20 September, 2010
By Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)
Shaheen Sehbai writes in the ‚ÄúViewpoint‚ÄĚ September 17th, that Zardari ditched Nawaz Sharif after grabbing key seats to power and now MNS has no option but to sink alongwith Zardar and share the blame [of bad governance] just because he couldn‚Äôt forego the small bit of power he got in Punjab. I beg to differ with Mr. Sehbai.
As a matter of fact MNS has out-manoeuvred Zardari in the game of power politics and he would soon come out in the open on or after December 8th, 2010 when he completes the 10 year deal period and will be free from the bond of not taking part in politics. In 2008 elections MNs had calculated correctly that though Makhdoom Fahim Ameen‚Äôs PPPP (and not Zardari‚Äôs PPP which had boycotted the elections) would win marginally, because of the sympathy vote that it will get from the emotional jialas and Pakistanis on the recent dem ise of BB, but not to the degree of giving them an absolute majority. As such there would be a hung parliament. Zardari taking over control of the PPPP ‚Äď I don‚Äôt know legally how ‚Äď wooed MNS for the coalition and offered him 9 ministries some important one like the ministry of finance. MNS ‚Äúreluctantly‚ÄĚ ‚Äď as he says ‚Äď accepted it for the sake of democracy and made his ministers take the oath from the dictator.
In fact in the ‚Äėdeal‚Äô he ensured Punjab ‚Äď a real power base of Pakistan politics - for his younger brother. MNS knew from day one that the task of (good) governance was beyond Zardari and his team. That they would make mistakes ‚Äď nay blunders - and in the process expose themselves fully and naked. He pulled out his 9 ministers at the first opportunity, ostensibly on a point of difference, but actually not to share bad governance blame alongwith the PPP any more. And yet, the ML(N ) assured Zardari of its full co-operation and not let th! e democr acy be derailed. He further assured him that from here onwards ML(N) would play the role of a friendly opposition.
Friendly opposition ‚Äď the very name smacks of a mockery as opposition cannot be friendly. Its only role is to keep the government on its toes and not let it do anything improper. Contrarily, MNS has given them an almost free hand to do whatever they liked, to the extent of disobeying and even confronting the higher judiciary. In an effort to keep their image somewhat clean Messer MNS, MSS and Ch. Nisar etc. do fire a statement sporadically here and there against the government but not strong enough to be taken notice of. It is again part of a well planned strategy to let the government make further blunders and get denigrated further among the masses.
Now that the time of the 10 year deal is nearing to a close MNS is becoming gradually more vocal. He has now openly started talking of bringing about a change of govern ment in a democratic way. He has warned that if need be a long march like that of the black coats could also be organised. He has about 80 days (till December 8th 2010) to build up the momentum of his confrontational tactics and challenge the government by which time he hopes that the masses would be fed up with the rulers and ready to side with him. With the third time PM ban gone with the 18th amendment there seems not much to impede his way to the PM House. If it happens so, there will be none else to blame for it except Mr. Zardari and company.