It is the same PPP which had been known as a symbol of resistance against oppression, dictatorship and foreign involvement in national politics. Back in 70s, the PPP managed to establish its roots in the people because of its clear and bold stance on every issue of the national importance, whether it was the nuclear power issue, the Kashmir issue or the issue of POWs of the 1971 war. When the US tried to interfere in the Pakistan’s nuclear affairs, the then PM of Pakistan, ZA Bhutto daringly stated ‘US or anyone has no right to comment on this issue, its our personal matter and we won’t allow anyone to interfere in this.’ The same leader having a clear stance on the Kashmir issues walked out of the Security Council meeting in the UN saying ‘I won’t sit here to waste my time. We are going. We will go back and fight !’ Alas, the PPP of the yesteryears has lost its image.
It was very sad to know the stance of PPP about the most important issue on hand this 4th of April, when it was commemorating the death anniversary of the great leader, ZA Bhutto. In an after-dinner gathering of the PPP CEC at Naudero, Zardari ticked off the leader of the lawyers movement and a popular PPP member and former interior minister, Aitzaz Ahsan, on the issue of the restoration of Judiciary. He blamed Aitzaz for uselessly threatening the PPP government over the said issue. As per the media reports:
“Zardari took Aitzaz to task for constantly threatening to launch a long march to force parliament to restore Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry and the other deposed judges. Zardari advised Aitzaz to go ahead with his long march if he was so keen on it instead of constantly threatening the PPP about it. He told Aitzaz that he was wrong to think that the lawyers movement had forced General Pervez Musharraf to take off his uniform or hold the elections. He said that honour belonged to Benazir Bhutto who had compelled Musharraf to do so and paid for it with her life. He said the entire credit for restoration of democracy went to Ms Bhutto and Aitzaz and the judges and lawyers could not rob her of her victory. Zardari also reminded Aitzaz that while he was incarcerated for eight long years none of these heroic judges had given him justice, even when he had asked for one day’s reprieve to attend a funeral of a close relative. Zardari is reported to have said that Justice Chaudhry had politicised himself overtly and ruined his case as an advocate for an independent judiciary. He also cited other instances when some of these judges had not conducted themselves with any degree of integrity or independence in the past. Aitzaz tried a feeble defence but could not deflect Zardari’s irritation.”
A day later, Jahangir Badr, the Secretary General of the PPP blatantly accused the leaders of the lawyers movement of trying to shift the focus from real issues of the people to their personal ones. He added that the real issues are price hike and insecurity and not the restoration of Judiciary. Prior to this, Shery Rehman and others from PPP were observed shifting their stance on the restoration of Judiciary from ‘Judiciary will be restored as per Murree declaration’ to ‘Judiciary will be restored as per Murree declaration and the Charter of Democracy’. The clause 2 of the Murree Declaration signed by PPP and PMLN states ‘This has been decided in today’s summit between the PPP and the PML (N) that the deposed judges would be restored, on the position as they were on November 2, 2007, within 30 days of the formation of the federal government through a parliamentary resolution.’ Why does the PPP now need to introduce “Charter of Democracy” to this clear stance agreed upon earlier? This latest addition paves the way for the ‘Minus-One’ formula proposed Senator Latif Khosa of the PPP a month back. The Minus-One formula suggests restoring the deposed judges but not the Chief Justice.
PPP is indeed misreading the strength of the lawyers movement which is now backed by the civil society, students and the media as well. If a dictator could not weaken this movement despite the brutality of mass arrests, baton charging, tear gas and what not, how can a democratic government do so? Will they afford to baton charge or arrest thousands protesting for the restoration of Judiciary? Can they arrest their very own voters who will be protesting for a promise not fulfilled ?
Judiciary is not the only issue where PPP deceives the nation, it does the same in the Musharraf issue. None from the PPP ever declared its clear approach towards Musharraf. They have tactfully hidden their approach towards ‘working with Musharraf’ whenever they were asked. Ahmed Mukhtar, a PPP minister and senior leader praising Musharraf said ‘he is an asset to the nation’. Since the day they got into power, they have not clearly shown their dissent for Musharraf. When the elected representatives of the PML(N) clearly showed their dissent with the illegal President on the oath taking ceremony by wearing black arm-bands, not standing in his respect and boycotting the tea after the ceremony, the PPP was all out of this symbolic protest. It definitely is getting clearer that the PPP is going to be on-board with the much hated dictator Musharraf which is like insulting the millions of Pakistanis who voted in its favor. PPP should not forget that the mandate they enjoy today is simply an anti-Musharraf vote. The people of Pakistan took the 18 February elections as a referendum on the legitimacy of Musharraf. The people defeated the Musharraf-supporting-parties to show their strong dissent with him. Will PPP afford to work with a man who has lost his credibility and has gained severe hatred from the people of Pakistan?
On an equally disturbing note, why did the PPP Co-Chairman went to the US Embassy to meet Negroponte and Boucher when they visited Pakistan. When leaders of other parties like ANP and PML (N) can ask them to come to their place to discuss the issues why can’t the leader of the single largest party do so? When will we learn to give them only the due respect?
When PPP is still creating the fog out there and deceiving the masses, just a quick reminder to it by the people of Pakistan as per their verdict on 18th of February 2008:
- * * Restoration of Judiciary
- * * Getting rid of Musharraf
- * * No foreign involvement in National Politics
- * * An end to the so-called ‘War-On-Terror’
I have been observing many banners on the roads saying ‘Bhutto say Wafadaari – Zardari Zardari’. If PPP will keep acting like this, I wonder how long will they be able to survive playing this double-game? Soon there will be millions to chant ‘Bhutto se Ghaddari – Zardari Zardari.’
To end up, I am an optimist and still hopeful that the current PPP leadership will revive the spirit of the ZA Bhutto before they end up being just-another-pro-establishment-party.