Editor’s Note: April 2010
Senator Raza Rabbani must be a very relieved man. The Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms has finally reached a consensus on the 18th Amendment. But the entire process was thrown into jeopardy when the PML-N decided to do a volté face at the eleventh hour.
It raised objections on the renaming of the NWFP and the composition of the judicial commission, allegedly following a phone call from a certain quarter, that left even its own party members in a state of shock.
Of late, the PML-N has been behaving rather suspiciously, leading one to ask, what exactly is its game plan?
While on the one hand, it professes to be a great supporter of democracy and desirous of seeing the PPP government complete its term, on the other, it is increasingly resorting to obstructionist politics at every turn. And pretending to be holier than the Pope.
Why, only recently the younger Sharif pleaded with the Taliban to spare the Punjab (and bomb everyone else?) because the PML-N had always been on the same page as them – in opposing Musharraf, the Americans and the Kerry-Lugar Bill, etcetera. This statement brought to the fore PML-N’s duplicity on two counts: Firstly, for a party that claims to be a national party to take a Punjab-centric position and then proceed to cover up its faux pas with lame excuses is not exactly kosher.
If the PML-N is, indeed, a national party, how does it explain its pleadings to the Taliban to spare the Punjab to the exclusion of all other provinces that have suffered excessive brutality.
Secondly, it maintains it is a progressive party. If that be the case, why is it building common cause with the murderers of its countrymen?
Every once in a while, the PML-N let down their guard to reveal the jihadi chinks in their armour. Only recently their law minister was seen hobnobbing with members of the erstwhile Sipah-e-Sahaba (now Jamaat-e-Ahle Sunna) in a bid to secure votes in a by-election.
Moreover, the PML-N has continued to deny the presence of the Taliban in the Punjab, despite their sightings and their untoward activities in the province and elsewhere.
Is the PML-N hoping to make political gains out of these extremists in their backyard some time in the near future? It’s time the Sharifs emerged from the shadows of their mentor, Zia-ul-Haq – the canny dictator responsible for most of the ills that plague this country today. And now that the 17th Amendment has been struck down, the Sharifs need to end their political posturing and strike a working relationship with the PPP.
Frankly speaking, the nation is getting a bit tired of the constant tug of war between the centre and the Punjab – and, additionally, the centre and the judiciary.
The PML-N aside, the judiciary (its noble aims notwithstanding) also needs to take a step back and consider the consequences of the constant friction between the various arms of the state.
The masses desperately want the respective centres of power to settle down and start to deliver. This country is running out of time.
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