Wednesday, February 6, 2008

NEW POLL: Who Should be the Leader of the PPP?

Last week's poll closed yesterday with interesting results. Despite Sen. Obama's recent hint at a U.S. intervention in Pakistan, the majority of CHUP readers still felt he should be the next U.S. president (48%). Only 20% of those who participated in the poll answered Sen. Clinton, while 16% responded that Sen. McCain should be the next man in the White House. Either our readers have immensely forgiven Obama for what some may call his "harsh" words against Pakistan, or he's just a more viable option than the other presidential front-runners.

In this week's poll, I wanted to touch on the significant developments related to the assassinated former PM Benazir Bhutto's party - the Pakistan People's Party, or the PPP. Yesterday, [see February 5 post] news sources revealed the contents of Bhutto's political will, which was reportedly read to party leaders during her funeral but was released yesterday to "end any doubts about Bhutto's wishes about the leadership of the party." According to news sources yesterday, Bhutto, in her will, called for her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, to lead the party. Although the Dawn reported yesterday that Zardari indicated he may be the next PM if the PPP wins the Feb. 18th elections, an article in the Hindu today disputed the claim, reporting Zardari said he has "no intention" of attaining the post, noting instead the party would decide its leader.

This week's poll seeks to survey your views on who should lead the party - should it be Zardari, widely seen as a divisive figure for the party, his son, Bilawal Bhutto, still a student in England, or even Bhutto's estranged 25 year old niece Fatima, well-known for writing and articulate opinions in Pakistan. There are also Makhdoom Amin Fahim - the Vice Chairman of the party, who is the expected PM candidate, and Aitzaz Ahsan - the prominent Pakistani lawyer who was recently put under house arrest [see February 3rd post].

A good side note: Zardari's op-ed piece in today's LA Times.


Maria said...

I have to say I'm pretty surprised myself that Obama was the poll winner with a whopping 48%. I definitely have not forgotten about his comments on forcibly going into Pakistan, and I find it very interesting that a lot of Pakistanis I know are unequivocally supporting him in his campaign. You're right in saying a lot of people see him as a more viable option than others, but maybe they are just thinking in terms of what the U.S. needs. We have to remember that at the end of the day, Pakistan is sadly somewhat of a puppet state. When voting in the US this November, we are basically voting for who's going to lead in Pakistan. Electing someone who we think will fix the American social and economic situation is not necessarily what's best for back home. I'd be very interested to hear how Pakistani Obama supporters are justifying his comments, maybe I'm missing something here.

Anonymous said...

If the PPP is in actuality a party which believes in democracy, why don't they hold party primaries to determine who the leader is? The party can't pay lip service to democracy and at the same time pass power down to the son of the previous leader.

Curious-cat said...

I am following Pakistani politics for the last 30 years. The story is that the only element, which has derailed democracy over and over again and has rolled Pakistan into total chaos and bankruptcy, is the Pakistani army. There are far and few good soldiers left in the army now. Many have the mentality of wealth speculators. Generals and high-ranking military personal are raking money by the millions if not billions. There is no accountability of the defense budget.
The recent phenomenon is the disappearance of people by security agencies with no traces of them. This reminds me of the Pinoche’s regime in Chile. This is the only country where a judge of the supreme court is jailed/house-arrested and the army is seeking local police help to provide security for them in the local areas. General Mushraf has surpassed all his military predecessors when it comes to cracking down on dissidents.

Having said that, it is also a fact that political parties have no democratic process in their parties either. Benazir has on many occasions showed her anger when asked why was she a chairperson for life if she was so much for democracy. The last thing so appalling was her will nominating her husband as the chair of the party. How ironic it is, PPP showing so brazenly, hierarchical ownership of its party. This is more or less true about other parties with the exception of one two who do elect their leaders democratically.

There is no other way but to hold free and fair elections in Pakistan. Under the circumstances, it is unlikely. General Mushraf is still calling the shots. He may have shed his uniform but he is still holding the baton. Democracy is the only way. Mushraf must go.

Ebrahim Shah