Pakistan simply can not escape some form of turmoil and its people have never enjoyed a few years of peace and calm. The latest eruption stemmed from anger on the part of Nawaz Sharif to use anger among Pakistan lawyers as a tool in his bid for power in government. Thousands of lawyers are still angry at President Musharraf who fired Supreme Court Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and replaced him with someone who would not anger the government. After Musharraf was forced from office, Sharif wanted the new president, Asif Ali Zardari to reinstate Chaudhry, but the president retained the Musharraf appointee. Sharif was banned from politics by the current courts and is now formenting anger among lawyers in order to force a change in government and get back his right to participate in politics.
Zardari sees Chaudhry as a threat to his own power. A proposed compromise would create a constitutional court and an appellate court and Chaudhry would head one. Under the compromise, Sharif who was chief minister in Punjab would get the right to appeal his removal and the province assembly would appoint a new chief minister. There are no perfect solutions in life.
Somehow, Pakistan has to get back to focusing on ending the Taliban and al-Qaeda threat or there will be a disaster that could shake the world.
The “long march” of Pakistan’s lawyers which seeks to force President Musharraf to resign and to compel judges appointed by him to join the exit has now reached the capital in Islamabad where speeches will greet the marchers. It is estimated the final march will witness about 40,000 people including lawyers, political workers and civil servants. In an editorial in the Lahore Times, the newspaper took to task the entire episode claiming its original purpose for political change has become transformed into a vehicle for political opportunists who are using the lawyers in order to win an election. Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, will be on the platform when marchers arrive to deliver another of his angry speeches insisting Musharraf must go along with judges he appointed. The editors support the current focus of Pakistan People Party leader Zardari who is trying to avoid a constitutional crisis for the newly formed government. He prefers to curb Musharraf’s power and make him ineffective in order to persuade the president to finally resign of his own accord.
There is no question Sharif is using the long march to help him gain political victories in the upcoming elections. The old powerful Musharraf no longer exists. There is sense in Zardari’s approach of restoring old judges while allowing the new ones to remain for the present in order to avoid more turmoil in the nation. Pakistan has numerous problems that require attention without being distracted by the presence of Musharraf. He has already been condemned to the dustbin of history, let him slumber for a period. He will be gone within a year, but Pakistan must focus on its immediate needs.