Prime Minister Zardari? President Sharif?

Posted on April 20, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, People, Politics
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Adil Najam

As one reads the news from Pakistan and looks at the picture below, one cannot but help wonder what are these three gentlemen thinking; about each other and also about their own future?

Asif Zardari Yousuf Gillani Nawaz Sharif

In a land where speculation replaces analysis and conspiracy outdoes strategy, word is ripe that the eventual “unsteady” state might be one where we have a Prime Minister named Asif Zardari and a President named Nawaz Sharif? Could that really happen? And what where would that leave Yousuf Raza Gillani? What does Gen. Kiyani have to say about any of this? And what about Gen. Musharraf? He seems to have been relegated for the moment to attending cricket matches and lighting Olympic torches but one cannot image that to be a permanent occupation for him.

Noises from Islamabad seem to suggest that the musical chairs view of Pakistan politics is becoming dominant again. With the bye-elections around the corner, this is only to be expected.

According to The News, “Asif Ali Zardari has announced that he will be taking part in the coming by-elections and, if need be, he can become the prime minister.” The way this and other news items are worded, one wonders exactly what is meant by “if need be”? However, when one reads and listens to the actual BBC Urdu interview with Asif Zardari it seems quite clear that he is NOT (at least, not yet) stating any intent to become Prime Minister.

Asif Zardari was, in this case, responding to a somewhat badgering interviewer who first asked if the Party Chairperson should become Prime Minister; at which Asif Zardari responded that no, this was not necessary. On a follow-up question he seems to say that the Party Chairperson could become Prime Minister without in anyway signaling his own intent to do so. In listening to the interview and how the questions were phrased, it is not clear to me whether he could or should have responded differently. This does not mean that a “Prime Minister Zardari” may not become a reality. It does mean that the current spate of headlines on this should be taken less seriously than I first too them.

Of course, Aitizaz Ahsan has also filed for a ticket for the bye-elections and – if given the ticket and elected – one has to wonder just what role the PPP woudl actually give him or he would take. His stature in Pakistan politics has changed greatly over the last year and it is notquite clear just how accomodating the PPP may be of this new stature and the expectations it raises.

Meanwhile, the ambitions are much more clear on the PML-N side. Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz are all ready to file their nomination papers and have made quite clear that once elected they will run the show – at least in the Punjab – directly. The issue, of course, is that at least Nawaz Sharif’s aspirations have to be greater than just the Punjab.

31 responses to “Prime Minister Zardari? President Sharif?”

  1. Steve says:

    Heres what can happen…MARSHAL LAW…I think Musharraf should just get off his Marshal Law…and take control of everything.

    Everyone in Pakistan wants to be in the picture…Asif, Nawaz, Shahbaz, Aitizaz and God only knows…everything is out of control….everyone wants to be right..and look who is suffering…the People of Pakistan. I think we have made a mistake..we have allow this to happen, we have asked for Mushrraf to lose all his powers and now see what happen, everyone wants to be the law and no one gives a shit. When we had Mushrraf everything was okie..we had a future….we could help out..hes a great man and would listen to everyone.

    Once we had a dream…no….we cant even see a foot away from us…..

  2. Rafay Kashmiri says:

    @ Once upon a time there was a Chief Justice
    of Pakistan, Iftikhar….something !!
    and there were Pir Mian Zarbhutts defending him,
    then the funny song on you tube :

    Lara lappa, Lara lappa laie Rakhdah,
    Addi tappa addi tappa laie Rakhdah

    aur uskay ba’ad, Kahani khatam !!!!

  3. Salim says:

    Lal Salaam sahib PMship twice each is not enough time?
    There is a saying about bent dog tails and another one about ropes burnt but still twisted. My prediction is Zardari will accumulate even more ZAR this time. Sharif will be even less Sharif this time.If you look close it is already apparent from their shennigans.

  4. Rafay Kashmiri says:

    Mera sunder Sapnah toot Gaya,
    Mein Zia kay zamnay mein ai thi,
    Wo Ashraffi saghar toot gaya,
    Wo jawani meri rothe ga’i,
    Hunsnay ka behana chott gaya,
    Aur ” Lala Salaam Gul “,
    Bhutto ka Zamanah bhool gaya
    Mera sunder sapna……………………….

  5. Qureshj says:

    I am more and more convinced that Zardari is NOT going to become PM and will play the Sonia Gandhi role in Pakistan.

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