Sunday, January 20, 2008

Principles v. Power--a test for the Pakistani Politician

Recently, representatives of Student Action Committee Lahore & Islamabad met the twice-elected former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to discuss the importance of working towards the restoration of the judiciary. Present at the meeting were Mr. Raja Ashfaq Sarwar, General Secretary of Punjab, PML-N and Mr. Chaudhry Nisar, Senior Vice President PML-N and Mr. Syed Mehdi. Representing SAC Lahore were Zubair Niazi and Sundas Hurain, and SAC Islamabad was Samad Khurram.

The first issue discussed was the possible courses of action that could be undertaken towards the restoration of the judiciary. Infact, the first thing Mr. Sharif asserted right after getting seated was the need towards working for the restoration of the judiciary.. He reiterated the fact that the key to stability in Pakistan was the reinstatement of the pre-Nov 3 judiciary. He said his party does not recognize the current court as legitimate. Mr. Sarwar assured his party's continued support for the cause of the lawyers, students and the civil society. He stated that PML-N has been helping the cause in all its capacity and will continue doing so. Upon the establishment of our intentions and interests as common, an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) was presented to Mr. Nawaz Sharif expressly outlining that:

SAC and PML-N both agree on the need for independence of the judiciary. We realize that without the reinstatement of all the deposed judges, an independent judicial organ and democratic rule cannot reasonably be established in the country.
SAC and PML-N will facilitate each other in efforts towards the reinstatement of the deposed judges. This is one demand that neither party will compromise upon.

Mr Sharif agreed with the provisions of the MoU, and asserted that he would "provisionally sign the document" while it goes to the party, to assure SAC of his unreserved commitment to the cause. At this point Mr. Nisar interrupted, stating that it should be presented to the party first. However, SAC was repeatedly assured of PML's commitment to restoration of the judiciary.

The Pakistani politicians are notorious for continuously changing colors to suite their ends.This is the prime reason for the lack of trust accorded to them by the people of Pakistan. What remains to be seen is if the politicians really have changed. This will judge whether their is hope for the country under the rule of the leadership of the 90s. Amidst rumors of a deal between the dictator and the democratic politician, will PML-N stand firm on its promises to the people of Pakistan, or yet again will they sway to where the seduction of power leads them? The art of ambiguity after all is a skill well known and valued by the Pakistani politicians.

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