Establishment wants right-wing in power: Rabbani

Published: May 7, 2013

PPP veteran questions silence of US, EU and Britain on relentless Taliban attacks on PPP, ANP and MQM.

KARACHI: 

In Pakistan, political parties use big public rallies to show their strength, especially in the run-up to elections. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf , Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and other parties are doing just that. However, moderate political parties haven’t been able to canvass for votes in the same way because of relentless Taliban attacks on their leaders and supporters.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) believes this is part of a bigger game plan. “Politico-religious parties and right-wing political groups are conniving with the establishment to damage and weaken left-wing parties,” PPP Senator Raza Rabbani told The Express Tribune in an exclusive interview on Monday.

Senator Rabbani said the establishment has been in league with conservative parties for a long time. “Together they set long- and short-term priorities,” he added. “Left-wing political groups, on the other, hand could never find favour with the establishment.”

Referring to the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal as an example of this collusion, Senator Rabbani blamed Musharraf for gelling politico-religious parties into an electoral alliance in 2002 in an attempt to ‘sideline’ moderate and liberal political forces. “Former military dictator Pervez Musharraf purposely increased the strength of the lower house of Parliament to 342 through the Legal Framework Order. His purpose was that no single political party should win a clear majority,” Senator Rabbani said. Musharraf knew that a coalition government would be more vulnerable to interference, he added.

But, in a new twist, Rabbani doesn’t just lay the blame on Pakistan’s establishment.

He believes the ‘international establishment’ is also supporting conservative political parties in Pakistan. “They want a government of right-wing parties or their sympathisers which could serve their interests after the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan in 2014,” he said.

Referring to the May 2011 Abbottabad raid, Senator Rabbani said the United States violated Pakistan’s sovereignty and all international laws to kill al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. “But why is it silent over relentless attacks on liberal parties like PPP, ANP and MQM,” he questioned. “How should we interpret the silence of the United Kingdom and European Union on this targeted violence?”

Senator Rabbani said extremist and undemocratic elements wanted postponement of elections by causing a major tragedy. “Before the 2008 elections, the establishment conspired with conservative elements and assassinated [PPP chairperson] Benazir Bhutto in an attempt to get the elections postponed,” he said, adding that the PPP showed restraint and thwarted the conspiracy.

In view of these conspiracies, the PPP has changed its election strategy. “We know that extremist elements want to target PPP’s public rallies – but we’re not giving them any opportunity,” he said. The party has advised all its candidates to run their individual campaigns in their respective constituencies.

Though his party hasn’t been able to campaign freely, Senator Rabbani is still upbeat. “I believe PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz will emerge as the two biggest parties in the elections,” he said, but refused to say if the future government would be a coalition. “It’s too early to speculate about this.”

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto has not been able to lead his party’s political campaign, although he’s been addressing party meetings via video link. Senator Rabbani defended Bilawal’s absence from the scene, citing ‘serious threats’ to his life. He also dispelled the rumours of differences between Bilawal Bhutto and other PPP leaders. Listing the achievements of the PPP during its five years in power, he said the PPP had strengthened the federation and given an identity to the Pakhtun people, referring to the renaming of NWFP as Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Senator Rabbani is known as the architect of the historic 18th constitutional amendment that gave more powers to the federating units. He said that the 18th and 19th constitutional amendments might have flaws – but those could be addressed through the continuity of the democratic process.

And what is of paramount importance is that this process continues, says the PPP stalwart. “If the democratic transition of power does not take place peacefully, the future of the federation would be in jeopardy.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • Hasan Hasni
    May 7, 2013 - 5:48AM

    Mr. Rabbani I thought of you a sincere Pakistani during your time in opposition but I found you of same crop of the politician when you destroyed the Higher Education Commission and did not utter a word about activities of PPP Amman Committee when you were part of government.

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  • A2Z
    May 7, 2013 - 6:09AM

    We cannot buy your crap about establishment anymore. The way you are crying right now, we the people of Pakistan also cried in last 5 years but your government never listened to them rather it was busy in looting the country with both hands. Your govt never bothered to address the issues of common man and now you don’t have courage to face the public so trying to accuse establishment. Also you cannot use pro Bhutto and anti-Bhutto slogan anymore as their is third force which is PTI. They are not dividing people of Pakistan to get into the power like PPP, PML-N, ANP, MQM and JI but they are uniting them on the name of Pakistan.

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  • Ahmad
    May 7, 2013 - 6:50AM

    Strange and incoherent reasoning by Sen. Rabbani.

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  • Ayesha
    May 7, 2013 - 7:26AM

    who is this “establishment” ? cant a security guard be just a “security guard” here in pakistan, like india ?

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  • khan
    May 7, 2013 - 7:49AM

    Senator Rabbani, you really have disappointed me

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  • Maaz
    May 7, 2013 - 8:01AM

    After you couldnt get anything right, all u can do is blame others.

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  • Ayesha
    May 7, 2013 - 8:30AM

    So do we :D

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  • asim
    May 7, 2013 - 8:49AM

    Very strange observation. International establishment backing conservative parties???

    One thing is sure MQM + PPP + ANP has done zero to control Taliban or improve life’s of people; so there graph is negative they need excuses now

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  • Pakistani
    May 7, 2013 - 8:50AM

    Now they also know that they were putting money on wrong horses.

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  • A J Khan
    May 7, 2013 - 8:53AM

    Mr Rabbani has been morally over rated. His conduct is no different from any other mean, & corrupt politician. PPP as a whole has to find a sand bag to hide behind and hide their faces. The performance of their party was dismal. They are trying to gain sympathy vote by exposing their workers to killers of TTP a part of well thoughout plan.

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  • Iqbal
    May 7, 2013 - 9:01AM

    There is no right and left wing in Pakistan anymore… the left wing people don’t have their own terrorist wings…similarly, the right wing leader Nawaz shareef is on-record denying the two-nation theory and the basis of Pakistan.

    Its only right and wrong (PTI vs rest)

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  • Khan
    May 7, 2013 - 10:09AM

    Its a win win situation for PPP, MQM, ANP, because if they win they really can boast how good they were for past five years and if they loose they can blame it on the right wing parties and the establishment. Nice try Mr. Rabbani

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  • Alibaba
    May 7, 2013 - 10:24AM

    It would be much better if you also accepts your bad governance instead of making excuses.

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  • Mozart
    May 7, 2013 - 10:31AM

    PPP, it’s time to accept your failures as a government. Unfortunately for you guys, Pakistan does not fall for emotional exploitation anymore. If you want to survive ( I hope you don’t ) then you need to do politics on real issues rather than using self-victimization.

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  • H.A. Khan
    May 7, 2013 - 10:33AM

    Mr Rabbani,you have disappointed me and lot of other people with your lame statement.
    Admit that past five years were worse example of bad governance, cronyism and corruption.

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  • fz
    May 7, 2013 - 10:33AM

    Fool around someone else

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  • Syed Ahmed
    May 7, 2013 - 11:11AM

    ONLY RIGHT vs WRONG

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  • hasan
    May 7, 2013 - 11:11AM

    I personally think these countries (USA, UK and the EU) are just desperately hoping for Pakistan to disappear from the world map.

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  • Rao Amjad Ali
    May 7, 2013 - 11:12AM

    Senator, your arguments are incoherent! Why would “international establishment”, whatever entities that expression entails, my guess is the NATO alliance, be supportive of the right wing elements in Pakistan which bad mouths them at the meekest opportunity for doing so?

    At any rate, why would the UK and EU or the US side with PTI, (N), JUF and JI at this point, after having worked closely with the PPP for 5 years, albeit from a governance perspective 5 dead years. What is it that these right wing elements would do for the “international establishment” that PPP will not, including continuation of the drone project?

    Although the PPP is the only secular national organization, it does not have a Hugo Chavez or a Benazir at the helm and thus it is entirely conceivable that, if push came to shove, a PPP-PML (N) coalition comes into force.

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  • Vijay(Indian)
    May 7, 2013 - 11:15AM

    What he is saying is absolutely correct. Who created the “Taliban” and with whose help?The answer is obvious the western rich countries to serve their own interests Pakistan was used for serving their interests and also Pakistan too got lots of financial assistance for doing so.

    Pakistan cannot stand on its legs until and unless corruption and inefficiency is rooted out of Pakistani system or else Pakistan would always present itself in front of western countries with a begging bowl and act as an agent for western countries as in the past and create “Frankenstein” which threaten and kill its own people.

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  • Yousuf Ahmad
    May 7, 2013 - 12:59PM

    Rabbani Sb., with the performance and all the “good” deeds done in the last 5 years, who would want the same set of coalition partners back in power. Establishment aside, the people of Pakistan are fed up with the shameless corruption and pathetic governance of the last government. People want change and Insha’Allah will see a positive change in the coming elections.

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  • Tufan Agha
    May 7, 2013 - 1:01PM

    @Vijay(Indian):
    When Inidan support some thing in Pakistan, cross your fingers.

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  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    May 7, 2013 - 1:11PM

    If so then it is true that the rest of the world portrait us as ” Warriors ” which will bring more miseries in our lives.

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