Off with his head

Islamabad’s new rubber stamp

It was inevitable. Poor Mir Zafarullah Jamali had to go. The manner in which his resignation was announced, and the palace intrigue sorrounding the choice of a successor sounds more Kremlinesque than democratic – in spite of what the US state department thinks.

But now that this has happened, let us see why it happened and what may lie in store for General Musharraf’s ‘democracy’.

Mr Jamali’s sacking will certainly breed uncertainty and may even lead to instability. We shall have an interim prime minister in Chaudhry Shujaat and then General Musharraf will move heaven and earth to get Shaukat Aziz elected from a ‘safe’ National Assembly seat so that he can become prime minister and dance to General Musharraf’s tune. Meanwhile, the opposition will join hands to thwart this move and allegations of ‘rigging’ will rent the air and boycotts will follow in the assembly. In the end we shall have not one (General Musharraf) but two ‘leaders’ who will have been thrust on the nation by reason of the brute force that General Musharraf enjoys because Mr Aziz will be even more of a party ‘loner’ than Mr Jamali ever was.

We hear that General Musharraf was unhappy with Mr Jamali’s inability to deliver and reduce the level of political opposition to him. If this is true then we are surprised at General Musharraf’s reasoning. First, he created a system where the prime minister is less than even a figurehead; then he handpicked Mr Jamali because the latter was thought to be most pliable; now he was peeved at Mr Jamali’s seeming inability to deliver. And pray, how might Mr Aziz be better at delivering General Musharraf’s political agenda where Mr Jamali failed because General Musharraf was not prepared to give to the prime minister what is due him in a parliamentary system? [Daily Times]

Update: Sepoy’s analysis has it that the choice of the next prime minister was not entirely made in Islamabad.