should announce some time today that the President has decided, in the greater interest of Pakistan, that he will not put the country through an impeachment, and will instead resign. Or perhaps he will take some other plea, but that is unlikely. From having been President, Chief Executive, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of Army Staff, he is now just President. The remaining offices have been given up so that some of Musharraf's foreign friends would be pleased.
It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of an official residence and vehicle these days, which would be lost by the passage of any impeachment, but which will be preserved by virtue of resigning. Apart from the obvious conveniences of a residence, which will include some payment of the power and gas bills, the vehicle-thing means a driver, and reimbursement of the repair and servicing bills, apart from the fuel bills. And if you get a non-converted vehicle, then the fuel bills matter a lot.
But such is the nature of Man, that he will not remember the many boons conferred on the country by Musharraf, especially on the economic side, but will remember the way he (and why not Yousuf Raza Gilani, for whom the floor size was the real determining factor?) made sure that there were two official celebrations of Independence Day.
The unofficial celebrations were something, and toofan-i-badtameezi about describes how we have been taught to celebrate Independence Day. Actually, the celebrations were quite dignified, until Zia got hold of it, and converted it into an occasion for the unrestrained celebration that we have today. For us, Independence Day means freedom. From the traffic rules (though we continue to be ruled by the Army). From all taste (let alone good taste). Now we have grown used to trucks blaring out Indian songs, but when will we grow used to cars doing this? Around the time, I suspect, we get used to young people hanging out of these vehicles, to that Indian film tune. Now I have seen how the hanging is done, to the Indian tune, I realize that the lighting alone is the right idea. But this year there was almost no lighting. Perhaps because of the loadshedding?
Another trend, this time one that Zia could not have predicted, that of face painting, has been used almost universally to mark off the celebrants from the non-celebrants. But a lot of the celebrants (probably the ones whose mothers had told them not to mess with paints) had played around with the national flag making it into a bandana or some other wrapping. Oh yes, there had to be something green about the clothes, even if it was only a light green, preferably the shirt.
It seems that to celebrate Independence Day, one needed to be under 30, have a car and a driver, and be ready to hang out of the car, while blowing a horn normally reserved for sporting events. Or be ready to perform wheelies while on a motorbike. Mature, sober people of middle age and above, had no way of celebrating. And ultimately, of course, this all meant freedom from life. As if this was the goal towards which the celebrants were working. A few true patriots actually achieved this, and the TV dramas should be shown about these super-patriots in coming years. We should remember that only a life given for Pakistan is that of a true patriot. That is a message being promoted by those who want the President not to be impeached.
And by the way, if he is impeached, will this reduce either petrol prices or the rate of inflation? Would the induction of a woman from one of the smaller provinces help? I mean the inflation rate. Or the world oil price. If not, why not keep the incumbent, who at least has made his terms with the USA on the War on Terror? Anyone who becomes President will be viewed by the Americans from the point of view of the next five years of the War on Terror, and thus must be accordingly approved, like the incumbent.
But if there is no news of a resignation, don't get too happy and assume there is going to be none. Maybe not today, but the politicians, may they rot forever, seem to have united on this point, even though the President has made it clear that he was one, legitimately elected, and two, is willing to continue to perform his functions. This, it appears, includes criticising the present government.
Well, it seems to me that there's only one way out of this imbroglio. That the President use his power under Article 58(2b) to dissolve the National Assembly. He is not yet under notice of impeachment, and even if he were, it would make no difference. True, the Supreme Court would then hear the case, but this is a Court which believes the judiciary must not interfere in the work of the executive. And what can be more the work of the executive than a presidential dissolution?
But perhaps the President is wondering about the quality of the next executive. Obviously, a free hand must then be given to someone, presumably the Chaudhris of Gujrat. But in this crisis, what practical help have they given? Why should the President not turn to an international banker of Pakistani origin? Even if that banker will later run off, and prove much worse than the Chaudhris? The moral of the story: never trust civilians.