Moreover, the PML-Q, which is a partner of the PPP in the Balochistan government, could act to cool temperatures between the PML-N and the PPP in a bid to protect its interests in the various assemblies. But will sense prevail? It must if Pakistan is to overcome this crisis, though at the moment that appears distressingly beside the point for the politicians. (Dawn, 9 March 2009)

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Some relevant comments:

MalangBaba said:

This Raang March is nothing but a bubble of expectations. Sharifs just want some blood on streets to get some political gain in their blind confrontation. I hope government will deal with the situation very tactfully and without any bloodshed. The best way to deal with the situation is to handle it at root level. Sharifs asked their MP’s to bring 2 bus loads each. I think govrnment will handle this march in a same way Sharifs handled similar march by Imran/Qazi mafia to pave way for Mush takeover. I think there will be some detentions and a smal drama in Lahore and Muree Road. Few Bus tires will be punctured. Sharifs, Imran and Qazi will watch TV and nation will enjoy a free day off. Boys will play cricket on empty roads.

Zardari may even puncture the whole movement by restoring Iftikhar on March 15. Now PPP and alies have 2/3 in both houses and a constitutional amendment will eliminate any possiblity of ‘political activism’ of judges. That will solve the problem once for all.

Those who think that somehow Zia will ressurecate from Jabra Chowk and ‘golden days’ of 1977-88 will come back are living in fool’s paradise.

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