Islamabad, Mar.13 (ANI): Is Pakistan headed for a government that is a refined form of the politico-military arrangement that prevails in neighboring Bangladesh? Ikram Sehgal, a writer on defence and political affairs certainly thinks so.
In an article for The News, Sehgal opines that the ongoing political confrontation in Pakistan can only end with an "ultimate answer" emanating from the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.
He further suggests that President Asif Ali Zardari and his inner coterie have been successful so far in side lining loyalists of his late wife Benazir Bhutto, and warns that Zardari is taking a calculated risk in gambling that the Army will remain a bystander while he emulates General Musharraf in requisitioning the powers of the prime minister into absolute presidential authority.
Zardari, he says, has been successful in nominating Law Minister Farooq Naek as the PPP's candidate for Senate president. This move, he says, has resulted in Senator Raza Rabbani, a man of outstanding character and integrity, resigning.
"Once Mr. Naek is in place, Gilani's days in the Prime Minister's House are numbered, and he probably senses it. Zardari is not known to tolerate dissent," Sehgal says.
The opposition, he adds, is exploiting this chink of opportunity, taking pains to absolve Gilani and the PPP (as a party) from the perceived presidential shenanigans.
He also believes that the army's role in the current political developments should not be underestimated as long as Musharraf occupies Army House.
His occupation of the Chief of Army Staff's official residence 17 months after retiring as the country's army chief should not be ignored or treated as insignificant.
According to Sehgal, "Musharraf is already signalling (to the US) that should Zardari not deliver, he is "able and willing" to resume being a "useful" president."
Is this plausible, and Sehgal says perhaps, but well nigh impossible, given Musharraf's widespread unpopularity within the Army.
"If the country goes to pieces, it would be difficult even for the Army to put it back together. Kayani (current army chief) should quietly counsel both the rulers and the opposition to do the right thing by the country," he concludes. (ANI)