A Tale of Broken Promises<br>BY JAWED IQBAL


The government's proposed amendments package has failed to win the support of any main stream political party from either side of the political spectrum. In fact even the political parties who have had a soft spot for the government have failed to v

Parties who have been supporting the government by hook and crook over the past 3 years have openly distanced ! themselves from the government. Parties such as PAT who were seen as strong allies of Musharaf have seem to be more critical of the government than the official opposition. Dr Qadri specifically, in his recent lecture at the Bar Association Lahore, ridiculed and condemned the government's failure to practice what it has been preaching. He made many specific and revealing allegations which he vehemently backed up. Sending a blow to Musharaf's referendum, Dr Qadri hinted that he was tricked into supporting Musharaf by promises of balancing power between the PM and the president, which were allegedly broken.

Consequently this package seems to be the Musharaf regime's biggest blunder yet, as this more or less nullifies the seven point agenda upon which the Musharaf government was given three years by the Supreme Court. The bedrock of Musharaf's reforms was the accountability process. It now appe! ars that he merely used it to sweet talk the Pakistani people into believing he will eradicate corruption. In the beginning the accountability process seemed to be proving fruitful which also strengthened Musharaf's stance but as soon as he loosened his grip on the accountability process all of Musharaf's policies suffered a major setback. The present accountability process has lost any confidence it had with the Pakistani people, as it seems to be used for political means. NAB is accused by many parties as creating the PML(Q) as a safe haven for corrupt politicians who in turn offer their full fledged allegiance to the dictatorship.

The government has really complicated the accountability process beyond all proportions. The accountability process is basically a tri-dimensional process that being political, financial and institutional. All three need to be dealt with separately but the government ha! s muddled them up creating great confusion. Political accountability which is the need of the time with the elections approaching, is dealt thoroughly by the Prevention of Corruption act 1947. According to it there must be a proportion between 'earning' and 'living'. If such a proportion does not exist then there is sufficient evidence of corruption, unless the accused takes it upon him self to prove the contrary. The law already gives this simple formula which simplifies the accountability process and will speed things up immensely.

Ruthless accountability of politicians is a legal and a democratic method of stopping the way of corrupt politicians which will be welcomed both home and abroad. The authoritarian amendments proposed on the other hand will always be opposed from all walks of life even if the aims are positive and good willed. President Musharaf has been defending these dictatori! al measures recently on the BBC Hard Talk program, saying the centrality of power is the only way to 'get things done'. If this is how he feels then he should stop blowing the trumpet of implementing true democracy. Even though the condition of graduation is a positive step, it is not conclusive, thus requires thorough accountability and further measures through the Election Commission. Thus this will be a full proof plan of clearing the assemblies of illiterate, corrupt and insincere people. If Musharaf is able to achieve this before the election then he should consider it a success, as the remainder of his seven point agenda can be implemented by the post-October elected government.

The proposed amendment of the president having the discretion of appointing the PM of his choice is an open indication of the lack of trust which Musharaf has in the PML(Q). This could have been avoided if the go! vernment supported clean parties who truly supported its seven point agenda. The government in fact is in limbo with regard to its future course of action, as all of its so-called projects seem to have gone wrong with specific regard to the National Alliance and the PML unification. It is reported that the government is now forced to draw ranks with the ARD and the MMA. These two alliances have caused the government the most embarrassment with their fierce and vehement opposition to it. The MMA consists of parties such as the Jamaat-e-Islami and the JUI who lead a national campaign against the government's support of the 'war against terrorism'. Consequently the government charged the leadership of these parties with treason and kept them in confinement. Now there are reports of these parties, under the umbrella of the MMA, will be filling the position left vacant by the Pakistan Awami Tehr! eek (PAT), as it seems to have apparently distanced itself from the government after its departure from the National Alliance. This shows the fact that the government is only interested in achieving its objectives through the support of any party no matter what the background of that party may be. Any party which accepts the puppet role being offered to it, fits in with government plans.

It is because of such conduct that the government finds itself in a position where no party is willing to support it. Musharaf is now considered by all parties especial those who were pro-government as 'the boy who cried wolf'. When a dictator runs out of friends, then the future can be very volatile bringing totally unexpected changes in the governmental setup. It has to be said that Musharaf is no different from the dictators of the past, but he was successful in fooling the people in thinking he was diffe! rent.

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