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Long March, Deal and Topi Drama? – by Asadullah Ghalib

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External intervention by the US and the UK:

The officials said Clinton coordinated with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband to exert strong pressure for a deal. Clinton told reporters Monday that the decision to reinstate Chaudhry was a first step for much-needed reconciliation and political compromise in Pakistan, but she avoided answering when asked if she had linked continued US aid to a deal.

US officials said Clinton told both Zardari and Sharif that congressional lawmakers might balk at sending Pakistan more aid while the crisis persisted. “She warned them that congressional appropriations would be at risk,” said one US official, who asked not to be named. A senior State Department official said “many” in Congress had expressed concern over what was happening in Pakistan. “The secretary’s friendly advice to the Pakistani leadership is that we have got to get this situation under control,” the official said.

US special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, also spoke several times over the weekend to Pakistani politicians. “This was all done with great respect for Pakistan’s sovereignty and sensibility but with great concern for the strategic and political implications of a protracted confrontation,” a Holbrooke aide quoted him as saying.

Source

Internal Intervention by General Kayani:

ISLAMABAD: Former military chief General (retd.) Jehangir Karamat said that different types of speculations and models were being discussed in media and elsewhere, including intervention of army, models of Bangladesh and Thailand to end this crisis. However, the role played by army to end the crisis should be called as “Kayani Model”.

“The military acted to avert, to correct and to clear the way for full democracy with the center of gravity where it should be — in Parliament and the people,” said Jehangir Karamat, a retired general and former Pakistani ambassador to Washington, in an article for Spearheadresearch.org, his Web site.

General Karamat called the new military approach the Kayani Model, after General Kayani, whom General Karamat is close to. During the crisis, the army chief had been “invisible but around, fully informed and acting through well-timed and effective influence in the right quarter,” General Karamat wrote. (The New York Times, 17 March 2009)


Daily Express, 17 March 2009



Sharif’s assurances to the USA?

Mr. Sharif, often held in suspicion in Washington because of his leaning toward Islamic conservatives, was more cooperative than had been thought, some United States officials suggested.

In Washington, there was an awareness that Mr. Sharif’s reputation from the Bush administration of being too close to the Islamists might be overdrawn, and that his relationships with some of the Islamic parties and with Saudi Arabia could be useful, said a foreign policy expert familiar with the thinking of the Obama administration on Pakistan.

Mr. Sharif has told people that he got along well with the Obama administration’s special envoy, Richard C. Holbrooke, during their meeting at Mr. Sharif’s farm last month.

He speaks admiringly of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom he met with former President Bill Clinton while in exile in Saudi Arabia.

Pakistani analysts, too, said Mr. Sharif could prove to be a useful partner as Washington tried to talk to what it considered reconcilable elements in the Taliban.

“Who from Pakistan can talk to a faction of the Taliban? It’s Nawaz,” said a senior Pakistani politician who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of alienating Mr. Sharif.

But Mr. Sharif has to play a delicate game because if he is seen as doing Washington’s bidding, he will be discredited among much of his constituency, the politician said.

And Mr. Sharif could also turn out to be unwilling to back some of the tough steps that Washington wants.

One encouraging sign for Washington was the role played in the crisis by the army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who let Mr. Zardari know that he could not rely on soldiers to confront the protesters who were threatening to descend on Islamabad to demand the return of Chief Justice Chaudhry.

“The military acted to avert, to correct and to clear the way for full democracy with the center of gravity where it should be — in Parliament and the people,” said Jehangir Karamat, a retired general and former Pakistani ambassador to Washington, in an article for Spearheadresearch.org, his Web site.

General Karamat called the new military approach the Kayani Model, after General Kayani, whom General Karamat is close to. During the crisis, the army chief had been “invisible but around, fully informed and acting through well-timed and effective influence in the right quarter,” General Karamat wrote.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/17/world/asia/17pstan.html?em

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Zardari says he was never against Justice Iftikhar

By Hamid Mir (The News, 17 March 2009)

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Zardari says he was only waiting for the retirement of Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar before restoring Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as the chief justice.

The president told this scribe on Monday evening: “I never said that I am against Justice Iftikhar. I was only waiting for the retirement of Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, who took oath as the chief justice in the Musharraf regime. Dogar will retire on March 21 and Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry will become the chief justice again in his place. I had made it clear on March 9, 2008 after signing the Murree Declaration that no sitting judge would be disturbed. I said it in the presence of Nawaz Sharif to the media and that was why I never disturbed Dogar.”

He said: “It was a small thing but this small thing exposed many big people.” Zardari was more concerned about some people from his own party who resigned from their ministries last week rather than his political brother Nawaz Sharif. He recited the verse of poet Khatir Ghaznawi: “Go zara si baat par barson kay yaraney gaey, Lekin itna to hua kuch log pehchaney gaey!”

President Zardari said a political crisis was over but Pakistan was still facing an economic crisis and terrorism. He is right. The political crisis is over but some big challenges are still there before the people of Pakistan.

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Winners and Losers?

In the words of General Jahangir Karamat:

The biggest folly would be to start identifying winners and losers. There were none. Everybody won. If the government had not acted at the outset to ensure security there may have been a tragic event as in the past. If it had not responded to the will of the people it would have led to violence. If it had not listened to the voice of reason it would have doomed democracy. In the end the government did what was best for the country and the people—that is what governments are there for.

Also read:

Deal or no deal? The real story of the Long March and the restoration of Iftikhar Chaudhry

Zahid F Ebrahim: Did Zardari get the last laugh?

How honest and objective is Pakistan’s media? A small comparison of Daily The News and The New York Times

Clinton’s warning on aid ended Pak crisis – officials