Critical Questions for Pakistan: President, Judges, Coalition, Awam

Posted on August 19, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Politics
116 Comments
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Adil Najam

One of the most important decision in Pakistan’s political history was made yesterday when Gen. Pervez Musharraf was made to resign from the Presidency. Equally, and possibly more, important decisions are being made right now by the political leadership of the ruling coalition. It is these decisions being made now that will ultimately effect not only the immediate but the long-term future of the country and which will, in many ways, determine the real significance of the decision made yesterday.

As the political leadership of the country continues its deliberations four questions in particular seem critical. The answers they come up will will impact what happens to Pakistan politics as well as what happens to Pakistan’s political leadership itself.

On each of the following four key decision points, what do you think will happen? What do you think should happen?


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Question #1. Who will replace Gen. Pervez Musharraf as President of Pakistan?
The names being thrown around, some I think less seriously than others, include those of Afsaryab Khattak, Afsandyar Wali Khan, Fazlur Rahman, Dr Fehmida Mirza, Aftab Shaaban Mirani, Faryal Talpur, Attaullah Mengal, Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui, Mehmood Achakzai, Aitizaz Ahsan, Rana Bhagwandas, Fakharuddin Ibrahim, and many others. As important as the choice of the President is the signal it will send about whether the nature and powers of the President will also be cut down or not. What do you think will happen? What do you think should happen?

Question #2. Will Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and his fellow judges be restored? And when?
The really important question here is the “when”. PML(N) wants the judges to be restored immediately. If they are not, what signal will this send to the PML(N) and the country about their role and power within the ruling coalition? What, really, are the pros and cons of an early restoration, and for whom? The one question that may be even more important than the “when” question here, is the “under what conditions” question. That is the question one hears less about but will may ultimately determine what comes, or does not come, out of the judges moevement. What do you think will happen? What do you think should happen?

Question #3. What is the future of the ruling coalition itself?
The ruling coalition was really constructed as a coalition against Gen. Musharraf. Its primary purpose was to remove Gen. Musharraf from office. It has been spectacularly successful in doing that. What now? Will it survive? In what form? Should it survive at all? Will it be more healthy if PML(N) now becomes a parliamentary opposition which, in a functioning democracy, is as important as a government? What do you think will happen? What do you think should happen?

Question #4. What about the survival issues of the Pakistani awam: Bijli, Paani, Nokri, Naan?
Ultimately, this is the most important question of all. Till now, with a visibly divided government, the political parties could ward of part of the economic woes faced by ordinary Pakistanis to Gen. Musharraf and his past policies. Now, they will have to – and quickly – demonstrate that they can and will do something about these major crises. It is not clear what they plan to, or even can, do. But if they don’t their popularity will be seriously imperiled. What do you think will happen? What do you think should happen?

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116 responses to “Critical Questions for Pakistan: President, Judges, Coalition, Awam”

  1. Shahid says:

    @abdullah…

    Laughing at your comment “Pakistan ki registry apne naam karwa lo Zardari sahib.” its really funny and right to the point! :-)

    Zardari nay iss beywaqoof awam ki wajha say registry already apne naam karwa li hai!!

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