Last November 23rd, Nawaz Sharif submitted a petition in a Supreme Court of Pakistan. In his petition, he asked the court to launch a judicial investigation into “Memogate” and to summon all respondents in his petition — President Asif Ali Zardari, former ambassador Husain Haqqani, American citizen Mansoor Ijaz, Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, ISI chief Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha and foreign and interior secretaries — to explain the “detestable, despicable and treacherous memorandum”.
On November 30th, the Supreme Court`s nine-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, after initial hearing of the petition, asked all the parties, including President Zardari and the COAS, to submit replies in 15 days and the first hearing of the case is reported to be on 19th December which means the decision may to come to the light in December and it’s therefore, speculated that December month is to be the most critical month for the politics of Pakistan in view of court judgment and it is rumoured somehow to be against Zardari.
Having sensed the political uncertainty, Mr. Zardari is reported to have gone for routine medical check up in Dubai who was reported to have been under severe pressure from the military higher ups to resign from the government due to the alleged involvement in Memogate. That’s why December seems to be the most crucial month for Zardari and its government. And there are also reports that Mr. Zardari will remain in Dubai till December 19th and his presidency would submit his reply in his absence.
Since very inception, Mr. Zardari found himself struggling with opposition over NRO issue, reinstatement of judges and the most recent Memogate, which is considered to be the most difficult to deal with.
Mr. Nawaz Sharif seems ready to oppose Zardari at full length for being felt betrayed over NRO and alleges him not fulfilled his promises, while other opposition leaders Imran Khan and Shah Mahmood Qureshi have been blasting Zardari with full throat over nuclear assets and accuse his being a national security risk for Pakistan.
Referring to the court issues, Mr. Zardari refused to restore the judges after coming to power. The recent NRO review petition has ordered the government to start pursuing the money-laundering cases against PPP leaders, including Zardari, in Switzerland.
Mr. Hussain Haqqani is reported to be one of the most controversial ambassadors to Washington in view of the elite class as he has allegedly been reported to have involved working against the lines of the elite class. Kerry-Lugar Bill, his recent book “Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military” and the most recent alleged Memogate were enough stuff to knock him down from his position at earliest possible.
The present government has nearly one year left to complete its tenure but the opposition leaders seems ready to campaign for the new election and trying their best to take the people to street to topple Zardari government as soon as possible.
It is quite clear that the opposition leaders have some kinds of personal grudges and political issues with Zardari, that’s why they are trying their best to push the present government against the wall and intend to play their own game in the country. Furthermore, Mr. Najam Sathi writes that “the Supreme Court is in a hurry to settle the Memogate and NRO issues together.
If the government balks at obeying its orders, it will seek recourse to Article 190 of the Constitution and order the army to implement them. Once such an order is made, Zardari will be as good as in the net. He won’t be able to defend himself or flee”. Most recently, Mr. Zardari was due to address the joint parliament session after Ashura but was reportedly not allowed by the higher ups, as he was reported to be saying something extracurricular stuff.
Presently, Mr. Zardari seems to have caught up in a grim political tumultuous, which seems to be very difficult to get out of these issues without the support of American and international community.
Since the revelation of the Memogate, the elite class is alleged to have put huge pressure on the civil government to take tough action against all those involved in an alleged plot to undermine Pak-army. Mr. Mansoor Ijaz, the main actor of the Memogate plot is reported to have played a significant role in widening a rift between the civil government and the military higher ups, which resulted in the resignation of Mr. Haqqani, the then Pakistan Ambassador to US and the departure of Mr. Zardari to Dubai.
The present civil government is reported to have severe governmental issues with the military higher ups particularly ISI and alleged to have sought Americans help to rein in Pak-army. The alleged design of the civil government made the military higher ups very angry and seems to have caused taking direct confrontation with the civil government.
Seeing the situation worst, Mr. Zardari is reported to stay in Dubai until and unless the situation gets clear and goes in his favour, otherwise, he is presumed to make his stay long in Dubai. Some critics believe that the present political scenario of Pakistan reflects the bitter relationship between military higher ups and Americans as the present government seems to be reported going on American lines in the war against terror, while military higher ups is reported to have its own agenda in dealing with national issues and Afghan affairs.
The recent NATO attack on a Pakistani border, which reportedly killed 26 Pakistani soldiers in Mohmand Agency area made the situation worst, when the elite class took harsh stance and officially declared the attack as unacceptable, blatant, purposeful, premeditated, aggression, an assault on the sovereignty of Pakistan and further resulted in halt of NATO containers to Afghanistan, evacuation of Shamsi airbase in Balochistan and boycott of the Bonn Conference.
It needs to be mentioned that it was the first time that the elite class took stern measures to register its protest to US; however, it was not the first attack of the international force on Pakistani soil. Many believe that the elite class pressurized the civil government to comply with the decision and the present civil government didn’t have other option except to follow.
It needs to be understood that thousands of Pakistani civilians have been killed by terrorists and drones since 2001. The point here is not to favour the NATO attack but to understand the real confrontation going between the civilian government and the elite class in Pakistan. The purpose behind the strong reaction is to send a strong message to US and the international community as to let them know who gets control of the power in Pakistan.
If President Zardari doesn’t come back to Pakistan in December, it is presumed that the grave political unrest may start in the country especially in Sindh province, where Mr. Zardari and Bhutto family belong. In this situation, if American couldn’t get settle their issues with military higher ups, it would likely start supporting Pakistan People’s Party and other regional political parties in favour of the restoration of democracy in Pakistan, which would cause further immense political tension in the country and it would be very difficult for the elite class to deal with the situation.
However, if American and Pakistani military higher ups, let’s suppose agree to settle down their bilateral issues, then Mr. Zardari would be of course another political scapegoat in Pakistan. The agreement between the American and military higher ups seem likely to get settled, as nobody wants Pakistan to be pushed towards destabilization in the present geo-political scenario, however, American and the West want Pakistan to cooperate fully with Afghanistan so they could get a honourable exit from Afghanistan and further their political objectives.
Critics believe that the relationship between Pakistan and US is very complicated and very essential for both countries to work together, however at present, it seems to be a huge test for American influence in the affairs of Pakistan, as to what extend Americans would compel the elite class of Pakistan to be in the line with US plans and arrangements.
The possibilities and internal political complexities of Pakistan are likely to be in the favour of Americans to get support of the elite class of Pakistan in dealing with Afghan issues, however, it needs to be reminded that the support of the elite class of Pakistan would mean supporting a dominant and extreme religious Islamists who played a prominent role in growing sense of anti-Americanism in Pakistan over the last decade and support to the elite class would be considered a defeat to moderate, democrat, educated and liberal class in Pakistan.
The writer is an ESOL Teacher in Hull. He can be reached at email@example.com