Original Articles

PPP is pro-establishment? A response to Najam Sethi’s editorial – by Fawad Manzoor

Related Post :

IJI for 2013

Fake criticism of military establishment

Aapas Ki Baat: ISI plays a major role in the Raymond Davis release

Najam Sethi’s liberal anarchy against politicians and democracy

LUBP archive on Najam Sethi

Mr. Liberal or Mr. US lackey whatever he has been known as, has often given election dates with the fall of PPP government. But now he has changed his cassette and has come up with a new line. Now in his presumptuous mind, PPP has become pro-establishment party. Well, Mr. Sethi good luck once again with your new thoughts. If PPP was pro-establishment party, it wouldn’t be getting banged by Judiciary day in and day out. And indeed, the ugly role that you played against Benazir Bhutto’s government in 1990s is really a proof that you are anti-establishment.  

Long Hot Summer – Najam Sethi

Source
President Asif Zardari is cosy with COAS General Ashfaq Kayani and DG-ISI Lt General Shuja Pasha. The former has been given a full three year second term and the latter has got a second one-year extension. GHQ has seized full charge of foreign policy. Does this mean that the PPP, historically an “anti-establishment” party, has now become a “pro-establishment” party?

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the leader of the PMLN opposition in parliament, has lashed out at the ISI, accusing it of degrading democracy, playing puppets and polluting polity. He says the ISI is “meddling in the political affairs of the country and going beyond legal boundaries… it is making and breaking political parties… funding specific parties to create a new political alliance”. He insists that the PMLN will not allow the army “to cross its limits”. Does this mean that the PMLN, historically a “pro-establishment” party, has now become an “anti-establishment” party?

The short answer to both questions is no, the PPP and PMLN are not unequivocally pro or anti-establishment parties; they are simply responding to the exigencies of political survival in a tilted civil-military paradigm in uncertain times.

In the beginning the PPP tried but failed to seize control of the ISI’s internal political wing. It then roped in Washington to insert some anti-military clauses in the Kerry-Lugar bill but had to retreat on that front too. Stung twice, President Zardari thought political opportunism the better part of political valour and meekly submitted to GHQ. Meanwhile, besieged by the newly independent judiciary – the second pillar of the establishment – he dug his heels in and vowed to resist its administrative encroachments with all his might.

Similarly, the PMLN, which is still smarting from the army’s misadventure in Kargil whose blame it had to shoulder, is now fuming at the ISI’s manipulation of the media and public opinion against the PMLN in the Raymond Davis case. It is also alarmed at the ISI’s attempt to prop up Imran Khan. Who else but the ISI could have arranged Imran Khan’s meetings with the two persons he is on record as hating the most, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf and the MQM’s Altaf Hussain? Who else but the ISI could be trying to mould the Tehreek-e-Insaf into an electoral party at the expense of the PMLN in Punjab? Who else but the ISI might be trying to cobble an electoral alliance of MQM, APML, TI, JI and JUI to field against the PMLN and PPP in time to come? Who else but the PPP and PMLN should know how such strings are pulled from behind the scenes by the ISI, the former for having been its victim and the latter a beneficiary at one time?

The relationship of the two mainstream parties to the judiciary is also instructive. The PPP is at the receiving end of the judges while the PMLN basks in their glory. But the truth is that if Nawaz Sharif had been in Asif Zardari’s shoes, given his track record, he would’ve been more belligerent and dogged in defying the Supreme Court.

Notwithstanding the exigencies of power politics, however, Mr Zardari’s PPP and Mr Sharif’s PMLN are inclined to shed some old identification tags. The new PPP is not a blend of hardline ideologues and opportunist pragmatists as it was in Benazir Bhutto’s time. It is choking with sub-nationalists and loyalists who think nothing of licking the boots of the military to cling to power. On the other side, Mr Sharif’s team has been shorn of perennial GHQ-evergreens like the Chaudhries of Gujrat, Mushahid Hussain, Pir Pagaro, while ISI-types like Brig Billa and Gen Hameed Gul have been banished, and outspoken advocates of civilian supremacy over the military like Pervez Rashid, Chaudhry Nisar, Saad Rafique, Tehmina Daulatana and Ahsan Iqbal unleashed to set the record straight. This has raised the alarm in GHQ and compelled the khakis to spread out their plans and begin their war games. One of their cards is Imran Khan.

Another significant factor is impinging on the developing scenario. This is the rise of an outspoken media and judiciary. Each seems determined to carve out a place for itself in the struggle for power. In the short term, both are covering each other’s flanks while jointly exhibiting anti-politician cynicism and pro-military tilts. In the longer term, however, both are likely to remain hostile to any direct military intervention. This explains why GHQ is content to work with the PPP at arms length, stay close to the judiciary without succumbing to its anti-PPP pressure, retain the support of the media on national security issues and refrain from baiting the PMLN too directly or aggressively.

But this fragile equilibrium is not likely to last beyond the year. US-Pak relations are rapidly deteriorating, tugging Pakistan’s polity and economy into the eye of a gathering storm. The PPP’s governance is crumbling. The military is weighing its domestic and foreign policy options. The SC is circling its PPP prey. The PMLN is girding its loins for an electoral heave-ho. The media is itching to spring into action, all cameras homing in. And every manner of terrorist and extremist is working overtime to create anarchy, confrontation and civil strife. It is going to be a long, hot summer.

About the author

Humza Ikram

9 Comments

Click here to post a comment
  • Wait so then why again did the President and the civilian government give him the highest civilian award in Pakistan?

  • @Furqan R Ahmed

    The answer is quite simple, because he always demonstrates that he possesses extraordinary skills of black mailing and crafting good conspiracy theories, so therefore granted the title of ‘pride of performance’. The Jang Group has seen such qualities in him and thus decided to hire him. Also Thanks to Mr. Kyani for his selection.

  • how can one refuse when Prime minister told nation himself On the recored told the nation that PPP Government is Pr Establishment here is the PM statement attached published in majority national media as see bellow

    Pakistan Observer

    Monday, April 18, 2011, Jamadi-ul-Awal 14, 1432

    PPP Govt dons pro-establishment robe
    No meeting with Dr Singh; BB murder probe not to be enlarged: Gilani

    (On Board Pm Plane)—Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has said that for the first time in the history of Pakistan, the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is pro-Establishment, and there is a complete understanding and working relationship between the President and the Prime Minister.Talking to a delegation of media persons including the INP correspondent in his plane while going to Bhutan to attend 16th SAARC Summit, Prime Minister Gilani categorically denied any threat to his government from the judiciary and added that scope of the investigation into the Benazir Bhutto’s murder would be expanded in the light of the recommendations that would be submitted by the committee constituted to probe washing of the crime scene of the PPP’s late chairperson’s assassination. To a query, the Prime Minister said there is no meeting scheduled between him and the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. He said that the courts would determine the responsibles involved in assassination of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto when all the evidence regarding her murder would be produced before the courts. However, the Prime Minister avoided to reply when asked that some disgruntled leaders of the party are accusing two federal ministers for their alleged involvement in the Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. Prime Minister Gilani said that he is proud of the nation after passage of 18th Amendment and added that all the political forces demonstrated their political maturity and took decisions rising above their party’s interests. Replying a question by the INP on Hazara province issue, Premier Gilani said he knew that the people had expressed their reservations on the name of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, however, talks would be initiated soon to resolve the issue. The Prime Minister said that he had approached PML-N Quaid Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman on the issue of formation of judicial and parliamentary commission under the 18th Amendment, the process of consultation with other political leaders including PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan would be completed soon, he vowed. Mr. Gilani said that some people are misleading the common people on different issues. He urged the people to exercise restraint and observe patience as all the other issues like electricity crisis, gas, unemployment, price hike would be resolved soon like some major constitutional issue were resolved with mutual consensus. To a question, he said that the United States has assured cooperation on civil nuclear technology to Pakistan for resolving prevailing energy crisis. He said that all the decisions were being taken under mutual consultation with al the provinces. The Prime Minister said that scores of projects including Rental Power Projects are in the pipeline to resolve the energy crisis. He said there is a exemplary political stability in the country. On a question about India Pakistan relations, Premier Gilani said that all channels including the frontline and backdoor channels are being utilized to normalize relations between Pakistan and India. He also admitted that Saudi Arabia was also playing a key role in bringing normalcy between Pak-India ties. Replying another question, the Prime Minister Gilani said that he would suggest a number of proposals for turning the SAARC a more effective forum. He said there would be no confrontation even if 19th Amendment is tabled in the parliament to streamline the national issues. On a query about Siraiki Province, the Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said he is not against making Siraiki province, however, he is in difference with the timing of raising such demands that could destabilize the country. The Prime Minister indicated the there would be reshuffle in the federal cabinet after fiscal budget for the year 2010-2011.—INP

  • Your joking right? There has to be a reason why he’s been getting it for the last two consecutive years. Maybe they like his healthy criticism. Also if Mr.Kayani is to be thanked for his selection, is he also responsible for the selection of the rest of the award winners?

  • how can one refuse when Prime Minister told nation himself On the recored that PPP Government is Pr Establishment here is the PM statement attached published in majority national media as see bellow

    Pakistan Observer

    Monday, April 18, 2011, Jamadi-ul-Awal 14, 1432

    PPP Govt dons pro-establishment robe
    No meeting with Dr Singh; BB murder probe not to be enlarged: Gilani

    (On Board Pm Plane)—Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has said that for the first time in the history of Pakistan, the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is pro-Establishment, and there is a complete understanding and working relationship between the President and the Prime Minister.Talking to a delegation of media persons including the INP correspondent in his plane while going to Bhutan to attend 16th SAARC Summit, Prime Minister Gilani categorically denied any threat to his government from the judiciary and added that scope of the investigation into the Benazir Bhutto’s murder would be expanded in the light of the recommendations that would be submitted by the committee constituted to probe washing of the crime scene of the PPP’s late chairperson’s assassination. To a query, the Prime Minister said there is no meeting scheduled between him and the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. He said that the courts would determine the responsibles involved in assassination of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto when all the evidence regarding her murder would be produced before the courts. However, the Prime Minister avoided to reply when asked that some disgruntled leaders of the party are accusing two federal ministers for their alleged involvement in the Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. Prime Minister Gilani said that he is proud of the nation after passage of 18th Amendment and added that all the political forces demonstrated their political maturity and took decisions rising above their party’s interests. Replying a question by the INP on Hazara province issue, Premier Gilani said he knew that the people had expressed their reservations on the name of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, however, talks would be initiated soon to resolve the issue. The Prime Minister said that he had approached PML-N Quaid Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman on the issue of formation of judicial and parliamentary commission under the 18th Amendment, the process of consultation with other political leaders including PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan would be completed soon, he vowed. Mr. Gilani said that some people are misleading the common people on different issues. He urged the people to exercise restraint and observe patience as all the other issues like electricity crisis, gas, unemployment, price hike would be resolved soon like some major constitutional issue were resolved with mutual consensus. To a question, he said that the United States has assured cooperation on civil nuclear technology to Pakistan for resolving prevailing energy crisis. He said that all the decisions were being taken under mutual consultation with al the provinces. The Prime Minister said that scores of projects including Rental Power Projects are in the pipeline to resolve the energy crisis. He said there is a exemplary political stability in the country. On a question about India Pakistan relations, Premier Gilani said that all channels including the frontline and backdoor channels are being utilized to normalize relations between Pakistan and India. He also admitted that Saudi Arabia was also playing a key role in bringing normalcy between Pak-India ties. Replying another question, the Prime Minister Gilani said that he would suggest a number of proposals for turning the SAARC a more effective forum. He said there would be no confrontation even if 19th Amendment is tabled in the parliament to streamline the national issues. On a query about Siraiki Province, the Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said he is not against making Siraiki province, however, he is in difference with the timing of raising such demands that could destabilize the country. The Prime Minister indicated the there would be reshuffle in the federal cabinet after fiscal budget for the year 2010-2011.—INP

  • The President has a terminology of “political actor” for such jokers at the Tv screen. He is being awarded in this category for his best acting skills posing as Political analyst.

  • @Ali Arqam
    Sir, you are right, so-called liberal Najam Sethi and Sohail Ahmed aka Azizi both awarded in the same catagory

  • Hi there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find
    a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as
    yours and I’m having difficulty finding one?
    Thanks a lot!