Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Nawaz, Zardari to Form Coalition Gov't

According to news sources, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari said on Tuesday that they will form a coalition government if their parties won the majority of the votes on Feb. 18th. According to Pakistan's Daily Times, Zardari, following an hour-long meeting in Lahore, told reporters that the PPP would invite the PML-N as well as other "democratic forces" to join a governing coalition "even if the party won enough seats in parliament to rule on its own." Zardari emphasized, "We will sit together because the country is passing through a dangerous phase, and we can only steer the country out of this crisis together. I am conveying this message to the establishment that I will change this system."

According to Dawn, "The sources quoted Mr. Sharif as telling his guest that the PML-N would extend support to the PPP in forming the government without seeking any share in ministries." Sharif said he had been supporting the PPP despite some reservations of some leaders of his party and "friends in other parties." Dawn added, "The sources said that the two leaders agreed that the elections would be considered as 'rigged' if the PPP and PML-N did not 'secure top two positions.'"

The AFP reported that their comments "came after Human Rights Watch warned that Pakistan's Election Commission had failed to investigate reports of campaign violations, threatening the validity of the parliamentary elections." The news agency added, "The New York-based group said in a statement that the commission had ignored reports of arrests and harassment of opposition party members, and failed to act independently from Musharraf's administration. HRW reportedly said that election candidates had so far filed more than 1,500 complaints of irregularities, but few have been investigated. On Tuesday, news sources also reported that tens of thousands of Pakistani troops have been deployed across Pakistan to provide security for next week's elections amid a series of attacks. The AFP reported, "In a show of force ahead of Monday's polls, army soldiers and paramilitary forces stood guard at government buildings and potentially sensitive areas of several major cities."

Given how divisive party politics has been in Pakistan as well as the historic 'bad blood' between these two parties, the recent PML-N/PPP announcement is both significant and refreshing. However, could a coalition government be enough to tackle the many issues facing this country?


Anonymous said...

Nawaz Sharif's behavior has been very immature since his return. He initially threatened to boycott the elections after BB's assassination. As soon as Zardari said the PPP would go ahead and participate, he decided PML-N would as well.

A few days ago, I read that he would be the PM candidate if his party won elections and now all of a sudden he has decided he no longer has any aspirations of the prime minister's position.

I understand people are fed up of Musharraf and the current regime, but both of these parties have had ample time to prove their credibility in the past. They were democratically elected and ended up doing NOTHING for the country.

Were two terms not enough for them to loot the country? Are our memories so short term that we are willingly forgetting the crimes they've committed?

Kalsoom, you're doing a brilliant job with the blog! Keep it up...

Noor said...

A coalition government could be a good thing for a country facing severe turmoil if the parties involved in the coalition are not split into factions due to a divergence in interests. A divisive colaition is less effective than single party rule even if less interests are represented by a lone ruling party. Furthermore, colaition governments are only effective if the shared vision they possess is actually demonstrated in the actions they take upon taking office.

It would seem to me that a radically new direction is needed and it is doubtful that any of these recycled political leaders and parties is willing and able to make the necessary changes.

Anonymous said...

Talking about government of coalition is abovious. It will 18th of Jan until we know about anything.

Fahad said...

The country is so split right now that it seems that only a coalition government would be able to work. PPP has significant support in Sindh and Balochistan and PML-N obviously carries a lot of weight in Punjab. That leaves NWFP, which has to be incorporated in to the federation and will be a really troublesome task.

These parties have been in high-level talks since the ARD (2006-7?) meetings and this coalition has good potential. Obviously, we need the hierarchy of the party to show more responsibility this time. I am still curious as to how much influence the parliament will have under Mush as President.

I don't think Nawaz has declared interest for the PM slot bc he isn't eligible to run for office at this point-- neither is Shabhazz. That is why they have been heavily promoting Javed Hashmi since his release.

Anonymous said...

Neither Nawaz or Zardari are running, but there have been articles mentioning that both may run in the by-elections within six months from the election date.

The idea of a coalition government may sound great, but do we trust these leaders to set aside their personal vendettas and monetary aspirations and actually cooperate?