Friday, February 27, 2009

Democracy is not dead in Pakistan, but common sense may be.

BUFFETED as it is by crises, the PPP-led federal government has been astonishingly cavalier in adding to its already long list of challenges. Take for a minute the PPP at its word that it deplores the Supreme Court’s disqualification of Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif and then it still hopes to carry forward its agenda of national reconciliation.
Yet, within hours of the disqualification, the PPP, in an egregious act of commission, imposed governor’s rule in Punjab. The order for governor’s rule was issued by President Zardari, the advice to do so was tendered by Prime Minister Gilani and the power to administer Punjab has been handed to Governor Taseer.

All three belong to the PPP. The government they removed was led by the PML-N, a party which holds nearly 50 per cent of the seats in the Punjab Assembly. Scrutinised from any angle, it is obvious that the PPP has fired the first salvo in what is shaping up to be a fierce clash with the PML-N.


Surely, whatever legal complications there may be, the collective will of parliament can find a way to allow two of Pakistan’s most popular politicians to contest elections.

Instead, the PPP has opted for a dangerous path of confrontation.


The PML-N may take to the streets in Punjab and threaten a severe law and order crisis. The lawyer’s long march may now culminate in violent confrontation. The federation may feel the strains of pitting the largest province against the centre. And on the back-burner may go the country’s serious crises of militancy, the economy and governance. Democracy is not dead in Pakistan, but common sense may be.

Ref: Dawn Editorial on Zardari & Taseer's latest brainfart!

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