Rainbow of Power Triangle in Pakistan Minus Musharraf

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ali Karami

Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of the late former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has finally decided to run in the next presidential race but Pakistan Muslim League (PML–N) Leader Nawaz Sharif has conditioned his agreement with Zardari’s presidential bid to reducing the enhanced powers of the president.

Nawaz Sharif, the former Pakistani prime minister who was overthrown in a bloodless coup by General Pervez Musharraf in 1999 which brought the latter to power as president, is strongly opposed to the presidential authority to dissolve the parliament and dismiss the prime minister.

A thorough look at the political developments in Pakistan over the past few days will tell us that the main reason for the coalition to pass through Musharraf was the same special authority held by the chief executive. Nawaz Sharif is in favor of a symbolic presidential post in Pakistan. For the same reason, he has conditioned his agreement to (Pakistan People’s Party nominee) Zardari’s presidential bid to elimination of Amendment 17 of the 1973 Constitution.

Political analysts maintain that post-Musharraf Pakistan will experience new security, political, and economic developments. On the other hand, the choice of playmates by foreign sides in Pakistan after Musharraf is a new event which is set to play an effective role in the political equations of Pakistan. On the one hand, Pakistan’s relations with its neighbors will be affected by the new political equation, and on the other hand, Washington’s traditional and historical relations with Pakistan under Musharraf will be transformed so that the American officials would try to turn the course of the events in their own favor by interfering in the Pakistani presidential elections.

Nevertheless, domestically speaking, as a first step, Nawaz Sharif is seeking a spidery friendship with the PPP under the new political conditions in order to cut down the special powers of the president, the same powers which once had inflicted a heavy cost on him as the prime minister.

The second step would be to divide the centers of power in Pakistan in the absence of Musharraf. It seems that if Zardari agrees to hold just a symbolic position as president and delegates his powers to the prime minister, and Sharif prepares to assume the post of prime minister, then the triangle of the president, the prime minister and the army commander in Pakistan would enjoy great significance in formulating domestic and foreign policies.

If this happens, the foreign sides would be obliged to look for new teammates in Pakistan without Musharraf.


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