VIEW: Embracing PML-Q —D Asghar - Monday, April 25, 2011

The PPP really needs to focus on revamping its political priorities. It used to be popular in Punjab as well in the past. The time-tested ‘turncoats’ are not going to pay dividends in the long run

The battle for ‘Takht Lahore’, as one of our illustrious leader calls it, is on. PPP, with its recent move to woo PML-Q, has indicated that it is time to bury the hatchet with what its leader once called ‘Qatil League’.

PML-Q, the brain child of the all mighty establishment, has now finally gotten some advantage in the PPP versus PML-N game. The way things are going for the PPP, it is a question of its survival. Even if it means embracing the former adversaries to secure its waning grip, it has no choice other than biting its words.

Who can forget the fiery claims of the junior Chaudhry of Q, who had once categorically dismissed any reconciliation with the PPP? His hard line stance was based on the assertion that “reconciling with a party responsible for the break up of the nation was out of question”.

If junior Chaudhry was really sincere, he would have raised the same question in front of his former godfather. It is not the PPP or Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) that led to the inevitable separation of East Pakistan. It was not ZAB, who ordered the fellow khakhis under the command of General Yahya Khan to crush the ‘rebellion’. The writing of decades-long injustice and ruthless inequity was on the wall. But the million dollar question is, will anyone ever bring to book the people who were truly responsible for this shameful episode? Many, including the junior Chaudhry, would plead sheer ignorance. Perhaps the PPP should introduce another reference in the SC and get their founding father absolved of this allegation as well.

Politics is a strange game, where no enmity is eternal and no difference is permanent. The PPP started its journey with a good momentum after the 2008 elections. Especially, the Murree Declaration was a great move. The nation finally got some ease with this historic patch up of PPP and PML-N. Finally, the two adversaries were ideologically aligned to keep the “military out for good”.

What transpired then onwards is common knowledge. The thorny issue of restoration of the judiciary was the prime reason for the rift. From then on, it has been a downhill journey for both of them.

To many it almost seemed that if the alliance had persisted, it would have been a turning point in Pakistan’s political history. The two parties pretty much cover the major territory of the country. Both would have had their stint every five years. But to some, this rather predictable scenario was too boring. Therefore, behind-the-scene forces were busy doing what these forces or interests are famous for — creating a divide.

Slowly and gradually, PML-N parted ways. Then it was followed by JUI-F, and MQM did its usual ‘in and out’ on a few occasions. At every such juncture, the rumour mills were busy, predicting either martial law or mid-term polls. Even some TV anchors made some rather bold predictions of pack up for the PPP. Somehow, it weathered these storms, which is nothing short of a miracle.

The same elements are busy spinning a web of another such bizarre scenario. One of our very senior politicians, who should seriously take up astrology as a profession, has again predicted that this government will not last full term.

In the meantime, Mr Sharif’s absence from the scene has not been very conducive for his party either. PPP’s move to cozy up with the PML-Q and taking them on board may be a short-term move. But in the longer run, this alliance may not last either.

The reason is fairly simple. Both parties are ideologically poles apart. PML-Q, with all due respect, was a party of PML-N deserters. It was carved out by former President Musharraf to divide PML-N and to get an endorsement for his presidency. It is no secret either that such opportunistic politicians are available in Pakistan at the rate of a dime a dozen.

They always tow the line of either the establishment or whoever is in power, for that matter. Yes, Punjab has its significance, and along with a sizable majority, the PPP can sustain not only till 2013, but perhaps beyond as well. Needless to say, the demands for ministries by PML-Q to sign up for the nuptials carry the telltale signs.

The PPP really needs to focus on revamping its political priorities. It used to be popular in Punjab as well in the past. Maybe it is time for the induction of some fresh blood in the ranks for Punjab to re-ignite the spark. The time-tested ‘turn coats’ are not going to pay dividends in the long run.

This marriage of convenience may turn out to be a very bitter and costly pill. If anything, it is high time for both the PPP and PML-N to sit back on the table and revisit the Murree Declaration. The nation would be in a much better shape if the two major players are in sync with one another. It will keep the small irritants and typical opportunistic characters at bay.

The writer is a Pakistani American. He blogs at and can be reached at

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