Shafaqna Pakistan: Asif Ali Zardari is unmatched when it comes to protecting his own interests — whether political or otherwise. He is also known for making promises and breaking them.
More than a decade ago, while responding to Nawaz Sharif’s repeated insistence that the PPP should fulfill its promise of restoring the sacked judges, the PPP co-chairman had said that agreements with the PML-N “are not sacred like the holy Quran and the Hadith” and can be modified if circumstances change.
Today, he has done it again with Nawaz Sharif and the PDM who were promised that a PML-N senator would be the Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House. This time, Zardari did not utter a word but ensured that his candidate grabbed the slot of the Leader of Opposition in the Senate, leaving the PDM in general and the PML-N in particular outraged.
The latest move by Zardari has threatened the very future of the PDM. If he chooses to leave the alliance it will be a big blow for the PDM. However, if the Zardari-led PPP stays as a PDM component, the former president will either make it run in his own fashion for his own interests or will leave it only after unceremoniously burying the alliance.
In the last PDM meeting, according to a PML-N leader, it seemed as if Zardari had come determined to break the alliance. Zardari, he says, is suspected of having “reconciled” with those who matter and is thus trying to sabotage and frustrate the extreme steps being proposed by Nawaz Sharif and Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
The PPP under Zardari is now suspect not only in the eyes of the PDM but also for many political observers. From day one, it was considered the weak link within the PDM chain but the PDM in general and the PML-N in particular had attached high hopes in the PPP’s co-chairperson.
This current disarray in the opposition alliance’s ranks, however, is quite heartening for the Imran Khan government with Zardari seemingly keen to secure his stakes in the system of which Khan is the biggest beneficiary.
Whether Zardari has struck a ‘deal’ or not, he is never likely to go for what Nawaz Sharif and the Maulana want – en bloc resignations to pave the way for fresh elections. He knows in case of new elections, the PML-N would have a chance of making governments in Punjab and at the Centre. The PPP, however, is not likely to get anything more than what it already has in its hand.
Zardari also does not want a clash with the establishment. He has already said that his domicile makes him different from the aggressive Nawaz from Punjab. He has a government in Sindh while Nawaz does not have any share in the present dispensation. Zardari believes that he can gain more for himself and his party while remaining within the present system. On the other hand, Nawaz will gain nothing if he goes by the advice of Zardari.
As against Zardari, Nawaz desires the present dispensation to go –come what may. Nawaz is also not inclined at this juncture to give any space to the military establishment. Nawaz Sharif’s onslaught against the top players of the military establishment also continues.
Although even the top PML-N leadership has no clear idea where its hardline stance will ultimately lead, for Zardari it is hard to be a silent spectator when Nawaz minces no words in targeting the establishment’s key players. In such a situation, remaining a silent spectator within the PDM means tacitly endorsing Nawaz’s view – something that Zardari cannot afford to do. He has thus opted instead for a “my way or the highway” policy, leaving the PDM upset and bewildered.
Source: The News ( Writer: Ansar Abbasi)