The news, although not surprising, is still too fresh and without enough details to make a full commentary on. But it is worth getting a discussion on. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has finally made up its mind on who its nominee for Prime Minister will be. And the winner is Yousuf Raza Gillani.
According to The News:
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Saturday named Yousuf Raza Gillani as its nominee for Prime Minister. Co-Chairman of PPP Asif Ali Zardari announced the name of Yousuf Raza Gillani as the PM candidate in a statement read out by the spokesman of PPP Farhatullah Babar. The name of the candidate for the prime ministerial job was finalized by the Pakistan Peopleâ€™s Party after due consultations with the democratic parties and coalition partners, said the statement.
Asif Ali Zardari thanked Makhdoom Yousuf Raza Gillani for assuming the great responsibility of becoming the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and wished him success in discharging his duties with responsiblity. Countryâ€™s new prime minister will take oath of his office Tuesday morning – March 25 – at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, under the 1973 Constitution. The President has already summoned the National Assembly to meet on Monday at 1600 hrs to elect the new leader of the house.
The session has been summoned for ascertainment of the member who commands the confidence of the majority of members of National Assembly, under Article 91 (2A) of the Constitution. The Speaker National Assembly will intimate the President in writing the result and a notification will be published in the Gazette. The protocol wing of the Presidency is finalising the lists of invitees who will attend the ceremony.
These will include the four governors, President, PM of Azad Jammu Kashmir, the Chief Justice, Attorney General, the services chiefs, leaders of political parties, ambassadors, senior officials and notables. The oath taking ceremony will begin with the recitation from the Holy Quran and the new Prime Minister will be invited to take oath of office as provided in the Third Schedule, under the 1973 Constitution. President Musharraf will administer oath to the new Prime Minister, who, under the constitution has to obtain a vote of confidence from the National Assembly within a period of 60 days.
Makhdoom Amin Fahim still remains, technically, the President of the party and in the immediate aftermath of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination he was supposed to be the front-runner for the post if the PPP won. Things, however, have reportedly become tense between him since then. Always a loyalist, his initial reaction is, again, of loyalty more than of defiance. However, note that he was not consulted for the decision. Given his post as Party President, that is troubling, to say the least. According to The News:
President Pakistan Peopleâ€™s Party Parliamentarians, Makhdoom Amin Fahim Saturday said the offices hold no importance to him. Talking to Geo News after nomination of Makhdoom Yusuf Raza Gillani as PPPâ€™s candidate for the post of Prime Minister, he said he was not consulted by the party for nominating the candidate for PMâ€™s post. However, he said: â€œIt is the decision of the party leadership,â€ adding â€œPPP is my party and I do not want to see it get damaged at any cost.â€ It is a party of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. Amin Fahim said as far as these offices are concerned, I have no desire for them. Yusuf Raza Gillani is my friend, he added. To a question whether he was consulted by the party in connection with the nomination of candidate for PMâ€™s post, he said he was not consulted for nominating Yusuf Raza Gillani. â€œI am no quitting the party,â€ he said adding it is party of poor and suppressed people. â€œIt is the decision of the party and I accept it whole-heartedly,â€ Amin Fahim said.
It is now clear, but to no surprise, that the once presumptive PM, Makhdoom Amin Fahim has been side-stepped. But does this also mean that Yousuf Raza Gillani is going to be a “seat-warmer” Prime Minister for an eventual Prime Minister Asif Ali Zardari? That may or may not be so, but most political observers believe it is more likely that it will be so than not. Also not clear is what, and whether any, effect this will have within the political ranks of the PPP itself.
If nothing else, this means that Pakistan politics will remain ‘interesting’ for quite some time. Sometimes I wish our politics was just a little less interesting than it is!