Where are the political and media pundits who have prospered on the crumbs thrown at them by the establishment and its agencies? Why don’t we have a front page story from Ansar Abbasi that Nawaz Sharif is sabotaging the repeal of the 17th amendment? Why don’t the TV channels ask Nawaz Sharif why he is going back on the Charter of Democracy he signed with Benazir Bhutto? Where are the paid agents of the establishment like Dr Shahid Masood quiet on this? Why do the champions of the lawyers movement and the bar associations silent on what is literally an assault on the most serious and biggest attempt so far since 1977 to restore the constitution to its original shape?
The answer is simple. Nawaz Sharif’ is an illegitimate political child of Zia ul Haq. He stands for autocratic, hypocritical and corrupt style of governance as long as it suits him. He came from political wilderness after having failed to land in Islamabad. It was only Benazir Bhutto’s astute political strategy that enabled him to make a come back. He was foolishly for boycott but only Benazir and the PPP persuaded him to participate out of a genuine desire to create a stable system. The establishment, ever fearful of a PPP’s clear majority, helped him win more seats in Punjab that he actually won and ditched even Chaudhry Shuajaat.
But old habits die hard. Hiding behind the issue of the restoration of the judges, he continued to conspire with his friends in the judiciary now that Musharraf was out of the picture. These elements are inside the establishment as well as in the media. But their core is in Punjab. Behind the solgans of Islamisation, independent judiciary, and a hypocritical compaign against corruption, lie the vested interests of Central and Northern Punjab. The game has been to create such a huge constitutional crisis that would result in mid-term poll. Nawaz had to tread carefully for the fear that he too could be out the game.
Nawaz was hoping that Zardari would not agree to repeal the key provisions of the 17th amendment and Nawaz would have a chance to launch another ‘movement’. So far he had walked into Nawaz’s trap and obviously he is not a politician as Benazir was. However, Zardari seemed to have learnt his lessons. He decided to trust the old PPP guard and let Raza Rabbani’s committee do its job. When after months of hard work and negotiations, the committee -that had senior most PML-N MNAs as its members – had reached a consensus and it became clear that the PPP government was very near to perhaps the most historic political achievement since the 1973 constitution, Nawaz, at the intructions of a ‘hidden power’, decided to throw a spanner in the works. How could they swallow the passage of the constitutional reforms that would take away not only dictatorial powers from the President (historically a symbol or stooge of the ruling establishment) but also give more autonomy to the provinces? Tactically, what would be an excuse to launch a movement against Zardari and the PPP after the repeal of the 17th amendment?
Hence the midnight jackals went into high gear and used their old illegitimate child to strike again. But it could be a little late. There has been a huge outcry against Nawaz Sharif’s sudden somersault. He may not be able to face the pressure not only from the PPP and other parties but also from elements from within his own party who must be quite embarrassed. Now the PPP must seize the initiative and for once stop explaining and compromising. It should go public and tell the media and the people of Pakistan that it is ready to repeal the 17th amendment and implement the COD. The only obstacle is the Amir-ul-Momaineen.