‘Ousting PM instead of Parliament is the new khaki tactic’, by Adnan Farooq
The Supreme Court’s verdict to disqualify Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani “is not a routine democratic change”, according to Ayesha Siddiqa. “In fact, it represents the new tactics of the military and its agencies,” she says.
Author of ‘Military Inc’, Ayesha Siddiqa is internationally known analyst on military and political affairs.
Commenting on the latest political developments in the country in an interview with the Viewpoint, she says: “Instead of ousting the entire Parliament, the military gets rid of prime ministers which has the same effect meaning a weak democracy. The judges seem to have become party to this”. Read on:
The opinion on Supreme Court’s verdict on Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani’s disqualification is divided. In general, the Opposition is hailing the verdict while the PPP and liberal circles are presenting it as a coup by other means. How do you assess the situation?
This is an intense political battle in which the Supreme Court is not neutral but a party as well. Look at the Supreme Court’s comparative behavior. There are times when it bails out murderers and looters but does not spare the ruling party in particular. Its wrath is mainly for the PPP and the chief judge seems to be making sure that he can ensure the PPP government’s ouster especially since he is now worried about his son being investigated.
There are 2-3 scenarios. First, the PPP will keep nominating prime ministers who will get ousted one after the other by the judges until elections can be held next year. Second, the game goes on until end of this year. Third, PPP looses and agrees to establish a caretaker government. Yet a fourth possibility being talked about is a long term caretaker government since the army and its agencies would have managed to malign everyone including the judges, the politicians and the media.
It seems the democratic process is going on. Under a democratic set up, cabinets and prime ministers even governments get replaced. But if there is something special about Pakistan that a ‘routine’ democratic practice be construed as an attack on democracy?
This is not a routine democratic change. In fact, it represents the new tactics of the military and its agencies. Instead of ousting the entire Parliament, the military gets rid of prime ministers which has the same effect meaning a weak democracy. The judges seem to have become party to this.
President Zardari was reluctant from the beginning to restore Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. Do you think the PPP knew from the beginning that a judicial coup was possible?
It is either that the PPP knew what Iftikhar Ch could do as his entire movement needs a serious revisit. He was built into a hero but the question is what was the movement about and how was it managed then? Either the PPP knew about the support from PML-N or Chaudhry got angry for not being reinstated by the PPP government and is now getting even. Matters have become worse with his son’s case.
Do you think the crisis is over? Or will the SC ask the next PM to write to Swiss courts? If so, will PPP accept such a move lying down as it has apparently done in case of Yusuf Raza Gilani?
It goes without saying that the first thing which the Supreme Court will ask the next PM to do is to write the letter to the Swiss authorities. He will refuse too and the game continues.
Nawaz Sharif in this case joined hands with Imran Khan. While Nawaz Sharif has been opposing army’s role in politics, Imran Khan is seen as pro-establishment. What sort of interests or forces brought this collaboration between Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan, both otherwise at daggers drawn?
At this point in time the short term interests of both Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan are solved by putting pressure. Remember, Nawaz Sharif wants to get into power and Imran Khan too. They have not partnered but are putting pressure independently.
Are we witnessing a repeat of the 1990s with the difference that the Chief Justice—in the absence of 58-2b— is playing the President this time around?
We are still far away from independence of judiciary. It’s old game different style.