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Coalition Breakup and Judges Issue

26 August, 2008

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The Pakistan Muslim League-N finally quit the five-month-old ruling coalition because of differences with the Pakistan People’s Party on the issues of reinstatement of the deposed judges and unilateral nomination of PPP co-chairman Asif Zardari as a presidential candidate.

The alliance has fallen apart only a week after the resignation of former president Pervez Musharraf.

“We have decided to quit the coalition and sit on the opposition benches in parliament,” PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif told a news conference after presiding over a joint meeting of the party’s Central Working Committee (CWC) and parliamentary group.

The PML-N chief accused Mr Zardari of repeatedly reneging on promises to reinstate the Judges.

The Pakistan Muslim League-N has parted ways with the Pakistan People’s Party and the muck has started flying. It is clear that the PML-N enjoys the high moral ground. The PPP finds itself helplessly mired in a compromise. The party which has had a history of reinventing itself after every death over the last four decades is over once again. What survives is its faction headed by Mr Asif Ali Zardari.

But the separation was not the biggest surprise of Monday. In fact the breakup of the coalition was a foregone conclusion the moment Gen Pervez Musharraf was removed from office on Aug 18. The surprise part was Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui’s nomination as the PML-N candidate to challenge Mr Zardari’s bid for the presidency.

In these times it is hazardous to venture a statement that appears to be even in the slightest condoning Mr Zardari’s evil designs, yet the PML-N tag on Justice Siddiqui in the race for presidency does corroborate and strengthen some old impressions.

The PPP has failed to restore the judges after committing to it more than once. This will be an open and shut case in a court, a court that is merely concerned with symptoms and not the causes. And this is how the media, and maybe the general public in many parts of the country, views Mr Zardari’s betrayal. That he has chosen to describe political agreements as unholy alliances made in expedient moments is most condemnable. Politically also it makes little sense since the PPP risks – or is almost certain of – losing popularity by dragging its feet on the judges issue. Why is it then that a scheming Mr Zardari, who is otherwise considered capable of deceiving a political stalwart of the stature of Mr Sharif and who can pull a fast one on the clever Maulana Fazlur Rehman, doing all this? The issue remains largely un-probed.

The PPP has since long been suspicious of the bondage between the lawyers’ struggle and PML-N’s politics. It is one thing a political party drawing street mileage from an association and another when this camaraderie manifests itself in the power equation. A judiciary in alliance with the political rivals would represent a real threat to you and any party, especially the one that is enjoying some power, would be wary of the partnership. The lawyers, or at least some members in their movement, have time and again displayed their partiality to the PML-N. Please recall. Despite a formal boycott by the lawyers of the Feb 18 election, some stalwarts of their movement had no hesitation in going over to the PML-N camp and administering to the party’s candidates in the polls an oath that committed them to the restoration of the judges.

If that incident was an indication of the politics to come, the Monday’s nomination of Justice (retired) Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui is a clear proof of the prevalent political polarisation which calls for precautionary measures on each player’s part. It will be difficult for anyone to prove their impartiality from now on.

  • After the breakup of coalition, would Zardari reinstate deposed judges?
  • Breakup, was a Nawaz politics or Zardari politics and how?
  • What will be the future of Pakistan`s Democracy after that breakup?
  • According to news, Zardari requested Nawaz to come back to coalition, would Nawaz join the coalition again?
  •  What do you think about the story ? Leave your comments!

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