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?

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

  1. ABDULLAH says:

    Musharraf’s end came because of the Judges issue and Zardari’s end will come because of Judges too.

  2. Khan Baba says:

    @meengla:

    A simple lesson in mathematics….and history…..who won the elections? Mujeeb or ZAB? And by what percentage?

    The self proclaimed Champion of Democracy couldn’t stomach the idea of having the power shift to the deserved winners……flaunted the rules of the same democracy he was preaching. Must credit you with at least one correct point though……he manipulated the Army as well as the bureaucracy for his personal benefit. Army being Fools? Perhaps you are right again. No wonder they were fools enough to be used against the Baluch population, in 70s as well as now.

    By the way, the “Idher tum udher…..” comment is recorded in history no matter which way you want to read it.

  3. abdullah says:

    Humble adventures of the next President Asif Ali Zardari:
    In 1990, Zardari was arrested on charges of blackmail, based on allegations that he attached a bomb to a Pakistani businessman, Murtaza Bukhari, and forced him to withdraw money from his bank account.

    in August 2004, Zardari finally admitted owning a

  4. meengla says:

    @KhanBaba,
    Nope. Yahya was in-charge in Pakistan between 1969-1971. He held all power, especially since Pakistan was under a Martial Law. He could have had ZAB’s head on a platter if he wanted to.
    It were the khakis’ desks where ‘the bucked stopped’ and it is they who are to be blamed. AND it is they who, realizing a lost cause, asked Bhutto to return to Pakistan and assume charge after the khakis gently nudged Yahya Khan away. I would think if ZAB was responsible he would not be invited back to Pakistan and assume power? Unless one thinks that the army is led by fools who can be manipulated by politicians in opposition to the extent to lose a war and divide the country.
    If the army is really that bad then, logically, Pakistan is doomed anyway, with or without people like ZAB?
    Quit living in some out of context remarks like ‘Idhr Hum Udhr Tum’ conspiracies. Isn’t it enough that the khakis hanged him and under their rule his daughter was slaughtered?

  5. Khan Baba says:

    @meengla:

    – What accountability for a ‘civil leader’ are you talking about!? As though it has ever happened in the past.

    – History speaks otherwise as to who was responsible for dismembering this country the last time it happened. It was a power hungry politician using the Khakis to his own lustful benefit.

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