LAHORE - Under the current volatile situation, the Pakistan Peoples’ Party believes that the PML-N government is going to rock the boat of democracy through its confrontational policy which may lead to a situation wherein all the political parties would be left high and dry.
The PPP leadership thinks that uncompromising attitude of the government had become a serious threat to the democratic system and it was vital that PML-N leaders review their style of governance. The rank and file of PPP believe that PML-N is creating troubles for all political parties by its belligerent politics which, they think, may lead to roll back of the system.
“If there is no democracy, political parties have no business to do in Pakistan,” a PPP leader observed, adding that his party would play its role to save the system.
Background interviews and discussions with senior PPP leaders suggest that they want the PML-N to reconcile with the establishment as well as the rival political forces for the sake of democracy.
Though the PPP has made it clear time and again that it would not become part of any conspiracy to derail the system, but at the same time it also expects the PML-N to mend its fences with the powers-that-be and deal with the political opponents politically.
“It is for this reason that Asif Ali Zardari has advised the elder Sharif to consider the PTI demand of recounting the ballots in the four constituencies. He has also advised the government to hold dialogue with Dr Qadri to defuse the tension”, said a PPP source, who also warned that if the PML-N tried to take the confrontation to a point of no return, the PPP would definitely jump into the arena to save the system by any means.
The PPP leaders are also interpreting former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s pro-establishment statement in the same perspective. Gilani, few days back, served a reminder on the PML-N leadership to abide by their commitment and let the former army chief go without any trial. This is an issue which seems to be a main source of tension between the military and the government at the moment.
The PPP wants the PML-N to deal with the military as it did during its five-year tenure. A PPP leader recalled that the then PPP government had avoided confrontation with the establishment at least on five occasions.
First, it retreated from its stated position on the issue of restoration of deposed judges in March 2009. Former President Zardari was against the restoration of deposed judges. The lawyers launched vigorous campaign for the reinstatement of the judges including Iftikhar Muhammad Ch and Nawaz Sharif led a long march on Islamabad. The then Army Chief General Kayani intervened. He pressured the government to restore the judges. The PPP-government gave in and the judges were restored before the long march could reach the capital.
The same year in October 2009, the government again found itself face-to-face with the military establishment at the time of passage of the Kerry Lugar Bill some of whose conditions were interpreted by the army as direct intervention into its affairs. The government had to get those provisions changed through its diplomatic channels to avoid confrontation with the army.
Another controversy arose in 2011 when the Army Chief Gen Kayani and the ISI DG General Pasha put pressure on President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani asking them to sack their envoy in the United States, Mr Husain Haqqani, for his alleged involvement in the memo issue.
In the aftermath of Osama’s raid of May 2, 2011, it was then alleged that President Zardari who at that time feared a military takeover, had conveyed a secret message to General Mike Mullen of US seeking his help to avert a possible coup which the military might be planning. A US businessman of Pakistan origin, Mr Mansoor Ejaz had claimed that Ambassador Haqqani had emailed him the memo to be delivered to Mr Mike Mullen. Asif Zardari had to sack one of his trusted aides, again to save his government.
The PPP-led government was under strain yet again in 2012 for its refusal to write letter to the Swiss authorities on the orders of Supreme Court against its sitting president. The Supreme Court sacked Prime Minister Gilani and the government had to swallow a bitter bill as the army chief did not support it on the issue. Later it also agreed to write the letter.