Original Articles

Mian Nawaz Sharif and Chanakya politics – by Faizi Mughal

It is a natural rule that facts can never be concealed. At one stage or the other, truth is unveiled how deep you bury that. The same rule is working for PML-N also and despite several masks of piety PML-N failed to conceal its real face.

The true face of PML-N was first time clearly revealed when whole country was abuzz with the story of Rana Sanullah’s hobnobbing with terrorist banned outfit. The begging of mercy from Taliban and plea to spare Punjab by Mian Nawaz Sharif, proved last nail in the coffin of PML-N. It was a sudden death for PML-N that has, successfully, veiled its real face under the cover of democracy for over 30 years.  It went on looting in the name of democracy and so-called politics of principles. In one sense PML-N is right that it is playing politics of principles, set by their god-father, General Zia-ul-Haq.

In the recent development, the virtual U-turn of PML-N at the eleventh hour when packaged was ready to be tabled is another demonstration of politics of principles, PML-N often claims to play. It is worth mentioning that some key members of his own party went on record in admitting that everything was settled and there was no hurdle in placing the package for approval. The only lame excuse given by Mian Sahib was that a consensus be made before presenting this package in the parliament. Could Mian Sahib answer what sort of consensus he wants?. I think he might have reached on consensus if he had passed some time in Pakistan and learnt some thing from true democratic leaders. However it is not his fault, a party rooted out from dictatorship, could never be democratic no matter how long it uses the shade of democracy. However, what happened in the last few days would certainly help people to categorize between relics of dictator, right wing of extremists and a genuine Democratic Party.

Some sources said Sharif’s change of stance was at the behest of some quarters, and the PML-N chief adhered to “some phone calls” he received just before his press conference. There is a big question mark? Who is pulling strings of PML-N chief? Do the same entities, which Khadm-e-Aala plead to spare Punjab? Or the forces that always hindered Pakistan people’s party, the notorious establishment. One string of PML-N is also adhered with God fathers of judiciary and it might be he was directed by the so-called symbol of big “ J” to hold his horses.

The whole situation, reminds me the propaganda by PML-N and some Churnalists, when President Zardari was blamed for reneging from his promises. However, Zardari either pledged or not, fulfilled his commitment but what clarification could be given on the part of PML-N that betrayed from constitution. Why today, media is hushed, Is it not a big crime to negate constitution?. Just observe dual role of our media.

The evolving situation is hinting towards another natural phenomenon, that frequent mistakes lead towards natural death and PML-N is leading towards its logical conclusion.

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  • Stupidity of Nawaz Sharif as per Jang Group of Newspapers.

    Zardari’s speech that never was Saturday, March 27, 2010 By our correspondent

    http://thenews.jang.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=27999

    ISLAMABAD: President Asif Zardari was all set to deliver the speech before a joint sitting on Friday to take the lead in announcing the omission of Article 58(2)b, empowering the president to dissolve the National Assembly. The draft of the speech (available with The News) nullifies the rumours that the president may have been reluctant to give away his power to dissolve the Assembly. Sources say that the president did not even interfere in the affairs of the constitutional committee leaving its head Senator Raza Rabbani absolutely independent in deciding things. The withdrawal of the Nawaz League from the joint tabling of the historic reform package came as a shocker to the Presidency. The president had particularly mentioned in his unread speech that the amendments would make the Constitution truly democratic and federal in character, and restore the provincial rights and Parliamentary sovereignty. He was also set to announce the repeal of the Legal Framework Order and the Seventeenth Amendment.

    The relevant exact portions are being reproduced below: “It is an honour for me, to share with this sovereign House, the policies and performance of the government. I wish to thank you for the honour shown to me. “As a democrat, I never take my privileges for granted. This is no ordinary day. It is a great day in our history. Because today we have fulfilled our pledges to the people. Because today marks the success of a prolonged struggle initiated by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed. “We have collectively written history by restoring the 1973 Constitution, and more. The Eighteenth Constitutional Amendment Bill has been laid in parliament before you. I pause to congratulate each one of you. Today belongs to every Pakistani. I congratulate the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms, I congratulate the Parliament, the political parties and indeed the whole nation, on the laying of this bill on the occasion of the 71st Pakistan Day.” “I congratulate all the coalition partners and the opposition parties for joining hands in true national spirit. They all have risen above partisan politics. It is a dream come true. It is a promise redeemed. I wish to thank the Law Minister Dr Babar Awan and the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs for extending full cooperation to the parliamentary committee, led by the honourable Raza Rabbani, adviser to the prime minister. “Two years ago standing here I had urged the Parliament to revisit the 17th Amendment and do away with Article 58(2)b from the Constitution. And last year, repeating the request, I also urged you Madam Speaker to form an All Parties Committee for this purpose. History will record that it was achieved when the first woman speaker in the Muslim World presided over this august House.

    “I stand here today in the shadow of Shaheed ZAB and Shaheed MBB. I walked from the gallows to the Presidency in this shadow and today I walk into the annals of history.“Congratulations Madam Speaker. We have reasons to be proud. It is the first major Constitutional reform in more than three decades. Previously, there were piecemeal constitutional amendments, but these were brought about by dictators, only to perpetuate their personal political interests, and NOT for the cause of the people. “This indeed is a great achievement of the democratic process that has begun to take root. The amendments will make the Constitution truly democratic and federal in character, and restore provincial rights and Parliamentary sovereignty. “The Legal Framework Order and the Seventeenth Amendment has been repealed, subject to amendments. Article 58(2)b empowering the president to dissolve the Assembly will stand omitted.”

  • Betrayal of Nawaz Sharif & Frustration of Ansar Abbasi???

    Saturday, March 27, 2010, Rabi-us-Sani 10, 1431 A.H
    http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/mar2010-daily/27-03-2010/main2.htm

    Nawaz will have to backtrack to avoid brickbats By Ansar Abbas Saturday, March 27, 2010
    Comment http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=28002

    ISLAMABAD: Nawaz Sharif has started receiving all the brickbats for which he has to squarely blame himself. He was not upfront on Thursday as he normally appears. He should have admitted loudly that it was actually the Pakhtoonkhwa issue that provoked him to harp on something unbelievable. Nobody, not even his own party leaders, is willing to buy the justifications that their boss offered at his press talk. These were totally unconvincing even to discerning souls. And on Friday Ishaq Dar, who is a member of the Rabbani Committee, is reported to have admitted that the real bone of contention was the renaming of the NWFP and not the recommended formation of the judicial commission for the appointment of judges in the superior judiciary.

    Today, Nawaz Sharif stands singled out politically and that too on a popular issue of correcting the disfigured Constitution. Not even a solitary political party shares his stand. He has never faced such isolation in the recent past. On the contrary, all the parliamentary groups, by and large, stand with the government in the sense that all of them back the proposed 18th Amendment. By supporting the package, they in fact are honouring their commitment that they demonstrated during the deliberations of the Raza Rabbani Committee. President Asif Ali Zardari must be excited with joy and excitement over seeing Nawaz Sharif pushed in a corner. As the situation has built up and the PML-N chief pushed in an embarrassing situation, he will have to review his stand that he took at his press conference without any delay or he would earn more flak in the days to come.

    He would be held as the sole person responsible if at the end of the day the good work done by the Rabbani Committee, including his own nominees, was consigned to the dustbin. He has to rise above petty political expediencies. The PML-N’s U-turn on the constitutional package is simply incomprehensible and is in bad taste too. The PML-N chief referred to the recommended procedure for the appointment of judges as the main point of disagreement which is simply unbelievable. The whole world knows that it was a settled issue as far as the constitutional committee was concerned but still Sharif opted to take refuge behind it to shy away from the real bone of contention — the renaming of the Frontier province. It would be in the greater interest of Pakistan if Mian Sahib backtracks what he said on Thursday, sits with Asfandyar Wali and settles the issue of renaming the NWFP, and should not press for any informal consultations with the Chief Justice of Pakistan on an issue that is the property of parliament.

  • Somersault and Betrayal of Nawaz Sharif and PML-N.

    Friday, March 26, 2010, Rabi-us-Sani 09, 1431 A.H
    http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/mar2010-daily/26-03-2010/main.htm

    Gilani gets a taste of Nawaz’s rock-shock politics

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=27985

    Friday, March 26, 2010

    By Rauf Klasra

    ISLAMABAD: The PML-N leaders are said to have conveniently let down Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday as he had signed two official summaries — first to officially invite President Asif Zardari to address the joint sitting of Parliament and secondly to lay the 18th Amendment draft — after duly consulting the Nawaz camp about the official business of the National Assembly today (Friday).

    Prime Minister Gilani was said to have been caught off guard when he came to know about the decision of the PML-N to back out from its earlier commitment given to him that its leaders were fully satisfied with the outcome of the almost year-long deliberations of the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms (PCCR).

    One source commented that so far this was believed that the prime minister was perhaps using top leaders of the PML-N whenever there was any political crisis in Islamabad to bail out President Zardari and his own government. But, this time the PML-N leaders seemed to have settled all the previous scores by giving Prime Minister Gilani a “surprise” by refusing to back these reforms in the House at the eleventh hour. After the dramatic somersault by the PML-N leaders, the Law Ministry was said to have hurriedly changed the official business for todayís (Fridayís) sitting as now a new date will be announced for the tabling of the bill followed by address of Asif Zardari.

    Giving inside information, the sources said, actually one top leader of the PML-N who was also member of the PCCR had created this whole mess as he had given his consent to the government to summon the joint session today (Friday) so as the constitutional package could be tabled followed by the address of President Zardari. After getting satisfied with the response of the PML-N camp, Prime Minister Gilani informed President Zardari to get ready to address the Parliament today (Friday).

    The sources said this was also the idea of members of the PML-N to call the final meeting of the constitutional committee on Thursday evening in the Parliament House to sign the constitutional reform document so as no party could back out from the agreed changes in the clauses. But, the sources said, to much surprise of members of the committee, Senator Ishaq Dar representing the PML-N in the committee did not turn up for the meeting. These members were said to have smelled something foul in the meeting when they were informed that Dar would not be available to sign the document.

    The sources said the mystery behind the absence of Dar was soon resolved when news television channels started live coverage of extraordinary press conference by Nawaz Sharif.

    The sources said, Prime Minister Gilani had been accommodating the concerns of the PML-N at every stage and had even played a major role in convincing President Zardari to implement the Charter of Democracy (CoD) and shift his sweeping powers to the prime minister. These sources said unlike the public perception that Zardari would not give up his powers, he had ultimately agreed to hand over his powers to appoint chief of army staff to his own hand-picked prime minister. But, the sources said, this time government was in a serious mood to table the constitutional bill in the House today (Friday) to put an end to long controversy, when suddenly it was revealed that this time none other than the PML-N leaders themselves were not ready to back those proposals on laughable excuses. The sources said the new stance of Nawaz about process of judges’ appointment did not carry weight particularly when Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry during a course of hearing of one case the other day had appreciated the idea of parliamentary commission to evaluate and confirm the appointment of judges in the light of recommendation of judicial commission headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan himself. One source said the irony was that in the last one year the PML-N never missed a chance to blast Asif Zardari for applying delaying tactics to finalise the constitutional bill. But, when the time came to table these reforms in the House after a general consensus among all the parties, it was revealed that this time the PML-N leaders were not serious in bringing about much talked reforms in the constitution for some “unknown reasons” trigging new speculation about their intentions.

    Nawaz about-face stalls constitutional reform By Amir Wasim Friday, 26 Mar, 2010
    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/nawaz-aboutface-stalls-constitutional-reform-630

  • Which foreign player threw spanner in the works?’ Saturday, March 27, 2010 By Rauf Klasra http://thenews.jang.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=28001

    ISLAMABAD: The foreign minister of a European country is said to have quietly played a role in delaying the tabling of the 18th Amendment in Parliament, fearing that the proposed “demolition” of the office of the president through these sweeping changes might not be good news for all the stakeholders of the state.

    One credible source has revealed that apart from this overseas intervention, which immediately halted the otherwise smooth proceeding, the military establishment too was not happy with the unprecedented autonomy being given to the provinces in the new constitutional package as it sent alarm bells ringing within the ranks of powerful establishment for some obvious reasons.

    One top source claimed that the controversy over the mode of appointment of judges, seen as the main reason behind the PML-N’s sudden U-turn, was just an eyewash. He said every member of the parliamentary committee knew very well that the PML-N had completely agreed to this mode of appointment of judges as even Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary had appreciated this new system and the media had carried his remarks the same day when Nawaz Sharif blocked the move to table the bill in the house. The sources said this issue was used to cover the real story behind this dramatic shift in the mind of top guns of the PML-N.

    Giving inside information, one source revealed that the foreign minister of a European country made telephone calls to some politicians in Pakistan, urging them not to show haste in passing this constitutional package, as there were some reservations in the minds of certain players, which should be discussed and addressed before giving the package a final shape. The foreign minister was of the opinion that the office of the president was a sort of balancing factor between the military and the civilian leadership in a country like Pakistan. The concentration of massive powers even in the hands of a democratically elected prime minister would not be a wise decision at this stage. It was argued that in the past, the country had seen some unpleasant events because of power imbalance, which led to the imposition of military rule.

    The sources said the office of the president was being reduced to such a shocking level through these amendments that now he would be required to first seek approval of his foreign trips from the prime minister. Likewise, the prime minister would be asked to give approval to run the kitchen of the Presidency. The sources said traditionally the military establishment had felt comfortable with the president enjoying powers to dissolve the National Assembly and make appointment of the service chiefs. To prove the point how the military dealt with prime ministers with such powers, the source said the first time these sweeping powers were vested in Zulifkar Ali Bhutto under the 1973 Constitution, he was hanged by the military. Then Nawaz Sharif got the same powers in 1997 when he tried to become Amirul Momineen, he was sent into exile. On the other hand, the military never felt any threat from the political prime ministers when these powers were in the hands of the president, as we saw in the case of Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Farooq Leghari, whom the Army backed against elected prime ministers.

    The sources said in this background, there were certain fears in the minds of some key players that though PM Gilani might not become an autocrat but who would guarantee that Nawaz Sharif, if he became the prime minister for the third time, would not try to repeat his performance of October 12, 1999.

    Likewise, the source said, the military was not happy with the extraordinary level of provincial autonomy being offered to the provinces as, in some cases, they were being allowed to frame their own laws without seeking any advice from the Federation. The sources said the military still was in favour of a strong federal role in the affairs of the provinces in the given situation as it always suited its strategic interests. The rising wave of nationalism in Balochistan was a serious cause of worry for the military establishment and it was still not in a mood to allow the nationalist forces to play a dominant role in the provinces. Likewise, the establishment feared rise of nationalism in the NWFP after renaming of the province. All these factors were on the minds of those who were quietly trying to get this bill either delayed or changed to suit their interests.

  • Political parties stunned by PML-N stand on 18th amendment Friday, March 26, 2010
    Tauseef-ur-Rahman http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=231021

    PESHAWAR: Stand taken by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on the 18th Amendment here Thursday astonished other political parties as they termed the shift as Punjab’s wish of not giving provincial autonomy to the smaller federating units.

    Haji Mohammad Adeel, senior vice-president of the Awami National Party (ANP) told The News that Nawaz Sharif had done injustice to the country, particularly smaller provinces. He said it showed the Punjab was not in favour of giving provincial autonomy to smaller federating units.

    Adeel, who is representing the ANP in constitutional reforms committee, said the PML-N members had agreed on the appointment of judges. “The number of judges was increased on request of the PML-N members in the committee,” he said and questioned what were other proposals on the appointment of judges.

    “The senior most judge will become chief justice while for appointment of other judges a judicial commission and a parliamentary committee will be set up,” he said, adding that there was no role of an individual in these appointments.

    The ANP leader said the decision of the PML-N had annoyed the people of smaller provinces as they considered it a move by the Punjab to halt the process of providing provincial autonomy to the smaller units.

    Haji Adeel said the PML-N did not expect that President Asif Ali Zardari would relinquish his powers, but when he showed his willingness for that the PML-N tried to sabotage the process. The PML-N did not want PPP to take credit for the historic 18th Amendment, he added.

    Pakistan People’s Party-Sherpao Chairman Aftab Sherpao while reacting to the decision of PML-N said: “Announcement by Mian Nawaz Sharif had shocked all.” He added that in the constitutional reforms committee, the nominees of the PML-N had agreed to the appointment of judges.

    “Everything was settled but the only issue left was the renaming of the NWFP,” he said, adding that the PML-N members told the committee that by 2 o’clock on Thursday a consensus on the renaming would also be evolved.

    Sherpao said the proposed amendments were a big leap forward and the political parties of the smaller provinces were expecting a lot from the 18th Amendment. However, he said the PML-N decision had disappointed all of them.

    Abdul Akbar Khan, parliamentary leader of the PPP in NWFP Assembly, told The News that the announcement of Nawaz Sharif was astonishing for the people. “The PML-N had nominees on the constitutional reforms committee and they must have taken their party chief on board before agreeing on the appointment of judges,” he said. He termed the PML-N decision as undemocratic as it created a deadlock over the issue, which was not in the interest of the country.

    Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, central secretary general of the PML-N, said that the party had already informed the committee that the superior judiciary should be taken on board on the issue of appointment of judges.

    The PML-N leader denied that the committee had reached any consensus on the appointment of judges. He said it was a very important issue and needed to be addressed properly as they did not want to leave any loopholes. He said that for repeal of the 17th Amendment nobody would be more sincere than Nawaz Sharif.

    To a question on the renaming of NWFP, he said the party had had long deliberations on the issue and finally agreed on Abaseen-Afghania or Khyber-Afghania. “Now the senior leadership of our party will take up the issue with ANP,” he said.

  • The plot thickens POSTED BY SHYEMA ON 03 27TH, 2010 |
    http://blog.dawn.com/2010/03/27/the-plot-thickens/

    Just when it seemed finally we may be getting somewhere, Nawaz Sharif decided nope, not yet – this saga needs another twist. And what great timing he had! With this plot in mind, just before the constitutional amendment bill was supposed to be signed, the PML-N chief backtracked on the party’s stance on the judge’s appointment issue and renaming of the NWFP.

    Where President Zardari can easily be criticised and constantly labeled as corrupt, here he would have come out the president under whom accomplishments such as an NFC award and Gilgit-Baltistan autonomy took place. The constitutional amendment package could have had a happy conclusion too if Sharif hadn’t thrown a fit last minute. By not supporting this amendment, he has automatically made himself the antagonist who some may feel is not happy about PPP taking credit for this historic bill. Among all the other not-so-great things Nawaz Sharif might be known for, now he is the leader of the party due to which the journey towards a major triumph has been stalled. Some might even ask if his perpetual criticism of Zardari is even legit now that he is the one who is coming between the movement towards progress.

    PML-N may have not expected Zardari would get rid off his powers, but since things didn’t go according to plan, Sharif perhaps panicked – one less thing for him to complain about during his press conferences.

    And the amount of fuss being thrown by Sharif’s party over renaming the NWFP makes it seem as if Punjab is being renamed! Will renaming the province “Pakhtoonkhwa” really wipe out the party in the province, as Sharif fears? Either way, Sharif is not ready to back down on this one and insists that the leadership should wait for consensus, even if it takes time. Taking too much time, however, may have other implications.

    The number of judges was increased by requests made by the PML-N but oh wait, the “mechanism” agreed for the judges’ appointment was unacceptable. The reforms package was finalised only after complete consensus so can the committee chairman Raza Rabbani really be blamed for being extremely frustrated? Can we really be blamed for having a lack of faith in certain indecisive leaders bent on ruling a nation that is aching for some sort of consistency and stability?

    Shyema Sajjad is a Desk Editor at Dawn.com

  • The PML-N initially sought the inclusion of a retired judge in the judicial commission on the appointment of judges – a demand that was incorporated in the reforms committee’s recommendations. However, Nawaz simply refused to accept the composition of the commission on Thursday, saying his party had “certain reservations” over the mechanism.

    While Nawaz addressed a press conference on Saturday in an apparent bid to clarify his party’s stance, the former prime minister failed to elaborate his party’s reservations by contradicting his own stance.

    Nawaz mixed up two separate forums – the Pakistan Bar Council and the Supreme Court Bar Association – while failing to specify the forum he was seeking representation for in the proposed judicial commission. The PML-N chief said a single person should not be given absolute authority, but contradicted his own stance by saying the authority to nominate a retired judge must rest with the chief justice of Pakistan.

    Nawaz also demanded the exclusion of the law minister from the commission, but backed the inclusion of the attorney general – which is also against the principle of impartiality. Ahsan Iqbal, information secretary of the PML-N, told Daily Times his party wanted the spirit of the Charter of Democracy to prevail in the matter and accommodate demands put forward by lawyers’ bodies.

    He said while the reforms committee had proposed that the PBC may put forward a nomination for the judicial commission headed by the chief justice, “the PML-N says that instead of keeping it opened-ended, the vice chairman of the PBC be made a member of commission”. He said his party was also seeking the inclusion of the Supreme Court Bar Association president in the commission. “The PML-N also wants a retired judge to be part of the judicial commission… the appointment should either be made by the chief justice or it should be at the discretion of the chief justice and two senior-most judges of the Supreme Court… the PML-N also wants to include the presidents of the high court bar associations in the judicial commissions on appointments to high courts.”

    http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20103\28\story_28-3-2010_pg1_6