Tag Archives: PPP

Pakistan Prime Minister Wants Judges Released

Newly elected Pakistan Prime Minister Youseaf Reza Gillani, who obtained the largest ever vote for leadership in Pakistan history, demanded the immediate release of judges who were imprisoned by President Musharraf last fall when he initiated martial law. “I order the release (of the) detained judges of the higher judiciary” and these words were greeted amid thunderous applause and a standing ovation from the National Assembly. He also wanted to pass a unamimous resolution from the Lower House of Parliament that would seek a United Nation’s investigation into the death of Benazir Bhutto and another resolution of apology for her murder. Although some judges have been releasd by Musharraf, others, including the chief justice, have not.

Nisar Ali Khan, parliament leader of the coalition partner, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, urged Gillani to make changes in foreign policy. “We hope the Pakistan People’s Party led coalition government would make an independent and soveriegn foreign policy.” He undoubtedly expressed the view of many members of parliament that Pakistan must shift from a reliance only on military action in northwest regions to one of diplomacy regardless of whether the United States approves such a policy.

What Should Be America’s Policy Toward Musharraf?

The United States for years has been President Musharraf’s chief cheerleader and has supported virtually every aspect of his rule in Pakistan. However, triumph by opposition parties in last month’s parliamentary election gave an overwhelming majority to the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz coalition, confronts America with new challenges. Teresita Schaffer and Jeffrey Ellis, writing in the current issue of South Asia Monitor, raise questions regarding how will the Bush administration or any future adminisration respond to the new configuration of power.

The stage is set for an early test whether Musharraf is prepared to accept a significant reduction in his powers in order to placate the new government or whether he intends to stand fast and refuse to make changes such as restoring Pakistan’s judiciary to its former positions. The authors suggest the new coalition has a vast array of problems to face regardless of issues in dealing with Musharraf. There is now a wheat shortage, power outages, suicide bombers and fighting in the northwest region. Both leading political parties appear more willing than Musharraf– or the United States– to arrange political settlements with militants in order to end violence.

At this point, no one knows for certain what a new president like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton will do about Musharraf. Will political solutions take precedence over military?

Musharraf–You Must Go, Demand New Pakistan Leaders

Pakistan People’s Party(PPP) co-chairman, Asif Zadari, and Nawaz Sharif, chief of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, demanded that President Musharraf step down after their resounding victory in Pakistan’s election. Nawaz commented: “Musharraf had said he would quit when the people told him so. The people have now given their verdict,” depart the stage of leadership is their message. Zadari promised the issue of Musharraf’s resignation would be presented to the new Parliament in order to seek action on this demand. The PPP gained the largest vote total, but Zardari insisted his party would cooperate with other political leaders to form a broad coalition which will institute changes. “We will work with all democratic forces, all those who secured victory.”

The new coalitioin will demand restoration of judges who were sacked by President Musharraf and release of any lawyers imprisoned by the government. Zardarti said he wanted a UN led investigation into the murder of his wife, Benazir Bhutto. There are 35 seats in Parliament still to be decided, 29 are to be filled by women and 9 by non-Muslims. After those are determined, the PPP should have about 88 seats in Parliament.

Musharraf Party Loses In Pakistan Election

Results from the voting in Pakistan reveal widespread lack of enthusiasm for President Musharraf since his political party, PML-Q suffered a severe defeat. The Pkistan People’s Party of Benazir Bhutto led all parties having captured at least 88 seats in the National Assembly while the Pakistan Muslim League-Mawaz which has been working with the PPP came in second with 65 seats. There are 269 seats in the National Assembly with 26 still to be determined. Pesident Musharraf has promised to cooperate with any party that gains triumph in the election. “I will say from my side, whichever politcal party will win,…. I will give them full cooperation at president.” There were reports in several areas of the nation, particularly where Pushtuns live, that many women were barred from voting on grounds to do so violates their religion.

It is apparent there was a lower estimate of people voting than expected which may be due to fears of violence if they went to a polling place. As the results come in, the evidence is overwhelming that Musharraf has lost. The question now to be faced by Pakistan is whether the PPP and the PML-N will cooperate to take action that might result in the ouster of Musharraf as president. If they take such action, what will happen?

Butto Party Pledges To Remove Musharraf

BabarAwan, a key leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, vowed his party would initiate procedures to remove President Musharraf from office. “the oouster of Musharraf will put Pakistan back on the track of real democracy.” Bhutto’s husband, party leader Asif Ali Zardari, had previously left open the issue as to whether his group would work with Musharraf or seek to get rid of him. Recent poll figures indicate the PPP is well ahead in parliamentary races and may even gain a majority of votes. Awan’s comments came one day after President Musharraf warned opposition parties not to claim election fraud and attempt demonstrations in protest of the vote count.

It is interesting that President Musharraf has already derided poll figures and urged his followers not to pay attention to “foreign pollsters.” Ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif rejected Musharraf’s comments and pledged to organize nation wide protests if there is any evidence of vote fraud. His party believes Musharraf will attempt to rig the elections, much as President Kibaki did in Kenya.

A United States funded poll by the International Repulican Institute found at least half of Pakistan voters supporting the PPP while only 14% favored Musharraf’s PML-Q. By early next week there will be riots in Pakistan or peace. It all depends on whether or not President Musharraf accepts the will of the Pakistan people.

Pakistan-Militant Cease Fire Angers Bhutto Followers

A Pakistan government spokesperson confirmed there was a cease fire in existence in the fight against al-Qaeda and Taliban forces. “There is no announced cease fire. There is a de facto cease fire between militants and government troops.” During the past week there were secret talks between the Pakistan military leadership and members of militant groups in order to find a way to end the fighting. It is expected as part of the agreement, a tribal council, a jirga, will be formed to work on how to transform the de facto truce into something that would be more permanent.

News of the cease fire aroused the anger of supporters of the murdered Benazir Bhutto. Sheery Rehman, speaking for the Pakistan People’s Party, said: “The government is holding talks with the man who it blamed for the killing opf Benazir Bhutto.”

The central issue is what is behind the decision of al-Qada and Taliban leaders to enter into truce talks with the Pakistan army. There is no doubt leaders like Baitullah Mehsud have not abandoned their desire to transform Pakistan into an Islamic Republic. Are they temporarily ending fighting in an effort to regroup? Mehsud is too ruthless and crafty to simply end fighting unless he has a hidden reason.

Turmoil Continues In Pakistan As Taliban Storms Fort

The confusing twisting tale of Pakistan continues as the Taliban stormed a fort on the frontier and allegedly killed 15 Frontier Corps(FC) soldiers and captured about 24. A source told the Lahore Daily Times that seven of the captives has their throats slit by Taliban victors. The Pakistan army claims it killed forty militants and that 15 men escaped from Sararougha Fort with several others still missing. On the political scene the situation is also confusing. Pakistan Peoples Party leader Asif Ali Zardari insisted there would be no power sharing with President Musharraf and his party intended to gain victory in the upcoming election despite difficulties placed in their path by a corrupt government. He refused to take the “crumbs of power from a dictator’s table. We will take our rightful share of power uner the constitution after a free and fair election.” When asked if he would cooperate with the Musharraf government after the election, Zardari responded it was a hypothetical question that could not be answered at the present time. Nazwaz Sharif, head of the PML-Q who agreed to work with the PPP urged creation of a national unity government with Musharraf.

At this point, no one knows what will happen in Pakistan other than the apparent certainty fighting will increase against the growing power of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The political situation will most probably end in some sort of compromise government which entails working with President Musharraf. The more important factor is increased attacks upon government positions in northwest regions by Taliban and al-Qaeda forces. Pakistan created these forces to fight India and to take over Afghanistan and now must live with its own legacy of violence which has turned upon its own creators.

Bhutto Party Might Work With Musharraf

The old adage politics makes strange bed fellows apparently has some validity in Pakistan where the Pakistan People’s Party of assassinated leader Benazir Bhutto indicated it might cooperate with President Musharraf once the elections are over. Pakistan Peopole party spokesperson, Farhattullah Babar said, “all options are open.. these bridge which we will corss when they come.” He forsaw the need for a coalition of moderate forces in Pakistant to handle terrorism and militants which thus might require the PPP to cooperate with Musharraf who does fall into the category of a secular leader. In the meantime, Taliban leaders announced that 300 men had been assigned the task of killing prominent political and religious leaders over the coming months.

The politics of politics invariably brings out the pragmatic aspects of human life. Some leaders of the PPP are prepared to go to bed with the man they believe may have had a hand in the killing of their leader. But, she is dead and they are alive. So, on with the march to power.

Musharraf Claims Bhutto Unpopular With Army

President Musharraf of Pakistan told Newsweek in an interview appearing online that assassinated leader Benazir Bhutto was very unpopular with his nation’s military leaders and termed her an “unreligious person” who lacked the capability of fighting terrorism. The Taliban and al-Qaeda seek to destroy his society, but he intends to fight and defeat their efforts recognizing full well “they want to weaken me, they think they can take kover Pakistan.” He also opposed any investigation by a UN body into the killing of Bhutto.

Babar Awan, a leader in Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party, denied that she was unpopular with the military and noted that as prime minister Bhutto had worked with military leaders in a cooperative manner. He termed Musharraf, “the most unpopular and hated military leader” who had no right to speak for the entire Pakistan military leadership.

Senator John Kerry commented yesterday that he had been told by Bhutto of her request to Musharraf for additiional security and had been denied that protection. Kerry said he communicated her concerns to the US State Department. Perhaps, President Musharraf fears an honest investigation which might eventually wind up identifying people who are close to him.

Changing Stories Of Bhutto Death

Pakistan security officials investigating the death of Benazir Bhutto have concluded she was killed by a single assassin who had a gun and a bomb. They believe he fired three shots and then blew himself up in order to kill the PPP leader. Plastic surgeon have reconstructed the face of the bomber and it is being circulated throughout the nation. A police officer has now stated he saw the man raise his arm, but got there to late to prevent the explosion. President Musharraf has now admitted his agreement with the new interpretation of the death.

The United States still insists that Musharraf must be supported and the best way to achieve that purpose is by encouraging an alliance between the Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party and Musharraf. However, all indications are that PPP leaders are leaning toward an alliance with former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. IN the topsy turvy world of Pakistan politics there is little hope America’s coalition will emerge. We are left with a Musharraf standing alone and not allied with the opposition.