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Non-political Prime Minister

10 April, 2007

By Syed A. Mateen


Shaukat Aziz takes oath as Prime Minister of Pakistan

President General Pervez Musharaff is a not political person, so one should not expect from the President that he will also act as a seasoned politician of the country. At the time when President took over the country in a bloodless coup in 1998, he told to the nation that Mr. Shaukat Aziz is going to join the government to look after the economic affairs and would prove to be the best economic manager of Pakistan. Mr. Shaukat Aziz (who is on long leave from City Bank) flew from USA and came to Pakistan to join Musharaff’s government. He was initially inducted as Federal Minster of Finance. 

President General Pervez Musharraf admiring the capability of Mr. Shaukat Aziz told him to contest in the general elections held in 2002. Mr. Shaukat Aziz participated and after winning the elections, he became the member of National Assembly. The President General Pervez Musharaff wanted Mr. Shaukat Aziz to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan, as the President thought the he would be the best person for the top slot.

Mr. Shaukat Aziz was then chosen by the members of the National Assembly as the leader of the house and finally became the Prime Minister. After the 2002 elections, a new government in Pakistan came into existence headed by a non-political President General Pervez Musharraf coupled with the non-political Prime Minister Mr. Shaukat Aziz. 

Being a non political Prime Minister, Mr. Shaukat Aziz could not properly mange to handle the political affairs of the country and all political matters were either referred to the then Minister of Information Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed to reply, or to Chaudhry Shujat Hussain, Chief of PML(Q) and to Mr. Mushahid Hussain Syed, Secretary General of PML(Q) for holding press conferences and briefing print and electronic media from time to time..

It was the ill advice of the non-political Prime Minister Mr. Shaukat Aziz who under his supervision got the reference prepared against the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry from the law ministry and sent it to the President for further action.

Probably by sending the reference to the President, the Prime Minister wanted to take revenge from the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, who upheld the sale of Pakistan Steel Mills to a group including Arif Habib a personal friend of the Prime Minister just for US $ 362 million, against its actual worth of US$ 5 billion.

Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry by upholding the sale of Pakistan Steel Mills has saved the government from serious financial losses which could have occurred from the sale proceeds of Pakistan Steel Mills through Privatization Commission, the process of which was completed in haste in 30 minutes to the please the Prime Minister’s friend and his group.

After receiving the reference from the Prime Minister, the President discussed the matter with the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry in the meeting held at his camp office and subsequently government declared Chief Justice as “non-functional”. 

The President then referred the matter under Article 209 of the Constitution of Pakistan to Supreme Judicial Council for investigating the charges levelled against the Chief Justice, and meanwhile, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry was sent on "forced leave" by the government.

Mr. Shaukat Aziz sent the reference to the President against the Chief Justice of Pakistan at a juncture when President General Pervez Musharraf was preparing to get himself elected for another five years term, without evaluating the fall out that country will be pushed into deep political crises.

The reaction of the lawyers all over the country were seen on the streets, who chanted slogans against the President General Pervez Musharraf and his government and Pakistan became the focal point of local and international media. This also created ill feelings amongst the countrymen against the President and his government. Had Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz been from a political back ground, he would have waited until such time that the President would have taken a vote of confidence and got himself re-elected for another term of five years.

The untimely, miscalculated and ill advised reference of the non-political Prime Minister Mr. Shaukat Aziz against the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry has not only created judicial crises in the country, but has also deteriorated the image of Pakistan in the world.

Under the present circumstances, it would be better for the Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz to resign from his job and go back to join the City Bank in US, so that the vacancy should be filled by some other seasoned political Prime Minister having sound political background. 

Had there be a Prime Minister with political background, the present judicial crises would not have surfaced and the government would have prevented from unnecessary embarrassment.

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