Troublesome would be a small word for the current situation in Pakistan. The tussle between the army and the civilian government has reached an all-time high and with statements flying back and forth, it is no wonder that the situation is set to explode in the very near future. Pundits have suggested that 16th January would be the day of the ultimate face off, as that is the day the memogate scandal as well as the NRO case would get the final hearing.
The NRO case, the NATO strikes which killed army men and the Memogate saga have been a few things that have occupied airwaves in Pakistan recently. With Mansoor Ijaz ready to present the evidence which would in turn implicate the government and ex ambassador Hussain Haqqani, the civilian government is throwing all it has at the army to avoid the showdown.
Haqqani, the chief accused has denied any role in the memogate scandal. “I had no role in creating, drafting and/or delivering the memorandum,” he told news agencies. “I was falsely accused in the media and [by] Ijaz of being the person that communicated the contents of the memo,” he further added.
That there is no love lost between the army and the civilian government, is quite apparent. With the Army Chief General Ashfaq Prevez Kayani visiting China, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Yousaf Raza Gilani fired off another missile at the Army Chief and DG ISI, General Shuja Pasha.
The Prime Minister was talking to the Peoples Daily Online – a Chinese newspaper and stated that both General Pasha and General Kayani’s statements submitted in the memogate investigation to the Supreme Court were illegal as they were not given prior approval by ‘competent authorities’. In short the SC should dismiss their statements as neither the Army nor the ISI had taken approval from the Ministry of Defense – under which the two institutions fall.
With the NRO case in court, the Supreme Court on Tuesday read out the options it can proceed with on the matter of NRO. With the President, the Prime Minister as well as the Law Minister all up for disqualification the situation is getting tougher and tougher for the civilian government. The Chairman of the National Accountability Bureau, according to the SC’s statement, was also guilty of misconduct as he did not take any actions against the appointed director of FIA and the Chairman of OGDLC as they were appointed under the influence of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani.
“The court has the option to record findings and hand down a declaration… which would have an effect of a permanent nature when it comes to the prime minister’s qualification to be chosen as a member of the Parliament,” the Supreme Court order stated.
With the statements flying in from both the Prime Minister as well as the recent interview of the President, the Supreme Court, according to its statement, felt that the loyalty of both was to their party rather than the protection of the Constitution.
With Mansoor Ijaz set to make an entry in Pakistan, upon which he could be arrested for creating the memogate ruckus, while the army is under judicial orders to protect him, yet another boundary line is marked.
Musharraf’s entry into the political scene with his party APML, All Parties Muslim League, on the 29th, will also see a show down between the former President and Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf and the civilian led government who are ready to arrest him as soon as he lands.
‘We will send him to his favorite Landhi Jail’, said Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan adding that the government had already received warrants for the former President’s arrest. While the ex Army Chief Musharraf, maintains that he is ‘ready to face all problems’ on his return home and is not bothered much by the warrants.
With a showdown inevitable, it is only a matter of time until the civilian government faces off against the Army and the judicial system. The provoking statements by the Prime Minister have not stopped, and the recent interview to a Chinese daily, while the Army Chief is in China, might just be one of the last nails in the governments’ coffin.
Whatever be the case, the fact is the change in the air in Pakistan seems almost unavoidable. Whether the change is for good or whether it would crumble the already shaky civilian foundations of Pakistani government, remains to be seen.