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Restoration of assemblies...President Musharraf...PM Soomro?

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    Restoration of assemblies...President Musharraf...PM Soomro?

    With Nawaz out of the picture General Musharraf has the remaining political elements at his beckon and call. This interesting speculative article is predicting another 'spectacular' (and clever) move by the CE. The effect of this would mean the restoration of the suspended assemblies, General Musharraf (from Sindh) assuming the Presidency and Ilahi Bux Soomro (also from Sindh) becoming Prime Minister.

    Agencies backing Soomro move to call PML parliamentary moot

    From Anwer Sindhu & Maqbool Malik

    ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Muslim League (PML) members of the suspended National Assembly are under pressure from intelligence agencies to attend the meeting of the party's parliamentary group planned for after Eidul Fitr by the Speaker, Ilahi Bux Soomro, political sources disclosed on Thursday.

    The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) at a relatively senior level is working to ensure optimum attendance of the meeting, which has been called by Soomro to seek the PML MNAs' backing for a possible restoration of the suspended assemblies, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    It will also decide whether there is to be any further co-operation between the PML and the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD), following Nawaz Sharif's exile from the country.

    "The MNAs have been told that they have little option but to attend the meeting," a political source told The Nation.
    The pressure being applied by ISI staff officers supports growing speculation that the military government is working towards a restoration of the suspended assemblies and the installation of a sympathetic civilian government.

    The apparent co-ordination between the military and the Speaker of the suspended National Assembly has pin-pointed Soomro as the leading candidate for prime ministership of a PML-led coalition government.Soomro was the last civilian politician to hold a publicised meeting with the Chief Executive, General Pervez Musharraf.

    Political sources said this plan has been conceived by a powerful troika, the members of which are believed to be two senior military officers and a highly-placed civilian bureaucrat.

    The same troika is widely viewed as being responsible for the deal that was struck late last week between the military government and the Sharif family, leading to their exile to Saudi Arabia for 10 years, in lieu of the conviction of the deposed prime minister in the hijacking and helicopter cases.

    The calling of the meeting of the PML parliamentary party comes parallel to efforts by the Like-Minded Group to secure the support of the majority of the League's members of the suspended provincial assemblies of Punjab and NWFP, political sources revealed.

    They painted a scenario in which Chaudhry Pervez Elahi would be elected as leader of a PML government in Punjab.

    The sources pointed out the clan connection between the Chaudhry cousins and two members of the troika. Like the Chaudhrys, the bureaucrat is a Warraich from Gujrat, while one of the soldiers is a member of the same clan, albeit from the town of Samundri, near Faisalabad.

    Pro-Establishment elements within the PML are also confident that they will be able to form a government, supported by dissident members of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), in Peshawar.

    However, they are less confident of their ability to take power in the two smaller provinces of Sindh and Balochistan.
    The Governor of Sindh, Mohammedmian Soomro (himself, a cousin of the Speaker of the suspended National Assembly), has been assigned the task of piecing together a coalition government in the south-east province.

    The key to the success of his mission would be to entice Altaf Hussain's Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) into joining a ruling coalition, which would also include members of the mainstream PML and independents backed by Pir Sahib Pagaro.

    Political sources said the military is mentally prepared for the possibility of these efforts failing, in the event of which governor's rule would remain in force until the staging of the next general elections.
    Similarly, Justice (Retd.) Amirul Mulk Mengal is expected to retain power in Balochistan.

    "If this plan succeeds, we can expect a major political breakthrough by March," a source within the PML's Like-Minded Group predicted.

    The master plan detailed above fits in with a scenario floated by ISI in the early months of last summer, according to which the Chief Executive would ascend to the Aiwan-e-Sadr, after President Rafiq Tarrar proceeds abroad for lengthy medical treatment.

    "This would require an amendment in the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO), but that should not be a problem," a political source said.

    Sources said the major priority of the military government is to ensure "continuity", by overseeing the installation of a civilian government that would command a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly.

    Its first task would be to amend the held-in-abeyance Constitution to adopt the key articles of the PCO introduced by the Musharraf administration, political sources said.

    mallik do you forsee CE wil install himself
    as president-for-life or he is just another
    military general who will finally relinquish power to civiliian elected leader.
    do u think cylcle of military-civilian
    musical chair will continue to haunt pakistan.


      > " mallik do you forsee CE wil install himself as president-for-life or he is just another military general who will finally relinquish power to civiliian elected leader." <

      No certainly not. I think Musharraf will get himself ELECTED by the restored assemblies for a period of no more than 5 years. This is how I believe he will relinquish power to a civilian government.

      - First, he will work ALONGSIDE a civilian government say headed by Soomro up to Feb 2002, when the term of the National Assembly expires.

      - Second, he will probably appoint a follow-up interim government which will govern up to Oct 2002, when the new elections are due. Maybe Soomro would continue in his job?

      - Thirdly, a new elected government will be elected in October 2002 with the new ammended constitution coming into operation.

      - And, finally, he will remain President well into the term of the new elected government - up to 2006?

      The musical chairs scenario is ulikely to be seen again in Pakistan because the military will get an institutionalised role in government i.e. through the National Security Council.

      [This message has been edited by Malik73 (edited December 15, 2000).]


        There are a lot of rumors coming out. Looks like something is about to happen. Hopefully when CE speeks to the nation everything will be clear. I also rad somewhere that Fakhir Imam or Iman Fahim can be the new caretaker PM.

        unity, faith, discipline
        Pakistan Zindabad


          is corruption main reason for army intervention? if so why not military
          appoint a independent commision made up of all parties to inquire specific allegations
          of corruption charge. why army have to remove
          all the elected official instead of removing
          the corrupt induvidual politicians.

          second reason the army intervens in civilian
          goverment is it because differences over
          how to deal with india or army is afraid
          if stable civilian goverment emerges
          its importance will diminish and have to take orders from civilian goverment?

          [This message has been edited by rvikz (edited December 15, 2000).]


            Rumours, rumours, seems that something will happen in the next 48 hours?


            Major changes in setup likely: Late night commanders meeting

            By Nasir Malick and Ihtashamul Haque

            ISLAMABAD, Dec 14: A late-night unscheduled meeting of the army top brass at the Army House has fuelled speculations in the federal capital about a possible change in the government setup.

            "I can confirm that the army leadership is holding a meeting at this moment but I haven't a clue about its purpose," a senior government official told Dawn around midnight.

            Army spokesman Maj-Gen Raashid Qureshi was not available on phone to comment on the urgency of the meeting.

            A source said that the army generals began the meeting soon after Iftar and were still deliberating even after midnight.

            Political analysts believe that the army was considering various options, which include restoration of suspended assemblies, interim setup in which General Musharraf would be moved to the position of president, or to expand the existing setup by inducting political figures in the cabinet.

            Sources said that the Pakistan People's Party, which is one of the largest political parties, is opposed to the restoration of parliament or expanding of the existing setup. It has been demanding holding of transparent elections and return of army to barracks.

            Other political parties, including Jamaat-i-Islami, Tehrik-i- Insaf, Awami National Party, MQM and Chattha's Muslim League are also opposed to the restoration of assemblies.

            However, the PML (N), which has been disintegrated after the exile of Nawaz Sharif to Saudi Arabia and has little chance of winning the election, supports restoration of assemblies.

            Political analysts believe that after pardoning Nawaz Sharif, the military government is under intense pressure as it has lost moral ground to remaining in power.

            Government sources said, "The next 48 hours are very important and you can expect anything," the source said.

            Speculations about the various options being considered by the military leadership were rife since morning.

            Earlier reports said that the government is worried about the air of political uncertainty in the country and wants to control the situation before it gets out of hand.

            Sources said that Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf has already started meeting important personalities privately to discuss various options including the restoration of assemblies.

            "Although, he has not met any political leader directly, but when the time comes, he will definitely meet them to seek their views on this issue," the source said.

            He said despite the fact that the government has announced to hold general elections in 2002, it is not totally averse to the idea of restoring national and provincial assemblies.

            "One must not forget that the assemblies were not dismissed but only suspended on October 12, 1999. Therefore, their revival can not be ruled out totally," a ministerial source said earlier in the day.

            "It has been suggested to the chief executive that there would not be any problem if the assemblies are restored after ensuring that the corrupt legislators are eliminated from politics," another official source said.

            The source said that some cabinet ministers think that restoring of assemblies could be a safe option to end the present political crises.

            "We are looking into every possibility because nobody is indispensable. If tomorrow something happens, there should be no leadership vacuum, and it is for this reason that the assemblies were never dismissed in the first place," the source said.

            A highly reliable source told Dawn that the members of the suspended national assembly are being contacted by the government agencies and being asked to join Mian Azhar's camp.

            Mian Azhar is a dissident of the PML(N) and enjoys the support of all those PML MNAs who broke away from the party when Nawaz Sharif decided to join an alliance with the PPP.

            Speaker of the suspended national assembly Illahi Bux Soomor, is also talking about the restoration of assemblies.

            Sources said Soomro has become active after receiving assurances from some "important quarters". He is said to have established contacts with other PML MNAs to convene the parliamentary meeting before Eid. Earlier, it was scheduled to be held after Eid.

            The release and exile of Nawaz and his family members, they say, has generated a sense of alienation among the smaller provinces. They feel that political leadership of a bigger province is treated differently. Such feelings could turn into mass hostility against the military government.

            This too was being cited as one of the reasons driving the military government towards quick action to facilitate the return of democracy in the country.


            rivkz how would an idependent commission be truely indepedent if it were made up of all the corrupt politicians?

            ProudPakistani - lots of names are being mentioned but my "betting" is someone from one of the samller provinces. If not Soomro from Sindh then Ajmal Khattak from Sarhad.


              pakistan is a nuclear power now it has tremendous responsiblity. all the countries
              that have nuclear weapons is controlled by civlian officials except pakistan.
              so i think that itself puts tremendous
              pressure on military junta to hand over power
              to democratically elected leaders.
              ultimate question is who should control
              nuclear button democratically elected
              leaders or military


                rivkz this is a political discussion and not necassarily about control of nuclear weapons. But look at the former USSR and nodern China - were/are they democratic nuclear powers?


                  Key decision-making rests with small team of generals

                  By Kamran Khan

                  KARACHI: In General Pervaiz Musharraf's 14 months in power, no other event more than the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's sudden release from prison on Saturday highlighted the fact that the military government's decision-making on crucial issues rests with a small group of generals who stay away from media glare and are rarely seen in public, several informed officials confirmed to this correspondent.

                  The fact that the National Security Council has not yet discussed the military government's decision to allow a safe passage to the entire Sharif family and that the federal cabinet discussed the issue for the first time at least three days after Sharif clan's departure from Pakistan provided a strong clue that the civilian members of the government are not involved in decision-making on sensitive issues.

                  Several official sources have revealed that by the time the corps commanders and principal staff officers of the General Headquarters (GHQ) met for a two-day conference on Saturday where they were informed about the government's decision on the future of Nawaz Sharif family in Pakistan, the Saudi authorities had already been told to make final arrangements to receive 18 members of the Sharif clan as their guests in Jeddah.

                  Like other important decisions of the military government, The News has been told, the decision to let the Sharif family leave the country was hotly debated by at least seven generals who form the nucleus of decision-making in the military establishment. "For at least six weeks this subject was intensely debated from all possible angles," according to a reliable official source.

                  The News has learned that on all important issues relating to the internal affairs of the country, Gen Musharraf routinely turns to Lt Gen Mahmoud Ahmed, Director General, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Maj Gen Mohammad Akram, Mahmoud's deputy at the ISI on internal affairs. Almost essentially Musharraf also speaks to Maj Gen Ehsanullah, the Director General for Military Intelligence (MI).

                  While Mahmoud concentrates more on external affairs, Maj Gen Akram, assisted by at least six brigadiers posted at the ISI headquarters in Islamabad and in the four capitals of the country, is Gen Musharraf's principal aide on matters relating to politics and internal security.

                  Musharraf's Chief of Staff Lt Gen Ghulam Ahmed, a former ISI general on internal affairs known for his outspokenness, is also an integral part of the decision-making, both at the Chief Executive Secretariat and at the GHQ. Gen Ghulam Ahmed, known as GA amongst colleagues, routinely sits with Gen Musharraf even in his consultations with other generals.

                  Despite being transferred to Lahore as Commander 4 Corps Lt Gen Mohammad Aziz Khan is still an important member of Musharraf's decision-making apparatus. Lt Gen Aziz Khan routinely travels to Rawalpindi to participate in the closed-door meetings. Aziz, also a former ISI official, though a key member in Musharraf's team on Indian affairs, is regularly consulted on internal affairs.

                  The new Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Mohammad Yusuf, by virtue of his new appointment, is a new member of a small team that consults Musharraf almost on daily basis. Lt Gen Yusuf, known amongst friend as "Joe", shares Musharraf's responsibility at the GHQ. Outside the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Gen Musharraf is known to have consulted regularly with Lt Gen Muzzaffer H Usmani, the Commander 5 Corps in Karachi. Usmani draws Musharraf's attention for important consultations notwithstanding his strong and sometimes opposite views.

                  After the October 12 coup most of the above-mentioned generals, particularly Lt Gen Mahmoud Ahmed, Lt Gen Aziz Khan, Lt Gen Ghulam Ahmed, Maj Gen Ehsanullah Khan, were actively involved in the appointments to the federal cabinet and the National Security Council. Almost all of the present federal cabinet ministers and members NSC were first interviewed and cleared by these generals before they were introduced to Chief Executive Gen Pervaiz Musharraf.

                  Interestingly, none of these generals, who currently form the key decision-making forum of the government, is known for strong political views. Their non-partisan opinion on national politics leaves no soft corner either for Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto or Altaf Hussain - the three persons who still dominate the national political scene.

                  Before the military government's decision on the future of Nawaz Sharif was revealed to the nation and other important organs of the government, the above-mentioned generals are understood to have discussed the issue threadbare jointly and in separate meetings with Gen Musharraf. "You can say that the decision to free Nawaz Sharif was the collective decision of these generals," noted a high-ranking official.

                  But in the field, many official sources said, ISI and the MI played a decisive role in terms of cobbling a deal with the Sharif family through intensive negotiations with Nawaz Sharif himself and with his wife and father Mian Mohammad Sharif. The military establishment was represented by a team of ISI and MI officials headed by Maj Gen Akram and Maj Gen Ehsan in direct talks with the former prime minister.

                  The ISI and the MI officials also finalised the arrangements to gather the entire Sharif clan in Islamabad from all over the country before they were handed over to the Saudi ambassador in Pakistan.

                  Pakistan Zindabad


                    > Interestingly, none of these generals, who currently form the key decision-making forum of the government, is known for strong political views. Their non-partisan opinion on national politics leaves no soft corner either for Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto or Altaf Hussain - the three persons who still dominate the national political scene.<



                      basically pakistan is controlled by 60 rich families and military generals.
                      rank and file of the army is influensed
                      by religen



                        Although I dont see many capable leaders in ML but Ilahi Bux Soomro is the most corrupt. Mian Azhar is the most decent of the lot.
                        Saints are fine for Heaven, but they are hell on earth.


                          Degas what gives you the idea that Soomro is corrupt? You may be confusing him with some other Sindhi politician from the PML?


                            It seems like there is definitely something happening in the next 48 hrs- here is the view from the News:

                            Is a change round the corner?


                            By Nusrat Javeed

                            ISLAMABAD: All of a sudden Islamabad has started giving a very familiar look, like the good old days of civilian rule. It seems the days of the polite, conniving politicos are coming back and some new sherwanis are being tailored by outfitters working overtime.

                            Many believe the khakis, in apparent panic after the 'great escape' by the Raiwind clan, are all set to either restore the suspended assemblies or prop up a national government of some sort "in the next 48 hours." The rumour that top military commanders were holding a lengthy meeting at the GHQ since Iftar, has further fueled this fire.

                            There are, however, many views on whether the latest khaki plan would work. I don't think so. I believe restoration of the suspended assemblies is not a solution. Not only the PPP of Ms. Benazir Bhutto but the religious parties and hopefuls like Imran Khan would also not agree to it. Even the ANP and the MQM wouldn't mind fresh elections. And they cannot be ignored.

                            The safe passage to a Punjabi populist has reopened old wounds in the smaller provinces, specially in Sindh. By restoring the assemblies, Rawalpindi will appear rubbing salt on them. Firstly for the reason that only the Punjabi rebels from within the PML-N, had been demanding the restoration of suspended assemblies. And, the sole objective of the said exercise is to provide indemnity to the military for what it had done, and has been doing, on October 12, 1999 and thereafter.

                            Also offered is the promise of rubber stamping a new constitutional deal, legitimizing the future control of public representatives by the military elite. The deal, many predict, will see the kicking-up of General Musharraf as the country's new president --- an intrusive, assembly-dissolving president, under freshly acquired 58(2)(b) powers.

                            Some diplomats also agreed with me on Friday that things were heading towards installation of a civilian set-up, which should run things until next elections are held. Still, the question that lingers on is: who is going to head the new set-up?

                            Many names are in the running. One colleague claimed that he had it from impeccable sources that Mian Azhar is the preferred choice of "good Muslims," operating from an office in Aabpara. Some PML-N legislators say they had already been approached with "the support him message." But another colleague had perhaps talked to operators from another outfit. His information projected Elahi Bux Soomro as the man to watch out.

                            Soomro Sahib is an old darling of the invisible script writers of our political stage, no doubt. He was even one of the three who could become the prime minister after the non-party elections of 1985. But Pir Sahib of Pagaro was the only Sindhi of consequence those days, the military elite wouldn't want to alienate. He vetoed Soomro and nominated Junejo.

                            According to one analysis, this time around, Benazir Bhutto has to be appeased and this idea immediately prompted a diplomat to say: "Makhdoom Amin Fahim, you mean." Makhdoom Sahib is a noble soul, but the diplomat did not know the real Benazir Bhutto. Like any solid politician, she is too ruthless when it comes to playing the power game on the political chessboard. She would never take the risk of lending someone to the establishment from within the PPP for a top slot. That could eventually help hijacking the party from under her wings. She wouldn't mind rewarding the consistent loyalties of the Makhdooms of Hala by recommending them for the top provincial position in Sindh.

                            Hamid Nasir Chatta was another obvious choice, but he had tried to spoil Benazir's ARD show. That leads to the ultimate name of the moderate Sindhi which the establishment could trust with closed eyes --- Moro's Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi.

                            True that bad blood had been accumulating between this "uncle" and his "niece" for more than 15 years. But only a few months ago, Jatoi Sahib was in London. And, his pictures with Benazir and her kids at the dining table were released for the press by herself. She knows that while entering in his 70s, the gentlemanly old man from Moro neither has the will nor the stamina to cultivate an exclusive space for him in power politics. The establishment admires him too. And, he remains the one and only who can bring the likes of Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Sami-ul-Haq on board. Jamaat-e-Islami and its Qazi don't hate him either. And, MQM can't forget the healing touch he provided to the Urdu speaking community after the linguistic riots of early 1970s.

                            These scenarious look rosy for politicians but what about the incurable profits of the doomsday, though. Since late Thursday night, my home phones are incessantly ringing. The callers want me to wake up from the self-serving slumber. They want to know as to who had egged Qazi Hussain Ahmad on to come out of his deliberately maintained silence all through the dramatic happenings of the past week and ask his party to hold the protest rallies on Sunday. Qazi Sahib's call is not an isolated development.

                            On another side, the mainstream press is just not watching and reporting the gathering of thousands of youth from all over the country at a hilly spot on Sargodha-Chakwal road. These boys had been called by their Amir, Maulana Akram Awan. He is the founder of Tanzeem-ul-Ikhwan- the organization of (Muslim) brothers. They have been told to tell their parents that they wouldn't accept them back till "enforcement of total Islam in Pakistan."

                            Now, when that enforcement is going to take place? At some date of his liking, Awan would lead these youth to Islamabad. They plan to march to the capital of Pakistan with copies of Holy Koran hanging in their necks, Taleban style. He is certain of gathering not less than 300,000 youth for the intended march.

                            Analysts are wondering what may happen when a civilian set-up is restored in one form or another and hordes of the JI and the Ikhwan boys really begin marching on Islamabad. Wouldn't that set an alarm amongst the Taleban-fearing drawing rooms of Islamabad? The law enforcers have to do something to stop them. What is the guarantee, however, that the preemptive strikes wouldn't lead us to an Algeria of the new millennium? Can the restored assemblies of discredited legislators be able to handle the situation.


                              Ah more and more rumours. Islambad-Pindi must be buzzing with them. And more and more names being touted, though I think the PPP is doing a lot of dreaming if they think their man will be the next - or maybe not?

                              By letting the Raiwind cowards flee in the dark the CE could make a similarly shocking decision regarding PM?

                              Who said Islamabad was a boring place huh?