ATP Poll: Who is In-Charge in Pakistan?

Posted on July 27, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, ATP Poll, Politics
Total Views: 87768


Adil Najam

Yousuf Raza Gillani, Asif Ali Zardari, Pervez MusharrafSpeaking of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani’s upcoming trip to USA and meeting with President George Bush a politically astute and well-connected friend in Pakistan said, “Its going to be a meeting of two lame ducks. George Bush is a lame duck because his tenure is about to end, and Yousuf Raza Gillani is a lame duck because his tenure never really started!”

For those who wish to see real democracy in Pakistan such comments instill a certain sadness. Yet, as a recent The News editorial highlighted, there is an increasing, palpable, and disturbing concern amongst Pakistanis about exactly who, if anyone, in in control of the government in Pakistan.

We thought maybe we should put exactly that question to our readers in this ATP Poll: Who do you think calls the shots? Who is really in-charge of Pakistan’s government today?

Of course, one could make this broader and more abstract by adding the Allah, Umreeka or Army responses. But our interest right now is on the daily governance of the country and who is calling the shots there.We woudl appreciate if the responses and comments also focus on that.

56 Comments on “ATP Poll: Who is In-Charge in Pakistan?”

  1. Imtiaz says:
    July 27th, 2008 1:07 pm

    Wow. Interesting that at least in the first 16 votes, not a single one says its Yousuf Raza!!!!

  2. Eidee Man says:
    July 27th, 2008 1:29 pm

    Adil, you need to add another option to the poll:

    “the democratically elected government brought into power by the majority of Pakistan.”

  3. BitterTruth says:
    July 27th, 2008 1:53 pm

    Basically the in-charge is Pakistan Army Chief Kyani, and he a loyal friend of Musharraf (even more loyal to him than Pakistan itself: proof> he was the NRO facilitator) is trying a best to save Musharraf which is equivalent to keep Pakistan on a path to destruction

  4. Pakistani says:
    July 27th, 2008 2:05 pm

    Really and truly no one is incharge. Its chaos out there and everything is breaking apart.

    The best sign of this is what is happening with the appointments of people based on dubious criteria and rooting out anyone who was competent.

    For example, (1) the appointment of Hussain Haqqani as Ambassador to USA, (2) Rahman Malik as Interior Minister, (3) Salman Farooqi at Planning, (4) removing UN Ambassador, (5) removing FBR chairman, (6) removing OGDC chairman, (7) canceling appointment of Zamir Akram as Ambassador to China, and so on and so on.

    The real problem is not just getting your own people in, it is that competent professionals are being removed and loyalists brought in. Including some who are just bad for the country!

  5. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    July 27th, 2008 2:14 pm

    @ Impression is given that PPP is running the show &
    claims the “ownership” of Pakistan, but, no way,
    Mushy is the only incharge, the security incharge of
    Bilawal House was killed just in front of his door, the
    process of cleaning up PPP has started.
    Someone is very much interested in “effacing” all the
    previous secret or open contracts with BB.

    @Eidee Man,

    its impossible, as many Political parties boycotted the
    elections, its a bogus mediatic so called ” majority “.

    ISI’s clarification is the first nail in the freshly built
    Taboot perhaps to increase per/metre sq habitat of
    Ghari Khuda Bakh. You see, welfare of the population.

  6. bashar Siddiqui says:
    July 27th, 2008 2:36 pm

    In reality USA is incharge. And unfortunately Government of USA is much smarter to leave any signs. We play with the phsycic of different Pakistani leaders. USA Government always find people whom they can manipulate with the name of Religion, democracy, hypocracy, modernism, money, duress, you name it.
    Unfortunately we pakistani, even though every one is an American agent in one way or other, always blame our opponent as an American agent. We do every thing according to American agenda, could be plan c, d, e, or f.
    I wish we really grow up and realize that we will all have different opinion, and learn to accomodate others.

  7. Zaka says:
    July 27th, 2008 2:44 pm

    Apocalypse is firmly in-charge of Pakistan. (1970-71 Repeat)

  8. Riaz Haq says:
    July 27th, 2008 2:55 pm

    Regardless of the names and faces of the day, there are three power centers in Pakistan: The feudal zamindars, the military and the clergy. Usual two out of three combine to prevail on the third center of power at any given time. I invite you to read more about it at

  9. Absar Ahmed says:
    July 27th, 2008 3:31 pm

    Please Add de facto Prime Minster and killer of Benazir Rehman Malik in the choices. He controls Pakistan today and we all know it.

  10. mamoo says:
    July 27th, 2008 3:36 pm

    I was thinking tonight as to why all this turmoil, death and destruction in Pakistan. I feel it is because of the mass idol worshipping in this country, instead of worshipping of Allah. It is Allahs wrath upon us. During the period of Jahilia the idols like that of Laat and manaat were made of stone or for that matter the sun and the moon were worshipped but now they are human flesh. We are either worshipping zia or butto. Some of us are worshipping BB or sharif. Some of us are worshipping Imran or Altaf, Some of us are worshipping Musharraf or Osama. Some of us are worshipping chaudaries or the chaudaries. Some of us are worshipping qazi or Fazl. etc etc … We are asking for sustainance from all of these people instead from Allah. It is only Allah who is worthy of worship but in Pakistan personalities are worshipped who worship fame and at the end everybody worships money. So what else we should expect, we are committing henious crimes and we are paying the penalty.

  11. Darwaish says:
    July 27th, 2008 3:50 pm

    I totally agree with Bashar Siddique and Pakistani’s comment. All the people mentioned in the pole are nothing more that puppets. It would make more sense if we add another option: USA or foreign masters. Unfortunate but true.

    Like Pakistani mentioned the highly incompetent people appointed on key posts. This is one of the reasons of high degree of incompetence and blunders made by this government in just 100 days. ‘na-laiq’. Three examples:

    1. Hilarious announcements and claims made by Minister for Power and Water, Pervez Ashraf a month or so ago on load-shedding issue. Not a single thing he announced was accepted by any stakeholder or implemented.

    2. CNG Prices blunder by Shah Mahmood Qureshi which cost us millions.

    3. Yesterday’s notification of putting ISI under Interior Ministry control. ISI’s fundamental role is to keep an eye on external threats and why it was being put under Interior Ministry is beyond me.

  12. Nauman says:
    July 27th, 2008 5:52 pm

    It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that Zardari under the dictation of the USA is running the show through PM and Rehman Malik, the PM is not being given freedom to govern.

    Musharraf has made some very horrible mistakes in the past that have cost us tremendously but he or the COAS will never take any steps that will allow the NATO etc. to enter Pakistan or to invade it.

    The placement of the ISI just before the US visit is the PPP gift to America for its loyalty. The army is watching and if any step is taken to corner the army and Pakistan’s sovereignty, we may even see a soft coup.

    Our PM is loyal to Pakistan along with the COAS, Musharraf (he took buzdil steps but is not against Pakistan, the set up of the NCA etc. proves all that) and Imran and Sharif(if he stops acting like an idiot).

  13. Sarmad Qazi says:
    July 27th, 2008 6:07 pm


    Shouldn’t option 4 be changed to ‘co-chairman’. Sherry will be blown away if she sees it.

    I’m hoping my vote for Option 1 wins!!!

  14. Saleema Khanum says:
    July 27th, 2008 9:38 pm

    Yousaf Raza’s most important credential is his inability to speak up to AZ. Everyone knows it is a tussle between Mush, Bush and AZ. The US is trying to move away from Mush. See also recent NYT article on Kiyani. If yousaf is a non entity the real question remains, who is the next president, Sumro?

  15. Inam says:
    July 28th, 2008 12:23 am

    Its amazing to see that people in Pakistan are still suffering from MushPhobia.
    Everyone knows who is the man is power,ugly zardari.

  16. Imtiaz says:
    July 28th, 2008 12:32 am

    Sorry for second comment with the same point, but this is worth noting—-A hundred votes cast and not even a single sympathy vote for Yousuf Reza Gillani. This is quite disturbing, even for a puppet prime minister!

  17. Adil says:
    July 28th, 2008 1:00 am

    How long will it take pakistan to develop a proper tax structure? This is what the country really needs to move forward in terms of economic and social development. All businesses should be provided a cash registered and it be mantadory for sales tax collected on sales not at manufacturing. Any thoughts?

  18. faisal says:
    July 28th, 2008 1:10 am

    When they elected YRG I thought wow a new tradition. Britain and US follows this model for a long time, where the party leader is not necessarily head of the govt. But those countries political parties have well established political agendas and policies, which the govt. sets out to implement. Sadly we are lacking in this respect. Our political parties are run on very feudalistic lines, and once elected party policies are respected as much as Pakistanis respects the traffic laws (may be even less.)

    I was very hopeful since no one can argue about NRGs history.

    But my worst fears are coming truth. Zaradri can not and will not let YRG be his own man. Lets say BB was alive and had not participated in election does anyone believe that she would have let the govt. run on its own with out her interference? I don’t think so.

    I am not a PPP supporter but still would like to hope that YRG is THE MAN these days.

  19. D_a_n says:
    July 28th, 2008 3:02 am

    again…my point of a national sense of delusion and willful suicide being incharge of Pakistan is reflected in this poll that still shows 37% of the people on ATP believe that Musharraf is still in charge of Pakistan…..

    our national dislike for a person is producing a typically emotional reaction from Pakistani’s who are failing to call out mr. zaradri…..

    fine…let Zardari have all the power that he wants…but hold him to the same account that we held musharraf…

    something tells me that whatever any zardari sb will do….no matter how evil or corrupt or inefficient…he will never be held to the same account as musharraf…

    such are the over emotional/pseudo-religious/willfully blind follies :)

  20. Imran Rashid says:
    July 28th, 2008 3:23 am

    I think you have missed an important option which is the realy governor of pakistan. I am poiting towrods AMERCIA. It does not matter how is the PM Or President Or Chief Exec. they all are to implement their agenda….

  21. Sajjad says:
    July 28th, 2008 4:50 am

    I voted for “No one”. The PPP government is supposed to be in-charge, but the way things are worsening day-by-day, there is nothing to prove that this is correct.

    My prediction is that another month of this chaos will result in a much-needed backlash, either from the Army, the honorable President or from the masses. Whatever you might say about Musharraf and his regime, things were a lot better under him than any of the past or current governments.

  22. July 28th, 2008 5:22 am

    The correct answer is the American neo-cons. So add that to the poll because Pakistan has become a slave nation subjugated to the pentagon and whitehouse. So let’s send our soldiers to die for the war on terror. Pitiful.

  23. Kasim Mahmood says:
    July 28th, 2008 7:22 am

    Try putting in a couple of more options, for example :

    “Pakistani Military Intelligence”
    “State Dept of USA”

    These will give the other 5 a real run for their money, as most Pakistanis in general believe that these two entities have a major role in Pakistan politics.

  24. Altaf says:
    July 28th, 2008 7:27 am

    Bhai Adil Najam sahab whats the use of this meaningless poll … This is not a normative comment…instead please treat it as a criticism on the design of your survey. I propose to you to put the name of Umreeka as one of the choices … You’ll be smiling on the results … Until 1516 hrs 28 Jul 08 when I took the poll 39% had resulted as “No one” (so had I chosen) … I swear to God a large majority in this 39% has done that only because you haven’t put the name of the real ground ruler of Pakistan in the poll …. secondly the 34% who voted for Zardari and the 13% who voted for Musharraf–when they see the real ruler’s name they’ll unconciously select the same … Seriously, do try this in one of your next polls (may be with a diff theme) and you’ll get the credit for statistically documenting the pulse of what Pakistanis believe about involvement of USA in Pakistan … I can tell that you’re smiling as you read this message… whats the point in turning a blind eye towards the truth sir…? Please don’t take my message as a criticism on US … it is my positive stance of a statistically existent ground reality … It might at least lead to few persons revisiting how they think about our country’s political mix… and actually whether we (Pakistanis) are “INDEPENDENT & SOVEREIGN” …. :)

    July 28th, 2008 8:12 am

    An amazing comment by Mr. Altaf who says ” swear to God a large majority in this 39% has done that only because you haven

  26. Gul Bahar says:
    July 28th, 2008 8:49 am

    @Kasim Mahmood says:

    Maybe you’re too generous to call them intelligent.

  27. July 28th, 2008 1:28 pm

    I would rather ask, ‘Who is in charge OF Pakistan’..

  28. A. Jadoon says:
    July 28th, 2008 1:53 pm

    I do agree that there is total chaos in governance in Pakistan today and certainly YRG has no control or sense of direction at all.

    But let us not be too quick to blame him or Zardari for this. This is partly because Musharraf so loves his job that he holds to his kursi even after it is clear from election as well as street protests that the people of the country want him to leave.

    until he leaves or is made to leave we will continue to have this chaos.

  29. Faraz says:
    July 28th, 2008 3:08 pm

    It’s one thing to say the U.S. has a very significant influence on the govt, and it’s a whole another thing to say the U.S. is in charge of Pakistan. We can’t let our “leaders” off the hook by blaming everything on the U.S. U.S. or another powerful country will always affect other countries. It’s the job of these leaders to stand up to these foreign powers when necessary, and use diplomacy when necessary.

  30. July 28th, 2008 3:16 pm

    It appears no one is responsible to any one,and there is total mess in our beloved pakistan,which has been achieved after great sacrifices.

  31. TRUTH SEEKER says:
    July 28th, 2008 3:29 pm












  32. Hamza says:
    July 28th, 2008 5:04 pm

    the tendency of finding excuses by blaming outsiders is astounding. The USA has messed up Pakistan in many ways by our internal problems of power hungry generals and incompetent politicians are entirely of our own making.

    Until we start owning up to our own problems we will never even begin solving them!

  33. Javed Khan says:
    July 28th, 2008 5:06 pm

    Like always crooks are incharge.

  34. Adeel says:
    July 28th, 2008 6:18 pm

    like always we have voted the crooks in to power.

  35. faisal says:
    July 28th, 2008 6:56 pm

    For the day to day affairs…the option should be Richard A. Boucher, Assistant Secretary for Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs

  36. Naseer says:
    July 29th, 2008 4:47 am

    - Adil Bhai- No need to fret and don’t worry.
    But why have you forsaken Mian SAhib.
    His position is envious- Running with the hare and hunting with the hound -So is everybody. As the Three Muskiteers wouldn’t say.
    All for One and None for All.
    No pun intended. It is simply the apathetic public at large who wants to implement their law on you but break the traffic rules themselves.
    You remember, the oft condemned NRO did not come out today or two months back, in fact it was there since about October/November, so how come it has become so much maligned or is it that we are just person specific and not what the NRO entails.
    In my view the NRO just answers your question and the poll, only nobody could have imagined that it would be the ” middle man” in contention.
    Given the Republican Institute poll this published month, you must reset or repicture your poll.
    Actually, this poll is giving me/us no choice.

  37. Viqar Minai says:
    July 29th, 2008 6:04 am

    It is really a stage play, and all in the list (except “No One”, of course) have a role. The script is written, and the play directed, by the US, which is hardly surprising. As they say, he who pays the piper gets to call the tune. The only thing unclear is whether AZ or General Pakistan has the lead role in the play.

    An alternate view could be that a general depression (a la vacuum at the center) in the politics and governance of Pakistan is causing the air to rush in from all surrounding directions. Even Karzai gets to put in his two cents threats. The situation couldn’t be more pathetic.

    “hae jurm-e za’eefi ki sazaa marg-e mafajaat”

  38. FAUZIA says:
    July 29th, 2008 7:36 am

    The at of comments on this post is really quite low. Apart from venting frustration there is very little thought or analysis in the comments. Why? All I see here are lots of anger and slogans and excuses and cheap cynicism. An intelligent question has been put to us and we go off on a rant.

    There is clearly chaos in government be it is clearly bad for citizens. I think there are two major causes of this. First, bad relations bw president and ruling party. Second, lack of confidence and stability within ruling party after BB death. Without one or both of those structural flaws fixed we will remain in limbo. The real question is, what is the social economic and political cost of limbo?

  39. Kasim Mahmood says:
    July 29th, 2008 12:07 pm

    Pakistani politicians and military men are smarter than Pakistan public gives them credit for. They have figured out the goldern principle of not having any one in charge. That way no one can gets blamed while all of them can plunder any which way they can.

  40. Altaf says:
    July 29th, 2008 5:17 pm

    Re. reply of Ikram sb I must admit that I got carried away by my emotions for my country, which I should not have. But this doesn’t change the fact towards which I pointed out. And that is that the poll is missing the most important player in our political mix. That’s why the results are fundamentally non-representative of the ground reality. However I also strongly agree with Mr Ikram that US is not to blame for successfully implementing their strategies on countries like Pakistan which they consider a threat to their national security. In fact US foreign machinery be it Pentagon or CIA or their Foreign Secretariat etc etc, they deserve praise for achieving the interest of their people. Majority of problems in Pakistan are our own. My point claiming the US to be the biggest player was an effort to make people realize that we as a nation are accepting the fact that we are governed not by our own but by those invisible hands for whom our lives are no more important than the disposable cups for taking their tea. Our people can have little regard for expressions like “greater good” or even “revolution for restoring justice” but try telling them that you are no longer sovereign or that one of our neighbours is goingvto launch an attack on us & see how they react or rather revolt. If u want corruption and nepotism to vanish make them realise what they are losing on the front of their sovereignity! These people can’t be conquered !

  41. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    July 30th, 2008 12:35 pm

    @ 17.15 hrs. EST onTV

    I hope you guys are listening to Pir Minister’s
    addressing to USA Pakistanis in Urdu. He is an FC
    educated. I just have to recite :

    Inna-lila-he-wa-inna-elaihey rajeoon !!
    Rafay Kashmiri

  42. Rasheed says:
    July 30th, 2008 4:27 pm

    Could someone please tell the Prime Minister and many other Pakistani commentators that the word is “sovereignty”, not “sovereign-i-ty”?

    Just want to be proud of him, not picking on him — his host Bush is worse in the way that he pronounces words – “ath-e-letes”; “nu-ciu-lear”, subliminimal, etc.


  43. Haadia says:
    July 30th, 2008 5:16 pm

    The ONLY line in the survey results that is really important is the one with the number of people who voted for Yusuf Raza Gillani……

    He has to be the single MOST UNPOPULAR or unpowerful Prime Minister in the world!

  44. Zahra Asif says:
    July 31st, 2008 10:42 am

    Its sad to witness that even having undergone a thourough electoral process, we, Pakistanis, still have a lame duck as our Prime Minister. Do we really see any difference vetween this governement and the previous one?

  45. MZ says:
    July 31st, 2008 12:10 pm

    Speak in Urdu to Pakistanis hasn’t bad impact. Most of the heads of countries to their nationals in their own language. I think we should appriciate Pakistaniat.

  46. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    July 31st, 2008 1:00 pm

    @ MZ,

    What shall I say ? interesting, between the lines !!
    The Jiyalah Pir Minister is to return, proving that he is
    not in-charge at all.

    “Khair se buddhu ghar ko lotey” ! reminds me of a beautiful
    punjabi muhawara !

    Hath puraney khoseray, Basantey auri aie !!

    Just listen to the TV tabsirahs and tajzias, discussing many
    ways, how to ” beg” money from a lover.

  47. Altaf says:
    July 31st, 2008 7:01 pm

    Hail mighty English linguist Mr Rasheed. However there are more important aspects to YRG’s visit & the questions surrounding our “sovereignty” (I hope I spelled correctly :D) that need our attention. It is because of this mentality that we still don’t have Urdu versions of professional disciplines’ syllabi or even an Urdu MS Windows. “Sovereign.i.ty”…..!! God help us…

  48. Badnaseeb Quoum says:
    August 1st, 2008 2:19 am

    How sad that a country full of talented people and these are the leaders we get-Musharraf, Zardari, Sharif, Fazlur Rahman. We really should be able to do better than this.

  49. Aqil Sajjad says:
    August 1st, 2008 12:25 pm

    Gillani is even worse than Shaukat Aziz. At least Shaukat was in charge of the economy and had an important position in policy making in that regard. Gillani is just a clerk for all practical purpose; Zardari makes the decisions and Gillani just does the paper work.

  50. meengla says:
    August 1st, 2008 7:58 pm

    I chose ‘All of the Above’ option. I think the power politics in Pakistan is changing since the (to Musharraf’s supporters) unexpected outcome of the Feb. 2008 elections. All major players are waiting to see where the proverbial camel is going to turn. Add in the American influence (do you kids know that how much Pakistanis economy is dependent on American-backed Western economies?) till at least the new administration in Washington takes power in January 2009 and so things are likely to stay in status quo mode until the pillars of power (Nawaz, Musharraf, Zardari, and even Kiani–the rest are just noises) make a move.

    Musharraf is relevent because of his 58-B. Nawaz can pinprick enough to create ‘conditions’ for sacking of the entire new setup. Zardari can turn Sindh into fire-and that will stay his ace card.

    Quit blaming the new govt! It is in a ‘power-sharing’ mode because of the ‘committments’ made during Sept/Oct 2007. But the PPP will never really sit in the lap of a dictator–and hence Musharraf’s increased anger against Zardari.

  51. QASIM USMANI says:
    August 2nd, 2008 1:57 am

    Here is what I think.
    Yousuf Reza Gillani is to Asif Ali Zardari what Fazal Elahi Chaudhry was to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

  52. Aamir Ali says:
    August 5th, 2008 12:53 am

    A pity Musharraf is no longer in power. Musharraf’s “democratic” replacement is Zardari, a crook and Nawaz Sharif, another crook. We also have their clerk YRG. In four months their greatest achivement is moving the clock one hour forward.

    I would take the Musharraf-Shaukat Aziz duo over these guys anyday.

  53. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    August 5th, 2008 4:40 am

    @ Aamir Ali,

    Mushy is from Karachi, therefore Secular, so according
    to your no fly zones division of Pakistan, he will belong to southern Pakistan ? Good news, can get rid of him !!

    Think tanks of USA have no more diesel in their “tanks”

    Rafay Kashmiri

  54. Muhammad Rizwan Malik says:
    August 7th, 2008 1:50 am

    The person in charge is Musharraf. Coz everybody else is new to da setup. Mush knows how things go nd he was ready for it. He jst waited behind da scenes, saw da country going through chaos, nd now dat da media has also started questioning da PMs authority nd gov’s capability, its only increasing Mush’s confidence in saying dat he is vital to da country.

  55. sabir ayub says:
    August 17th, 2008 2:15 am

    Dear Friends …

    Musaraf is the person of his word, just look back to 9 year in pakistan , where all poeple feel comfortable to work and have bussiness apart he was a army men, he give you the sence, what is the meaning of true pakistani..

    what other 2 give to pakistan : Zardari and Nawaz ??? they have been given twice the chance to server the stupid nation. but their crooks make all fortune for them selves… but still we been a nucler state nation are so talented, that we have chossen the thieves again to form the government…

    Just do one thing my all frined ????

    just for 2 min look at the faces of all 3 men..


    and you will sence all that who is commetted to his word and sincer to pakistan, and to the people of pakistan….

    just think… becouse you a human being, who can sence , think , act….

  56. Kasim says:
    November 15th, 2008 5:53 pm

    “Gillani is even worse than Shaukat Aziz. At least Shaukat was in charge of the economy and had an important position in policy making in that regard. Gillani is just a clerk for all practical purpose; Zardari makes the decisions and Gillani just does the paper work.”

    haha i have to agree with you. Gillani is just a clerk..

Have Your Say (Bol, magar piyar say)