Pakistan's political crisis hints at possibility of change

Lahore, Jan.5 (ANI): The shaken-up coalition democratic set up in Pakistan, a frontline ally of America in its deepened "war on terror," has triggered a serious political crisis, indicating the possibility of an orchestration in the country's internal and external dynamics in the future.

Leaving the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) with less than half the number of total seats in the National Assembly and the Senate (Lower and Upper Houses), two major partners - the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) with 25 seats and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazal (JUIF) with eight seats, have declared that they will sit in the opposition. The situation is threatening the survival of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and his government if any of the 68 members of the House bring a no confidence motion against the Prime Minister on grounds that he has lost majority.

For the past few days, President Asif Ali Zardari, who is the co-chairperson of the ruling PPP, is camping in Karachi, hoping for some successful dialogues to bring an angry MQM back into the ruling coalition by offering it certain deals.

Similarly, the Prime Minister is desperately looking for support from the two major opposition parties - the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pervez Musharraf's orchestrated PML- Q (Quaid-e-Azam) - beseeching them not to be part of any no-confidence move against him and to back the PPP to save its almost-three year-old elected set up after nine years of Pervez Musharraf's dictatorship and his rubber stamped assemblies.

Though the crisis is on, it seems the government can survive without any change for some more time, as, inside gurus believe, both Muslim Leagues have backed the PPP regime to continue in the name of continuity of democracy, and maybe, when the political situation stabilizes, they can consider taking advantage of its governance-related failures and call for mid-term elections. Both Muslims Leagues, who can be decisive factors in toppling the PPP government in the National Assembly, actually do not want to become part of any alliance, but would back the PPP to improve governance, which they believe it would not be able to do.

The Muslim League factor seems to be an attempt to kill two birds with one stone by standing along with democracy with outside support, while at the same time, seeking to push it into a deep ditch, saying it has failed to deliver.

Analysts believe that despite this crisis, the biggest danger to the PPP is her own bad performance. The military establishment is also said to be unhappy with the PPP performance and its mode of governance.n the other side, many circles also link this suddenly developed political crisis to the external dynamics of Pakistan.

The crisis has surfaced over the trivial issue of the sacking of a JUIF minister by the Prime Minister and also due to the increase in petrol prices (price review of which is a monthly routine in the country).

Political pundits believe the uncertainty will help the country's army to further delay America's high pitched demand for military strikes in North Waziristan to wipe out Al-Qaeda and Taliban ally groups, who are freely operating in the country's tribal bad lands.

A recent report appeared in the Washington Post that said America has failed convince Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani about launching a full fledged offensive in North Waziristan. This is one example of disagreement between the Pakistan Army and the United States on policy implementation. This disagreement was also observed in the Pak-US strategic dialogues held in Washington last October.

The shaping up of the crisis has started the beginning of the end of the badly governed democratic set up of the PPP. It is a curtain raiser to change the internal and external landscape according to the thoughts of country's "real" power holder-the military establishment, either by further shaking up the political set up or putting in place a technocrat government, while moulding American policies towards Pakistan's "national interests." (ANI)

Attn: News Editors/News Desks: The views expressed in the above article are that of Mr. Ali Waqar (ANI)

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