Fine line dividing welcome for Bhutto and Pak military oligarchy’s designs

November 14th, 2007 - 3:04 am ICT by admin  
Karachi, Oct 30 (ANI): The Pakistani military oligarchy and the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Q) have been evasive on the issue of twice-elected former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto’s return home after eight years of self-exile.

The reason for this evasiveness is the deal worked out between her and Islamabad, a deal that has the backing of both London and Washington.

Otherwise, there is no reason for obstructing Bhutto, as her getting away from the corruption cases scot-free through a National Reconciliation Ordinance, unravels her political journey.

In a way, it is a refreshing start, and certainly an anti-thesis to the eight-year-long political fiefdom of the military oligarchy, comprising of religious parties, a friendly opposition and a coalition government, all, subservient to the oligarchy’s rules of engagement and interest.

Therefore, there is a fine line dividing the exemplary facilitation by the Government for Bhutto’s smooth home return and the allowing of a bomb explosion. It exhibits a skilful plan involving the military oligarchy keeping its promise to the West to give Bhutto a free hand in politics, and yet keep her within the confines of a variety of fears and restrict her ability to manoeuvre against the oligarchy’s designs.

Perhaps a seasoned politician like Bhutto still has to learn her new lessons of politics in the post- 9/11 world like all others in Pakistan have imbibed very well.

As the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, she aims to have a solo flight, at least in policy making. She wants to have alliances of her choice, but this is not a choice the Pakistani military oligarchy is ready to accept.

Talking to this scribe in Karachi, she categorically maintained that she would not allow any cease-fire agreements or even negotiations with irregular militias.

After Washington brokered the deal between Islamabad and Bhutto, the military oligarchy is in no position to openly chop off her designs. But there are always the covert operations. In the post- 9/11 period, this is the order of Pakistani politics in letter and spirit.

The Pakistani military establishment that has pledged its allegiance with the US in the War on Terror, and is yet to work out cease-fire agreements with militants in the tribal regions between Pakistan and Afghanistan or with political spin-doctors like the Chaudharies of Gujrat.

Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain, the chairman of ruling Pakistan Muslim League, and Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi, the Chief Minister of Punjab are on the side of General Pervez Musharraf, but are still the biggest backers and financiers of Pakistani religious establishments from the Deoband school of thought.

One should appreciate their skills that on one side, the Chaudharies stand alongside Washington and on the other; they can afford to appoint Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi as an advisor in the Punjab Government.

Tahir belongs to the Jamia Ashrafia, which is the strongest branch of the Deoband school of thought in Punjab province.

After Tahir Ashrafi, the Chaudharies have appointed Maulana Hanif Jalandhari as the chairman of the Koran Academy in Lahore with the status of a provincial minister.

Jalandhari was the Secretary General of the Wifaqul Madaris (A federation of Islamic seminaries representing the Deoband school of thought).

This marriage of convenience ensures that the Chaudharies remain a success story in Pakistani politics and also the ability to retain immunity from militants.

Often in the past, the Chaudharies have used militancy as a covert threat against their opponents. For instance, they had differences with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) over the opening up of MQM offices in Punjab.

The MQM leaders criticised the Chaudharies, but the latter opted to play its own style of politics. When the Women Protection Bill was passed in Parliament and religious parties were making a hue and cry in 2006, Maulana Hanif Jalandari was sent to Karachi for such a rally. To everyone’s surprise, he turned the whole rally into a tirade against the MQM.

It was as if, Jalandhari, a points-man of the Chaudharies, was putting the MQM in the spotlight, and effectively sending a message across that militants could also turn their canons on the MQM. Chaudharies of Gujrat have always been using their connections to get political mileage and, it is a quite a possibility that this time also they would have used religious elements as agent provocateurs to attack Bhutto’s motorcade for obstructing her and her party’s mobilization of people on the streets before elections.

This kind of attack could be a design to keep her scared and ultimately making her subservient to the broader designs of the military apparatus,” commented Fahim Zaman Khan, a former administrator of Karachi.

“We can clearly see a hidden agenda of some forces behind the October 18 blasts through a single fact that the Sindh Home Department was quoted by many media outlets as saying before the rally that some suicide bombers have reached Karachi.”

“I am personally aware of the CID and the Anti-Violent Cell of the Sindh Police reporting to the Home Department of such threats. So, the question that arises in the minds of many is why pre-emptive raids were not conducted before the rally to arrest the terrorists,” Fahim adds.

Bhutto’s party workers are ready to host a reception for her Punjab visit, but she has decided to go abroad in the first week of November.

Perhaps this is what the purpose of the October 18 blast was — that either Bhutto makes a permanent realignment with the military oligarchy or, instead of doing serious political business in the country, keep herself busy in making foreign visits. (ANI)

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World |