American recipe, Pakistani ingredients
By Imtiaz Gul
Weekly Pulse, Islamabad March 27, 2008
Long before the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) decided to distance itself from the King's Party – the beleagured Q-League – and throw its weight behind the Asif Zardari-driven coalition government, US power brokers had promised Benazir Bhutto to get the MQM on board after the elections.
A former minister, who claimed to have been privy to President Pervez Musharraf's direct and indirect parleys with Ms Bhutto, told the Pulse that MQM's support for the PPP-led coalition was a foregone conclusion.
"Benazir Bhutto knew she would not get enough votes to rule alone, so she kept asking as to how would she manage," recalled the minister. But the US interlocutors promised to deliver MQM in her hands, the minister recalled.
It is basically an American recipe – the most preferred option -, the minister said, with Pakistani ingredients.
The composition of the new government clearly synchs in with the American preferred option i.e. keep Nawaz Sharif out and glue the rest together under the PPP flagship. This way the US administration desired to fend off possible challenges to President Pervez Musharraf. The president and his men on their part worked over time to make most members of the Q-League acceptable to the PPP. The Americans, say diplomatic sources, also favoured the option of a Q-League minus the Chaudhrys. "The idea was to have a weak coalition virtually led by Mr Zardari who the establishment thought was manageable.
The party then continued with this policy turn-around even after Bhutto's assassination on December 27, and the PPP only hesitantly agreed to join ranks with Nawaz Sharif under the Murree Accord which committed both to work for judges restoration within 30 days of the National Assembly session.
The judges have been freed but what formula would ensure their restoration – if at all? It is most probably being worked out by the legal wizards of all the stakeholders. Observers however keep asking as to why legal remedies are being sort for undoing illegal acts (proclamation of emergency on Nov 3 and all the consequences thereof?
People like Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan also believe that since Nov 3 and the actions thereafter were all unconstitutional, no parliamentary resolution or a ruling by the Supreme Court is required to reverse all those acts. This issue will most probably also test the limits of the new legislatures.
The writer heads the Centre for Research and Security Studies, Islamabad