Editorial : Art of the possible - Sunday 1st May 2011

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/01/art-of-the-possible.html

THE PPP had been gesturing for help for some time. But if the largesse offered to his saviours in the PML-Q is something to go by, then President Zardari`s was no less than a May Day call. Short of creating the post of vice president for Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Mr Zardari appears to be in a mood to fulfil all PML-Q demands. He has reportedly promised the new coalition partners the seat of deputy prime minister, to be occupied by Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, and some of the choicest ministries. Health is slated to go to the Q-League, as well as trade and commerce, industries, agriculture and information technology, plus six ministries of state and three posts of advisers to the prime minister.
In the coming days, Prime Minister Gilani is going to be surrounded by the very men whose policies his party had sought to replace — even though PPP spokesmen are going to hail this new development as further proof of the party`s politics of reconciliation. These spokesmen will be right but in an unflattering sense; the alliance means the PPP has now forged an indiscriminate formal partnership with all the parties that entered the National Assembly as a result of the 2008 election. The PML-N, the MQM and the JUI-F have all shared power with the party during the current term, along with the ANP which has been a steadfast ally. PPP apologists may argue that the group they have no intention of entertaining is the one comprising Musharraf loyalists who have since broken away from the Q-League. In the interest of their embrace-all reputation, perhaps the point they should be making, instead, is that they were Gen Musharraf`s associates in government when he was the president. That could well qualify the PPP as the greatest exponent of the art of the possible in the history of Pakistan.
Mr Zardari`s party has often been given the benefit of the doubt as coalitions have been described as a way of life all parties should reconcile themselves to. Coalitions in government also give birth to larger political alliances; in this way the PPP and the Q-League have taken the next logical step. It is said the two parties are going to fight the next polls from a joint platform. This will facilitate the making of the opposite group and could eventually lead to the maturing of a third option that has been stressed upon in recent days. A house where anyone can be allied to anyone can easily be dubbed as one bereft of ideology and can help justify the arrival of the alternative.

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