Original Articles

Nawaz Sharif, a true heir of General Ziaul Haq – by Junaid Qaiser

Mian Nawaz Sharif has, throughout his political career, by and large shown little respect for constitution, parliament and democratic norms and traditions. Because of these ‘virtues’ (lack of respect towards constitution, parliament and democracy), the nation always regarded him as a true heir of General Zia-ul-Haq.

Nawaz Sharif has once again proved through his latest actions and activities designed by the establishment that the traditional perception about him is right; that he is a real heir of General Ziaul Haq. Now it’s obvious that Punjab based PML-N’s gang leader is a biggest threat to democracy and federation, as he is not ready to accommodate smaller provinces’ demands, wishes and concerns.

Once Mian Nawaz Sharif’s political father stated that:

“What is the Constitution? It is a booklet with 10 or 12 pages. I can tear them up and say that from tomorrow we shall live under a different system. Is there anybody to stop me? Today, the people follow wherever I lead. All the politicians, including the once-mighty Mr. (Zulfiqar Ali) Bhutto, will follow me with their tails wagging. But is that good for the country? No, I have no political ambition personally”
(Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, quoted in Working with Zia by General (retd) K.M. Arif.)

Today, Pakistan is standing at a critical juncture of the history and its future is very much dependent on the success of ongoing democratic order. It seems that through the 18th constitutional amendment, the country is moving towards a new constitutional framework. To some extent parliament is going to develop new social contract. However, due to his strong connection with undemocratic forces, Mian Nawaz Sharif, the establishment’s blue-eyed uncle, is resisting the removal of General Zia’s doctrine from the constitution.

Speaker Sindh Assembly Nisar Khuhro said Nawaz Sharif exposed his desire to derail the democratic reform in Pakistan with his last minute U-turn on the 18th amendment. Whole nation slam Sharif’s love for establishment and hidden forces.PMLN even betrayed its voters, during election campaign PMLN promised that after winning election, it will work for the supremacy of parliament and strengthened federation but now PMLN is once again standing with establishment. When its gang leader talked about the implementation of charter of democracy and removal of 17th amendment, his basic issue is to curtail the powers of elected civilian president. Whole nation witnessed that he always ignored other fundamental principles set in charter of democracy.

The power hungry Nawaz Sharif is just focusing on mid term polls or early elections. during recent “secret dates” Powerful lobbies ensured PMLN leadership that despite losing support in masses, PML-N will win Punjab and it’s rule will continue in big province. Powerful lobbies recently helped PMLN to win by polls. So there fore Mian Nawaz Sharif is not showing any interest, seriousness and responsibility in present political system, parliament and its proceedings.

The NA session was summoned by the government to fulfill its promise of restoration of 1973 constitution before the start of new parliamentary year. The session was summoned to make it clear that the government is sincere to bring the constitutional amendment bill in the parliament so that no body can say that the government is not fulfilling its promises made with the nation. The PPP is sincerely committed to continue the reconciliation process for strengthening democracy in the country, restore the 1973 Constitution according to its democratic, federal spirit and strengthen the constitutional framework.

The last minute U-turn by Nawaz Sharif over the proposed 18th Constitutional Amendment package has added to the troubles surrounding country’s politics, with democratic forces criticizing the PML-N (and especially its chief boss) over its sudden change in stance. Some authentic reports suggest that Sharifs 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.

Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira said: The nation has been disturbed by the sudden apprehensions raised by the PML-N about the constitutional reforms package. The Constitutional Reforms Committee had already reached a consensus on all issues, including the renaming of the NWFP as Pakhtoonkhwa, and expressed hope that Sharif would reconsider his strategy. Even (PML-Q) has also blasted Sharif, senior PML-Q leader and old friend of Mian Nawaz Sharif Kamil Ali Agha said when there is lack of vision among the leadership of a party than such U-turns and decisions could be expected, it was expecting the former Prime Minister to backtrack.

Mian Nawaz Sharif sahib, whole nation is requesting you to leave your political legacy aside and make your personal interests subservient to those of democratic institutions, and work for the success of democracy.

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  • The changing politics of Nawaz Sharif Saturday, March 27, 2010 By By Amir Mateen
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=231169

    ISLAMABAD: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s slip of the tongue about requesting the Taliban to spare the Punjab may have triggered graver concerns as to the inner thinking of the party supposedly in waiting to hold power in Islamabad. The changing style of Nawaz Sharif’s cult politics, the pointed-top organisational pyramid and his party’s ambivalent position on crucial issues like the growing religious militancy and terrorism, the security paradigm, economic revival, and stance towards the US, India and Afghanistan necessitates more explanations than are available from the second biggest party of Pakistan.

    The PML-N offers a vague one-size-fits-all policy on most issues. The idea is to keep the mainstream swing voters in a flux and show the real teeth once the levers of power are in control. The same strategy is in practice within the party where nobody knows who is going to do what in a future power set-up. A deliberate chaos has been created where all PML-N leaders are saying all things to all people. The real position, if there is one, is only known to Nawaz Sharif.

    The party is likely to perform better than its earlier governments, if their hopes of returning to power in Islamabad materialize, or definitely better than the PPP government. But the PML-N is far short of the nirvana its sympathisers are hoping it to deliver.

    The PML-N, to be fair, has fought a historic fight and bounced back from a near oblivion to stake its claim for a third round of power in Islamabad. It seems to have learnt a few lessons this time around. There has not been a major corruption scandal against the party. The PML-N seems to have developed respect for public opinion as shown in the case of supporting the judiciary movement and also by sacking elected members when found on a wrong foot. It has supported a democratic continuity and has refrained from becoming a tool in the hands of the establishment to dislodge the PPP government in the Centre — even after the provocative dissolution of their government in the Punjab. The party took a firm stance against the Army’s involvement in politics and did not fall in line to please the Americans overly.

    Nawaz Sharif stands taller as a political leader with his closest rivals, after Benazir’s assassination, placed at a distant second position. He has the longest tenure in power than Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and even dictators Ayub, Zia and Musharraf. In his 27-year political career, he has been in power for 13 years — two years as Punjab minister, five years as Punjab chief minister and almost six years as twice prime minister.

    Yet we still don’t know enough about him. What are his habits; his likes and dislikes? What does he read, if at all he does? There is more emphasis on his food habits than his mental and intellectual growth, particularly after his return from exile. What are his perceptions about the rapidly changing Pakistan and the world around him?

    All we know is that Nawaz Sharif has been sucked into alarmingly dynastic politics of his family, his Kashmiri clan and few loyalists. The involvement of his family in politics and decision-making continues to grow.

    First, it was just Nawaz Sharif. Then brother Shahbaz Sharif came along followed by Abbas Sharif, who did a stint as member of the National Assembly. There was always some issue about their late father Mian Sharif’s role as a guide from the back seat. Nawaz Sharif’s exile created a situation where his wife Kalsoom had to enter politics and exposed the next generation of the Sharifs to politics. Nawaz Sharif’s eldest Hussain was put in jail and younger Hassan had to travel all over the world for seeking help for the family.

    The two brothers are out of active politics but son-in-law Safdar has entered the arena with an extra vigour. Shahbaz Sharif’s son Hamza learnt the ropes of politics through tough times in jail and has since joined active politics. His younger brother Salman is also politically ambitious and wants to join this charade of family grandees. Shahbaz Sharif’s third wife Tehmina Durrani, an author and an able person in her own right, is believed to be quite an influence on his political thinking. Ishaq Dar is also in the family after his son got married to Nawaz Sharif’s daughter.

    If this jigsaw of family tree in politics was not enough, the involvement of the larger Kashmiri clan makes it more complicated. Kashmiris, they say, have a common grandmother. This web of distant relatives commands much more power than earlier, particularly in the central Punjab. MNA Khawaja Saad Rafiq is handy as a helping hand to manage Lahore and so are his MPA wife Asma and MPA brother Salman. Another Kashmiri Khawaja Ehsan is prominent all around and so are Sohail Zia Butt and his MNA son Omer in Lahore. Ghulam Dastgir and his MNA son Khurram oversee Gujranwala; Sher Ali and his MNA son Abid control Faisalabad, while Khawaja Asif is the ultimate authority in the affairs related to Sialkot — and much beyond.

    It is widely believed in Lahore that if your name has a suffix of Kashmiri castes like Butt, Mir, Lone, Khawaja, Dar or Banday, you have a better chance of your grievance being addressed. The joke around town is that, like the clannish Chaudharies of Gujrat who tried to envision ‘Jattistan,’ the new move is to create the Islamic Republic of Butt-istan.

    In the earlier PML phase, most political heavyweights like Gohar Ayub, Ejazul Haq, Majid Malik, Sheikh Rashid, Chaudhary Shujaat had grown in politics together with Nawaz Sharif. They had the collective weight to exercise more participation in decision-making. The crucial decision-making in the new PML-N is confined to a small number of close family members. The only outsiders with some weight are Chaudhary Nisar, Ahsan Iqbal and Pervaiz Rashid. All three of them have learnt the ways to survive in the dominant Kashmiri culture where food is discussed more than foreign policy.

    Others like Raja Zafarul Haq, Zulfiqar Khosa, Tehmina Daultana, Mehtab Abbasi, Ghous Ali Shah are given lots of respect but this is more ceremonial than concrete. Everybody knows that Javed Hashmi is out of favours yet nobody talks about it. It is only in muted whispers that people will tell you that he was almost sold out to hijack PML while Nawaz Sharif was abroad. Everybody will deny this on record but it is obvious that he is given a cosmetic respect.

    The ultimate decision making power, everybody agrees, is Nawaz Sharif. He forms an opinion by discussing things with the members of the family, clan and a handful of loyalists. A facade of consultation is devised where party elders are asked for their opinions. In nine cases out of 10, they try to give the opinion, which they think the great leader has already arrived at.

    Nawaz Sharif then makes announcements, which are final. Nobody dares question his word and never in public. Welcome to democracy — the PML-N style.

    To be continued

  • Fair is foul, and foul is fair

    Something is rotten in the state of Pakistan. Or so Mr Nawaz Sharif’s historic blunder on March 25 would have us believe. Mr Sharif failed to give a persuasive argument on March 25. Since there was no justification for his actions, the PML-N went into damage control mode right away. Ishaq Dar has now assured Raza Rabbani that the PML-N would sort out this mess in due course of time. The judicial issue has been laid to rest, to a certain extent at least, while the issue of renaming the NWFP is inching closer to an agreement. The PML-N must realise that this is important for the Pakhtuns and we should not disappoint them on this issue. It is still not too late to settle this matter.

    The rumour mills are abuzz with speculations that the ‘pressure’ on Nawaz Sharif emanated from judicial quarters. Whether this is true or not can only be ascertained once Mr Sharif comes clean about it. So far, he has not been forthcoming on this aspect of the matter. If true, it indicates that somebody tried to interfere in the functioning of parliament. This directly challenges the sovereignty and supremacy of that august body. For the first time in our history, parliament is trying to establish its supremacy. It cannot, and should not be held hostage by anyone, be it the judiciary or the executive. In the light of the past, it could be that the forces inimical to strengthening democracy are up to their old tricks. There have been many hurdles in the path towards democracy and Pakistan’s history is full of the immense struggle waged by the people against military dictatorships and authoritarian rule. Whenever there has been a coup by the military, it has always been supported by other state institutions, especially the judiciary that has regularly endorsed martial laws over the years. Presently, the military is in no position to directly intervene, but there is no guarantee that the extra-constitutional collaborators are not actively at work trying to undermine the democratic process.

    The whole nation was simply shell-shocked after Mian sahib’s u-turn on the constitutional reforms, but Mr Sharif is adamant that he did not do anything wrong and has no regrets whatsoever. There were all kinds of speculations after Mr Sharif expressed his reservations on the proposed judicial appointments procedure as well as the renaming of NWFP. There was an adverse reaction from all quarters, including from within the PML-N. In a press conference on Saturday, Nawaz Sharif denied the rumours about receiving a phone call from unknown quarters. Either Mr Sharif did not think it through before he decided to speak up against the constitutional reforms and did not expect such a strong reaction, or he was under so much pressure that despite knowing that this would not go down well, he had no choice. This obviously leads one to speculate where that pressure came from. These questions are still unanswered. Living in denial is a norm with the PML-N, be it the ‘deal’ Mian Nawaz Sharif struck with General Musharraf to stay out of politics for 10 years in lieu of his ‘self-exile’ to Saudi Arabia or the presence of militants in Punjab. If he thinks that the citizens of Pakistan can be fooled, he should think again. To thine own self be true, Mr Sharif. You owe an explanation to the people of this country, to its polity, and to parliament; the sooner it comes, the better.

    http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\03\28\story_28-3-2010_pg3_1

  • Nawaz Sharif is not an elected person more it is still not clear wether he is elgible for election. His brother also happens to be non elected CM as far as petition of Mr. Orakzai is concerned which has been postponed for an indefinite period. The bench hearing the prtition seems to be uninterested in ascertaining wether the Govt. of Punjab is constitutional or not. It should be of prime importance that a provincial govt. is being headed by a non elected person which puts to ground the constitutional edifce of all actions taken by him as CM. The torch bearers of justice must decide this on war footings.

  • No name except Pakhtoonkhwa acceptable for NWFP: ANP

    * Haji Adeel says only PML-Q, PML-N opposed name in constitutional reforms committee meetings
    * Says PML-N will resolve renaming issue by Wednesday

    By Akhtar Amin

    PESHAWAR: The deadlock over renaming of the NWFP persists as the Awami National Party (ANP) on Sunday said that any name without the use of “Pakhtoonkhwa” in it would not be acceptable to it.

    Talking to Daily Times, ANP leader Haji Muhammad Adeel said that any name that did not contain “Pakhtoonkhwa” would not be acceptable.

    Only opposition: The ANP central leader, who is also his party’s representative in the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms, said five out of seven committee members had agreed on Pakhtoonkhwa, except the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the PML-Quaid. He said the ANP did not object to the PML-N’s proposed name of “Pakhtoonkhwa-Abaseen”, adding that at the last committee meeting, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif proposed “Pakhtoonkhwa-Khyber” as the name, to which again the ANP did not object.

    “But, astonishingly, Nawaz backtracked from the second proposed name as well and created a virtual deadlock in the country’s politics,” he said. Adeel said the PML-N had first rejected “Afghania” as an option in meetings between the ANP and PML-N committees meetings, on the basis that Afghanistan had been claiming its ownership of the area spreading from the Durand Line to Jehlum, adding it was illogical for the PML-N to now start proposing that the same name be used to which they had earlier objected.

    Resolve: Feigning ignorance about any “secret meetings between the ANP and the PML-N”, he said the PML-N has said that it will resolve the renaming issue by Wednesday (March 31). Separately, NWFP Information Minister Iftikhar Hussain said the issue relating to constitutional reforms would be resolved by Wednesday and all conflicts including the naming of the province would be settled.

    “I have requested PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain to rise up for parliamentary democracy and the supremacy of parliament, so that the present deadlock can be broken,” he said.

    http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20103\29\story_29-3-2010_pg1_3

    PML-N and PML-Q both opposing Pakhtoonkhwa

    PESHAWAR: The NWFP renaming issue seems to be deadlocked as the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) are both opposing Pakhtoonkhwa as the new name for the NWFP. “We are going to have a meeting in Islamabad at 3pm today, which will be presided over by PML-Q President Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain,” PML-Q NWFP President Ameer Muqam told Daily Times on Sunday, adding that he and the NWFP chief minister had agreed that an ANP jirga would meet the
    PML-Q central leaders in Islamabad on today. Separately, PML-N NWFP President Pir Sabir Shah said ANP had no flexibility on the matter and had hardened its stand. zakir hassnain

    http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20103\29\story_29-3-2010_pg1_4

  • @Akhtar

    Parties positions in the Pakhtukhwa provincial assembly:

    Pakistan Peoples Party 30
    Pakistan Muslim League(N) 9
    Pakistan Muslim League (Q) 6
    Awami National Party 48

    So PML (N) + PML(Q) = 15/124.

  • Nawaz Sharif has been universally, and rightly, condemned for delaying consensus on the 18th Amendment. However, little attention has been paid to his new idea for the composition of the judicial commission that will nominate judges for the superior judiciary. Perhaps this is because many believe that the U-turn has more to do with the renaming of the NWFP than anything else.

    Red herring or not, however, Mr Sharif continues to flog the idea of a seven-member judicial commission with three serving judges of the Supreme Court, led by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, and a seventh member to be selected by the chief justice himself — thus giving the CJP-led bloc a majority on the commission. Whatever Mr Sharif’s reasons for tabling this idea at this late stage, it is a bad one and should be resisted by the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms.

    The problem that will be created by a judicial commission with a majority formed by serving judges of the SC and a handpicked choice of the CJP is not very difficult to identify. The superior judiciary is designed such that while every justice on a court has one vote, the chief justices are administratively the ‘bosses’. So it is very unlikely that in the presence of a Chief Justice of Pakistan who wants a particular nominee, the other justices on the commission would disagree with him. Also unlikely is the possibility that a handpicked seventh member of the judicial commission will oppose the CJP’s choice. And even if the CJP is an accommodating sort and encourages developing a consensus nominee among the judges and his handpicked seventh member, it would mean that the superior judiciary would determine by itself — because of the simple majority it would enjoy on the judicial commission — who can or cannot become a judge of a high court or the Supreme Court.

    A hermetically sealed judicial institution of that sort is antithetical to the principles of democracy. Why should the present membership of a state institution determine what its future membership will be? Remember that judges are free to vote with their conscience once sworn in because it is virtually impossible to remove them before they retire (which is how it should be). What Pakistan needs is a judiciary free from interference, not a judiciary that is independent in the sense of deciding its own membership. Any proposal by Mr Sharif or anyone else that would effectively give the superior judiciary a majority on the judicial commission must not be accepted.

    Judicial commission
    Dawn Editorial
    Monday, 29 Mar, 2010

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/editorial/19-judicial-commission-930-hh-08

  • Munawar Hassan, The Chief of “Anarchist” Jamat-e-Islami is stopping Nawaz Sharif from Creating Anarchy and spreading Provincialism in the country (Aamir Mughal)

    Hasan urges Nawaz not to ruin atmosphere of harmony
    Updated at: 1818 PST, Tuesday, March 30, 2010
    http://www.geo.tv/3-30-2010/62018.htm

    TURBAT: Jamaat-e-Islami Amir Syed Munawar Hasan says that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Mian Nawaz Sharif is playing havoc with the nation and country by portraying non-issues as issues. Addressing a news conference in Turbat today after condoling the demise of former JI Balochistan Amir Maulana Abdul Haq Baloch, he said Nawaz Sharif’s popularity graph is dropping at the same pace it had gone upward.
    Hasan advised the PML-N chief to realize the prevailing situation and not sabotage the atmosphere of harmony. About Nawaz Sharif’s remarks about writing a dissenting note on the constitutional package, he refused to accept the claim, says the reforms committee had evolved a consensus on all issues. To a question, the JI chief said there is no danger of judiciary’s dictatorship in the country.