Monday, November 26, 2007

A new era of power struggles in Pakistan...
the same ol' players

Nawaz Sharif has returned to Pakistan. And unlike his previous attempt, where he was immediately deported, he now has a tentative welcome from Musharraf.

It's hard to tell whether Sharif unpacked, or
prepared files to run for PM in the Jan elections first. But there's no denying Sharif is back, and again ready to take control... and pontificating all the "right" phrases.

On his return on Sunday, Sharif vowed to “continue his fight against dictatorship”.

In his brief address at the airport in Lahore, he said: “Pakistan was not created for dictators or emergencies. It was created for democracy and the rule of law. I am here to play my role in ridding the country of dictatorship and bringing back the rule of law.”

About boycotting the next elections, he said the All Parties Democratic Movement - an alliance of parties opposed to Musharraf's rule - would assess the situation after the expiry of the four-day notice it had given to the government.

“But the movement is committed to democracy and constitutionalism. That is why it has demanded restoration of the judiciary to its pre-Nov 3 position.”

Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan on 3 November, citing rising extremism and an unruly judiciary. He sacked several Supreme Court judges who had shown judicial independence and replaced them with other judges.

Sharif, told the crowd that he had not come to the country under any deal.

“My roots are among the masses and I will never ditch them. I will live and die for the people of Pakistan,” he said amid a thunderous applause.

What a laugh... the words "democracy and constitutionalism" now bandied about by Sharif is truly a publicity campaign that belies Sharif's history. This is no pro-western, pro-freedom leader, as he or unsuspecting, history challenged western media would have us believe.

Even from the not-so-western-friendly
Al Jazeera profile site

As chief minister of the populous Punjab from 1988 to 1990, Sharif challenged Bhutto, who became prime minister after Zia's death in an aeroplane explosion.

Sharif - with the military's blessing - was elected prime minister after Bhutto's dismissal in 1990, but after three years he was sacked on corruption charges following differences with Ghulam Ishaq Khan, the then-president.

Instead of accepting the dismissal, Sharif launched a scathing attack on Khan, considered his former mentor and top representative of the military-led establishment.

Second term

Sharif bounced back to the premiership in 1996 after the dismissal of Bhutto's second government on corruption charges.

He then won a massive two-thirds majority in 1997 elections, which emboldened him to take on the army - the institution which has ruled Pakistan for more than half its existence since independence 60 years ago.

Sharif also moved to increase the powers of his office, reversing a constitutional amendment that allowed the president to dismiss the prime minister.

Later, Pakistan's western allies grew concerned when he sought to introduce sharia (Islamic law), with himself as the so-called "commander of the faithful".

Let's review... Changing the constitution to increase his power and insure he couldn't be canned as PM, corruption charges (like Bhutto), and convicted (with life sentence imposed) for hijacking, attempted murder and terrorism. Then, of course, there's that pesky attempt to instill Shariah law in Pakistan. Sounds like a staunch freedom & democracy lover to me... not.

This is no new welcome entity in Pakistan. Sharif, who appointed Musharraf as chief of the army, did work side by side until they parted ways over Sharif's personal power quest and plans for making Pakistan a strict Islam nation.

So the big three are back... slugging it out for Pakistan's future. AQ is building up in Afghanistan, wearing Taliban insignias. And this would not make Musharraf a happy camper.

The battles for Pakistan, and for Lebanon - where pro Syrian/Hezbollah and pro-democracy govt entities, sans a stepped down President, battle for control while the country remains under control of the military - are two important one's to be watched. Both nations are important in the battle to contain the global Islamic jihad movement.

1 comment:

Alia said...

You are right: Pakistan and Lebanon are very important. So important, already China and India appear on the edge of erupting, and I'm not referencing earthquakes and hurricanes.