Kiss of death

FEW eyebrows would have been raised if the observations regarding the government being fragile and unable to deliver had come from someone other than President Obama. As Prime Minister Gilani has rightly pointed out Washington's robust support for the military rule of Gen (retd) Musharraf for full nine years is among the causes behind the weakness of the elected government. What Mr Gilani failed to point out is that the US has supported every military dictator in Pakistan from Ayub to Yahya, Ziaul Haq and Musharraf out of its imperial strategic needs, thus playing a crucial role in weakening the institutions on which democracy is based including judiciary, parliament, and political parties. The military rulers flouted the rule of law in favour of the rule of the jungle and dealt a mortal blow to good governance. It is a matter of record that the people of Pakistan have struggled hard for the restoration of democracy under every military ruler braving arrests, torture, lashes and harsh sentences by military tribunals. The US conveniently looked the other way as the press was gagged, atrocities on political workers were committed, and human rights blatantly violated. Reports have appeared in the US press, the latest on Saturday in The New York Times, of the Obama administration's sudden infatuation with Mian Nawaz Sharif who till lately was considered an untouchable for 'close ties to Islamists'. Unnamed officials have been quoted that the Obama administration is reaching out 'more directly' to the PML-N leader. Reports of the kind are likely to prove a kiss of death for Mian Nawaz as an endorsement by Washington would reduce the public image of any political leader in Pakistan. We are told that Mian Nawaz and President Zardari have been urged by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mr Holbrooke to work together. Irrespective of its merits, to many in Pakistan the move would constitute a direct interference in the country's internal politics. Meanwhile the government needs to be reminded that after 14 months in power, it would not help harping on the bad state of affairs it had inherited. The ruling coalition has to realize that it wasted nearly 10 months, out of sheer obstinacy, in a tug a war with the lawyers and the PML-N with the result that its attention was diverted from crucial issues. It is now being accused of complacency by its critics. It has to work post haste to restore the Ctwonstitution to its original form in line with the recommendations of the CoD, remove the genuine grievances of the people of Balochistan and resolve the issue of militant extremism through a holistic approach. Unless it acts urgently, its support among the masses will continue to decline as indicated by the successive opinion surveys.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt