12-11-2016, 06:27 AM
PPP’s final committee of five
Last ditch effort for PML-N acceptance of the four points
It must be admitted that the top leadership of the PML-N has a simple and fixed policy of dealing with political opponents on diverse occasions: it is either at their feet or at their throats. A timely compromise or engaging with the ‘enemy’ is apparently beyond its comprehension, even an affront to the famed heavy mandate. It is a constitutional infirmity which it has been unable to remedy even in its third term. This tried and tested method served the PML-N best during the protracted Islamabad road show or dharna of Imran Khan and Tahir ul Qadri. At a critical juncture during these prolonged protests, a humbled prime minister even condescended to visit the National Assembly regularly and conscientiously, kowtowing to the PPP which had saved the day for the beleaguered PML-N leader.
The ‘new’ PPP of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has made necessary changes in the long-standing policy of reconciliation followed by the elder Zardari. The present bone of contention between the PPP and the PML(N) is the non-acceptance so far by the government of the PPP’s four demands, of appointing a foreign minister, forming a parliamentary committee on national security, removing some reservation on the CPEC’s western route and passage of the opposition’s bill on the Panama Leaks. Taking a leaf out of the PTI’s textbook, the PPP chairman announced on October 17 that that the PPP would launch a street agitation if these demands were not met by December 27. Still, in a final attempt at a peaceful resolution, the PPP has now constituted a committee of five of its stalwarts, consisting of Yousaf Raza Gilani, Sherry Rehman, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Farhatullah Khan Babar and Senator Sardar Mohammad Hasni to make a last attempt for an amicable resolution.
It would be sensible for the prime minister to reciprocate the measure and reach an agreement with these veteran and savvy politicians before it is confronted by a daunting PPP –PTI axis and its formidable combined street power. He has enough on his plate already.
A new turn in Panama-gate case
Shall we wait for the New Year?
So far both the contending sides in the Panama-gate case had been satisfied with the SC proceedings, each one convinced that the judges were impressed by its arguments. The court however seemed to be dissatisfied by the way the two parties had developed their case over nine days of hearing. On Thursday judges indicated that important questions still needed answers and both sides had presented only sketchy evidence. The CJ therefore directed the two counsels toseek instructions on forming an enquiry commission.
On Friday, Imran Khan rejected outright the idea of a commission and said he would boycott the proceedings if one was formed. The court felt it would not be possible to go through thousands of pages of material presented as evidence within a short period. It adjourned the proceedings till the first week of January.With CJ Jamali retiring at the end of this month, the bench constituted by the new CJ will hear the case once again from the beginning and decide whether to continue the proceedings in SC or form a judicial commission.
Imran Khan strongly believes that as long as Nawaz Sharif occupies the office of the PM he can influence the single member enquiry commission through devious means. He has concluded that the only way to keep the Panama-gate issue alive is through SC proceedings. With media covering the courtproceedings regularly and numerous TV channels holding talk shows to discuss every new development, the government could be exposed for months to come. The longer the proceedings continue the more injurious these would be for the otherwise well-entrenched Nawaz Sharif. The landing of the Panama-gate issue in the SC indicates a thorough lack of confidence in the institutions set up for accountability like NAB, FBI, and FIA. With the Prime Minister and important cabinet members being mostly absent from the National Assembly sittings this promotes the unhealthy trend of taking the issues either to the SC or the streets.