Gloomy

zardari20online20photo
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I have kept my fingers crossed for Zardari’s departure for over a year now as President of Pakistan. For many of us, his departure will be the beginning of hope for our country. But do we have time to distract ourselves from the current Taliban crises in Pakistan to think of who is going to lead our country next? Will Kayani finally step up & use this opportunity to take the reins to keep our flag high? Or will there finally be a scrutiny, which would provide Pakistan with a meaningful democracy rather than today’s politicians who are the highest office without any ability & integrity? Oh wait, then there’s also Bilawal Bhutto who might realize that one year of education at Oxford is more than enough for him to be able to take over Pakistan.

I seem to be exploding with questions about Pakistan’s future right now and can only hope that the right solutions come into place soon. Check out today’s article in the Khaleej Times. http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?col=&section=editorial&xfile=data/editorial/2009/May/editorial_May4.xml

The Gloomy Days for Zardari
2 May 2009
The sun does not seem to be shining for Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari these days. Despite the peak of summer approaching, this is not a good sign especially when the weather forecast is being read from the White House.

Barack Obama’s 100th day press conference infact delivered a sharp blow to Pakistan’s civilian government under Zardari. It has also spelt out a clear message of support to Pakistan’s military led by Army Chief, General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani. It is likely to sour Zardari’s forthcoming visit to Washington, where he is to attend the Trilateral Summit on May 6-7, along with his Afghan counterpart, President Hamid Karzai.

The surprising thing in Obama’s diatribe is that the US seems to have shifted support from the democratically elected civilian government. This reflects the disgruntlement in the US administration about the present civilian setup that despite a parliamentary system is being run from the presidency. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani’s periodic outbursts of independence remain very much under the president’s thumb, retaining his figurehead status.

President Obama has basically spelt out the loss of credibility in the US, of Pakistan’s political administration. Describing the civilian government as ‘fragile’, Obama cited the government’s lack of capacity to deliver even basic services in education, healthcare, security and a consensual judicial system for the people. Obama, further said, “As a consequence, it is very difficult for them (the government) to gain support and loyalty of their people.”

Even while castigating the government, the US president, has expressed confidence about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, that remain under tight control of the military, thus alleviating past concerns about them falling into the hands of militants. General Kayani, who enjoys considerable trust and confidence among the top US military and political leadership, is believed to be responsible for this development. Though the US remains concerned about expanding Taleban control within Pakistan, it seems to be rebuilding trust with the military that had suffered considerably in recent months.

Another significant point made by Obama related to Pakistan military’s moving away from an India-centric security threat focus to one that realised the danger and implications of the threat from internal militancy. In the meantime, fresh military operations against the Taleban in Lower Dir and Buner are underway in Pakistan, with the demise of the controversial Swat peace agreement looming large on the horizon.

The message for Zardari is to either shape up or ship out. Though the US has thrown its weight behind the military, Kayani is not likely to use this opportunity to take the reins.

He has proved his impartiality and chosen not to succumb to a military takeover during the judicial crisis recently in March. In all eventualities a likely change is to come through the political process that may see Zardari’s power greatly reduced, if not being shown the door.
*The picture has been taken from this link – http://media.canada.com/24be34eb-ecfe-4969-88c2-5aa898db4139/zardari%20online%20photo.jpg*

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7 comments

  1. Counting down the day as well. No army though, please!

  2. I don’t mind Zardari as there are more important things to focus on ie Taliban

  3. Junaid Jahangir · · Reply

    The issues addressed by you my friend and the issues written in the article are :-

    1. Zardari

    2. Taliban

    3. Army takeover

    4. Whitehouse

    Out of these four issues, the real threats are the taliban, an army takeover and the white house supporting it like it has in the past. Why do I say that now? Well, Zardari regardless of his reputation and regardless of how he came into power we need to understand just one thing. He came into power not by use of force, or by the support of the core commanders but by the vote of all the legislative assemblies of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Hence we all need to respect the office that he occupies and by doing that we’ll be respecting the wishes of the masses when they came out to vote in Feb 2008.

    Our country has been suffering from a disease for the past sixty years. This disease that I speak of takes over every few years, and contaminates the country for years and years and leaves the country in so much mess that the ones trying to cure face an impossible task of cleaning up the mess it leaves behind. This disease kills hundreds of thousands of people while it is in power and kills many more after it goes away. It only gets the courage to take over by the consent of the white house and the dollars that are poured into the system to make it survive. The situation that the country is in today is a result of that disease and I can only pray against your prayers that the disease be cured at least for two decades and the army dare not think about taking over this time around.

    Yes, the country is in a mess. Zardari is probably not what we needed at this point in time, but we need to understand he is in power because the people who got elected wished for him to occupy the office of the President of Pakistan. He at least had the courage to step up and take that office, come in the limelight when no one would even think of taking charge. When I look at it in another way, Zardari could’ve easily made his way to the National Assembly and from there he could have easily become the Prime Minister. The PPP were back stabbed by a dummy President Farooq Leghari hence their insecurities of giving that office to anyone else is understandable. Nawaz Sharif in his last govt removed the powers of the President but Mushrraf introduced it in the Constitution of Pakistan again to ensure his existence as the President of Pakistan.

    As soon as the new government was formed, it was facing difficulties from the word go. I don’t understand how anyone could blame the current government for the problems faced by the country regarding the power crisis? The day PPP came into power there were power shortages and a realization a decade too late that we needed more electricity to cater for the private and the public sectors. As we know, there was hardly any investment coming from anywhere in the world, and we do not have the money to start or carryout these projects. The army takes up most of the budget for its maintenance costs a fortune, that other sectors of public interest have to be ignored. I was never for the expenses incurred by the army but looking at the mess that we are in, we need the army more then ever hence we need to spend on them. The other way of starting new projects or buying electricity from elsewhere was to raise the prices for whatever electricity is supplied to the people. That was not acceptable either and the people took to the streets and the govt had to go back on its unpopular decision, and we were back to square one. Now the only thing left to do was beg for money again like we’ve been begging for it for the past six decades. Yes the IMF did not let us down again and promised to give us lots of dollars but attached such conditions to it that the govt chokes whenever it thinks of them but desperate times made us take that money and put it in good use.

    My Sindhi friends criticized Zardari for taking the MQM on board in the Sindh govt but they fail to understand this one simple thing. MQM is a strange political party. When its in power, its happy and when its not it kills people and shuts down Karachi. It is not 1992 that we could afford to shut down Karachi till whenever we could because Karachi needs to remain open so that Pakistan keeps on functioning. A country suffering from economic crisis can not afford to see its economic hub burning. The recent killings in Karachi just show how sensitive the rivalry is between the pakhtuns and the muhajirs and how a few criminal groups have taken over the city and are backed by both the MQM and the ANP. Blaming only the MQM would be wrong, as we all know, you can not clap with one hand!.

    Akbar Bugti was the only Sardar who was paid heavily in Balochistan because he was the only Sardar in that province who was in favour of Pakistan. Balochistan has a population of 6 Million and that is far less then the number of people that occupy Karachi only. The people of that province have suffered for decades, as natural gas reached them only recently which was dug out from their grounds and given to cities and villages of other provinces. The province was ignored all along but the wrong man tried to give the people attention that they desired. He took out the only Sardar in favour of Pakistan and that just left the people fatherless hence the insurgency in that province got the fuel that it needed for the fire to spread. India, Russia, Iran, and every country having an interest in Balochistan are supporting those insurgents and we surely can not match the funds that they are vesting in the insurgents. However, what we can do is give provincial autonomy to the provinces of Pakistan and keep the country intact. Balochistan will only get its due share in the budget if we are not forced to spend billions of rupees on the army. Zardari, addressed the concerns of the baloch people, when they demanded that the settlers in gawadar should not be given voting rights, if gawadar is ever built, the settlers will out number the Balochis and they will have no say in their own province. This is a very valid demand and it should be taken care of, and the only power that can bring about this change is the Balochistan Assembly.

    In the NWFP, the coalition of PPP and ANP face a monster of a challenge. THE TALIBAN. These bastards grow in number every single day and it’s such a great threat to the existence of Pakistan that if not addressed right now, it will soon result in a total destruction of the country. The Swat deal was a result of a desperate breathing space that the NWFP govt needed, the people needed and the Army needed. A war is won with a combination of things…. Planning, resources,courage, ability, and passion. There is no doubt that we have the courage, ability and the passion but we had no planning and we have no resources. We need this time to plan it out properly and to gather the resources to fight the Taliban and God willing we will.

    People go crazy when it comes to drone attacks but they need to understand this one simple thing. We have taken money from the Americans, and until we pay them back they own us!. Where did the money go? Well you need to ask that question from every person who has been in power since the first cent we took till this very day. I am a common man of Pakistan, I would never know where the money went. I can only assume that that money was spent on great causes because I’m a pessimist. However, I can hold the politicians accountable by using the power of my vote and by not voting for them and voting for another I can express my anger and frustration. However, a dictator can’t be held accountable because he does not need my vote. Where do I go and take my anger out? If I take the streets they will arrest me and torture me and at times even kill me. He will rule me against my wishes, and he will not care. The Americans will always support a dictator in Pakistan because its easy for a dictator to take decisions against the wishes of the people as he will never need their vote to be in power. All he needs is the blessing of his core commanders and his battalions along with the dollars that come in so that he can carry out the order of the ones who pay. I see no difference between a dictator and a hitman, they both charge for a service that a leader would never provide. The current government hence does not have the capacity to stop the drone attacks as the previous regime left this in inheritance. The only way to stop them is taking their drones down, and by doing that we are only going to initiate a war with the Americans. Do we want that? I don’t know…. I guess Imran Khan is probably the right person to ask as he is the one who screams and shouts about it every second day and when it comes to answering the logical question… Do you want war with the Americans? He simply avoids it by changing the topic. However, if the people really desire a war with the Americans, they’ll get war. All they need to do is take the streets and demand the government to take the drones out and call it a war. However, they will lose the right to come out on the streets when there is no electricity, and there is just nothing left and the Taliban will surely take over that way as they seem to be quite popular when it comes to hitting the Americans. We can not morally accuse a country and then take money from them at the same time. First thing is first, we need to learn how to sacrifice and eat grass and stop taking money. Return whatever we owe by selling whatever we have or working as hard as a human possibly can and then we will not request but COMMAND them to stop!.

    How, can we accuse the government for the tensions between India and Pakistan (which resulted in the withdrawal of our troops from sawat because they were needed on the india Pakistan border), as the government was concentrating on NWFP. How can we blame the killings of the Baloch leaders in Balochistan recently as the government was concentrating on India Pakistan relations and NWFP at the same time and raw or whoever sneaked in to kill those great men. How can we blame the recent killings in Karachi on the government while it was concentrating on Balochistan, India Pakistan relationship, NWFP and the Americans at the same time and some bastards just decided go on a killing spree.

    This government is not perfect, but it’s a gradual process and it will learn from its mistakes and the coming governments will not make the same mistakes only if given a chance. Our politicians need time to mature along with our institutions and if the army takes over every few years how will they ever reach that level of maturity? The politicians holding the highest offices without ability and integrity will become capable and once they are capable of running the country they will have integrity too. Our army shall have the integrity to not offend the constitution of Pakistan by taking over again. People look up to the army and if they interfere one more time with the business that they should not meddle with, it will only result in total destruction and that is it. Like I said earlier, a democratic government is not easy to control as the leaders need the support of the masses as without that support they are no leaders. Hence, America is not pleased with Zardari and they would rather have one general to command rather then having a nation to please.

    To sum it up, the success of the current system can be seen in the restoration of the judiciary. The people took the streets and paraded towards Islamabad, and the president had to give in to the wishes of the masses because he understands the importance of keeping them happy. However, if it was a dictator with a huge ego and a guilty conscience, he would have imposed emergency again and contaminated the whole system ruining the institutions just to keep himself into power.

    So I plead and beg you not to keep your fingers crossed for an early exit of Zardari from the office, and not hope for General Kiyani to take over as the flag will only fly high if the will of the people of Pakistan is respected. Let us throw our weight behind the democratically elected people and not satisfy Sufi Muhammad by supporting another military take over as it seems to please him more then democracy. And for all those who think that Pakistan will be taken over by the talibans, let me just remind them that we are Pakistanis and we will fight till the very last one of us if need be but never let that happen!

    God bless you and God bless Pakistan! ( ameircan president style 😀 )

  4. Ijaz Ul Haq · · Reply

    Interesting comments and a very serious topic. The country is going through serious crises and the most critical period of its 60 odd years history. Its a long story about who has done what. The politicians,the army and the people.Let’s not get into a blame game rather we should all put our heads together to take the country out of the quagmire rather than pushing it further into the dark. Its time to ask not what Pakistan has done for us but to ask what we have done for Pakistan. Let’s all do some soul searching and begin to contribute. The battle is between the haves and the have nots. Its between the 3 percent elite-the rulling class and the 97 percent of the ruled or let me say masters and the servents. The gap between the gap between the two has increased many fold. Its been Dictators or Autocrats who have ruled the country.True democracy is yet to come.Dictators take over with the might and Autocrats through arrangements eithe thrugh the Army or via Washington(NRO’s etc)Its not the Talibans its a slow revolution

  5. Ijaz Ul Haq · · Reply

    Its late and rest of my comment got deleted. will write rest tomorrow.

  6. Sana K · · Reply

    I am sick and tired of reading that the present Taliban situation is solely the result of the 80’s Soviet War and our part in it.
    We did not fight that War because of the US, we fought it because we had proof that the Soviets were planning on coming towards Pakistan next, to get to the warm waters of the Arabian sea, which would have been very beneficial for Russia.
    I don’t understand why our silly Pakistani’s cannot understand that we fought for our own reasons and started helping the Afghans BEFORE the US started supplying weapons and money.
    Also the present situation is not only because of that war – that war was a great achievement – it was what happened after that that led to the present situation.
    General Zia, and other top leading Generals of that era, who had the situation very much in control, were killed in an airplane crash and then the US left a shattered Afghanistan rather than rebuilding it-in that environment of complete destruction (which happens after any war) Afghanistan needed to be rebuilt not left alone so that the fundamentalists take over people who were suffering in poverty and destruction. Also a significant point here that no one seems to realize is that it was Benazir’s government that helped the Taliban rise to power in the 90’s-the Taliban are a product of the 90’s not the 80’s.People, please understand that distinction!!!!!!!!!!

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