PPP, PML-N and Musharraf: a merry-go-round of alliances
The rotating alliances of our politicians suggest anything is possible. We can only wage bets on what comes next.
There is an age old saying, "all is fair in love and war."
It should be amended to say, “all is fair and possible in love, war and politics."
A couple of years ago, when the PPP came into power, the PML -Q or the King's Party (as it was rightly dubbed), was its arch rival.
The PPP's success in the elections was considered to be "sweet revenge" against then President Musharraf and his henchmen (read: PML-Q). Before and after forming the "people's government," Mr. Zardari made tall claims about political reconciliation and underwent several negotiations with the PML-N.
Even his detractors were thoroughly impressed with the friendly overtures of Mr. Zardari towards Mr. Sharif and the now-forgotten Murree Declaration was hailed as a major breakthrough. The nation felt that finally, its much criticised leaders had realised that confrontational politics were of no use and it was time for everyone to turn a new leaf.
Sadly, within a few months, Mr. Zardari reneged on most of his promises and brought the beleaguered nation back to the same old blame game. All the reconciliatory moves between the PPP and PML-N failed. What brought two former rivals to the table were their common enemies at the time: Musharraf and his cronies.
There is no denying that the PPP's popularity is at an all-time low. Many people attribute this lost love for PPP to its wrong political moves: dragging its feet on the restoration of judges, massive corruption and above all, its inept management of the most devastating natural disaster in the history of Pakistan. The idiot box had plenty of self-proclaimed gurus and experts declaring an inevitable military intervention soon after Eidul Fitr. However, Eid came and went and somehow the signals from army quarters gave those political pundits a really hard pillow to swallow. Martial law was not to come.
When Musharraf decided to launch his political party, the APML, in London, his move carried some substance in spite of his huge unpopularity at the time. His decision to launch a political party was not a mere pie in the sky move and he must have had some assurances of support from his supporters back home. Subsequent to his much-celebrated launch, there were talks of the unification of all the Muslim leagues. The recent statement by Mr. Sharif, in which he said that he was open to an alliance with the PML-Q, minus the Chaudrys and Sheikh Rasheed, was a signal that he was not going to spare the people who had said that the "Sharif brothers had no space in national politics."
The same PML-Q also leveled its angst against the PPP by stating:
"PML-Q will never reconcile with a party which is responsible for breaking Pakistan."
As I stated earlier, politics is a strange game. Former foes can become allies overnight; it all depends on the situation and circumstances.
The recent move by Babar Awan to bring the PML-Q on board with its "reconciliatory politics" should be observed very closely. There are signs that come 2013, if the elections are held, there will a lot of political maneuvering. Only time will tell who will be friends and foes at that time. The current reading, which of course is subject to change, is that the PPP and the PML-Q will align, to isolate the PML-N. At present, the PPP feels that it is at a competitive disadvantage in Punjab and believes that bringing in the PML Q may turn the table on the PML-N.
With all the present uncertainty, who knows whether Mr. Musharraf will make a comeback, to the presidency after reviving old alliances. Could Mr. Zardari assume the role of the prime minister? Of course, all of this is farfetched, but it’s not impossible. All is possible in love, war and politics.