from: Pakistan's turbulent politics: First days of the Raja | The Economist
Pakistan's turbulent politics
First days of the Raja
Jun 22nd 2012, 16:46 by S.S. | ISLAMABAD
The temperature in Pakistan’s hyper-activist Supreme Court must have reached boiling point after Raja Pervez Ashraf was chosen on June 22nd as the candidate of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for prime minister. His predecessor, Yousaf Raza Gilani, was thrown out of the job this week by their Lordships.
The PPP had initially chosen Makhdoom Shahabuddin, an aristocratic former health minister, as the next prime minister, on June 20th. But by the following day it had to hurriedly ditch him, after a warrant was issued for his arrest. While he was health minister, the ministry approved the import of a huge quantity of a chemical that can be used to manufacture ecstasy pills and other narcotics. By Friday, instead of walking into Prime Minister’s House, Mr Shahabuddin was in court, seeking pre-arrest bail.
The choice of Mr Ashraf is deeply problematic. He is known to all Pakistan as “Raja Rental”, for presiding over deals which involved the government paying cronies to set up temporary or “rental” power plants, to plug the crippling shortfall in electricity supply, while he was energy minister.
The rental plants were often established with ageing equipment, though the government was charged for new gear, and the blackouts only grew. Rental power was deemed a “total failure” according to a Supreme Court judgment on the issue earlier this year, for producing high cost and insufficient electricity.
That verdict found that officials involved, including Mr Ashraf, had “violated the principle of transparency” and must be investigated by the anti-corruption watchdog, the National Accountability Bureau, to see if they were “getting financial benefits” out of the “scam”.
But more than the courts, the people of Pakistan will feel aggrieved at the appointment of a man whose ministry oversaw over a national disaster, pursuing questionable schemes while simply watching the problem grow. Mr Ashraf, 61, became known for continually predicting the imminent end of the electricity shortage, only to have to eat his words before unabashedly issuing a new rosy prediction.
In recent days, the relentless summer heat has triggered violent protests across Punjab, the province that houses over half the population, over the electricity shortages, which means that fans and refrigerators don’t work. There is misery for households while industry is being shut down.
Some in Pakistan see even darker clouds ahead. The appointment of Mr Ashraf will also not impress the military, which is the ultimate arbiter of Pakistan’s political process. The timing of the move on Mr Shahabuddin was seen as highly suspicious, not least by him. The Anti-Narcotics Force, which is headed by an army general, is pursuing Mr Shahabuddin.
Conspiracy theorists—which includes most people here—think the object is to force early elections or even create such chaos that an excuse will be found to impose an unelected government of technocrats, by the military and courts working together. Elections have to be called by March 2013 anyway.
The legal-political circus is set to continue, so Mr Ashraf’s tenure could be very short lived. Mr Gilani was disqualified from office by the Supreme Court for refusing to write a letter to the Swiss authorities to request the re-opening of dormant money-laundering cases against the president, Asif Ali Zardari, who also heads the PPP.
Mr Ashraf is expected by his boss, the president, to resist court orders. As the legal arguments now having already been exhausted with Mr Gilani, the court will probably give Mr Ashraf little time to comply before also dispensing with him. Then yet another prime minister will be needed. Pakistan can forget about any actual business of government getting done.
There are three options now.
1- Raja is charged on contempt, and circus goes on. Court should not do it, because 2 PM's is just too much.
2- The court writes the letter on it's own after forming a commission. good option.
3- Enough pressure is built on Zardari and government that they are forced to elections. Most commentators are saying that something might happen by October.
And on that Shahabuddin thing. Here's how the story is going on the media right now.
ANF was formed for countering narcotics, and hence has close cooperation with the world agencies and government. Shahabuddin was involved in exporting the drug, above the quota limit, hence also making it a international case. So, there was international pressure that a guy who is accused of exporting illegal drugs is made PM of the country. So the warrants were issued and all that took place.
That is Supreme Court is too busy in dealing with existing cases and give a hearing date after 3 months. 1 hearing date and then another hearing date after 3 months again and then election time will be near.
Writing the letter is imminent but not humiliate the nation all over the world by disqualifying the second Prime Minister in a short period of time. Zardari to waise bhi besharami ki harkatain kar raha hai -- SC ko hi thora khayal kar lena chahiye
There will be another contemp of court hearing for PM Raja Ashraf if he did not write the letter to the supreme court. Last time Gilani took about 6 months in contempt of court's final decision, Raja Ashraf can prolong this by following the right procedure and wasting 3 months in the Election Commission too. But Supreme Court should also consider everything in mind especially the bad signal going in the world and let this government complete the tenure if there is no elections before 18th of Feb 2013
I think Raja Ashraf only has 5/6 months since after that there will be interim Government for 3 months so it is just a matter of 6 months now
Ok but also open cases against Nawaz sharif lier who ran way in Saudi Arabia for comfort life.
If SP does not open cases against NS, then PPP will appear as victim and Due to sympathy, PPP vote will increase.
Justice should be on Both side.
PTI has made SC & Cj thier drak horses , to get the power , which IMRAN is dreaming most!
PPP & every one with crouption casses, or anyone doing anything wrong should face justice, but frist priorty of the SC , should be the terrorists & extermists, who were arrested by pakamy & other law-enforcing agencies!
this is thier frist duty,& for all other ills they have lot of time?
SC should get a fresh Cj , as this Cj is been seen a political horse of PTI!
what SC & Cj has done against terrorism?http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/716912.shtml
Pakistan lodges protest over Afghanistan cross-border attack
Xinhua | 2012-6-25 13:51:27
Pakistan on Monday protested to the Afghan government over a militants' cross-border attack on a checkpost, which killed at least 6 Pakistani soldiers, according to local media.
Security officials said that Pakistani Taliban militants now operating from the border regions in Afghanistan Sunday attacked a checkpost in Upper Dir district and killed 6 soldiers.
A spokesman for Pakistani Taliban Siraj-ud-Din claimed in phone calls to the media in Pakistan responsibility for the attack and said 17 Pakistani soldiers were killed.
Siraj-ud-Din said that Maulana Fazalullah, the former chief of Taliban in Swat valley, is now leading his fighters in border regions of Afghanistan and also issues instructions to their remnants in Swat and nearby areas.
Adviser to Pakistani Prime Minister on interior affairs, Abdul Rehman Malik expressed his grievances to Afghanistan over the Afghan militant attack on Pakistani security personnel in Upper Dir area, local TV channels reported.
Malik contacted the Afghan Interior Minister to register his complaint over the incident and "blamed Afghan authorities for not preventing the cross border movement of militants into Pakistan", Dawn TV reported.
Local media put the death toll at 10 while 10 more had been missing since the Sunday attack.
Security sources said that Pakistan forces killed 15 militants in retaliatory action.
The security forces' team was patrolling on the Pakistan- Afghanistan border when it was attacked by the militants who crossed the border, local reports said. The sources said that the team was sent to gather information of militant presence in the area.
Pakistan insists that several top Pakistani Taliban leaders, including Fazalullah, Maulvi Faqir of Bajaur tribal region and Abdul Wali from Mohmand tribal agency, have established bases in Afghanistan and regularly launch attacks on Pakistani border posts from there.
Pakistani Taliban in a major cross-border attack in August last year had killed 25 security men in northern Chitral district.
Afghan government denied Islamabad's assertions, but a senior Pakistani official disclosed this month that the Afghan government has now admitted presence of Pakistani Taliban in remote Afghan areas.
Also on Friday, two Pakistani security men were killed and two others were injured when a mortar shell hit a border post in Mohmand Agency, official sources said. The sources said a rocket was fired by militants from across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, which struck the post in Khwezai region.
Last edited by batmannow; 06-26-2012 at 03:28 AM.
So does PTI now go to the SC and get this PM removed?
from: New prime minister defends Zardari immunity | DAWN.COM
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf defended on Saturday President Asif Ali Zaradri’s immunity, saying it would end the day after he leaves office.
His comments come after the Supreme Court on Wednesday gave the new prime minister two weeks to indicate whether he would ask Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against the president.
The issue has caused removal of Ashraf’s predecessor Yousuf Raza Gilani from office as prime minister on June 19 after the court convicted him of contempt in April for refusing to reopen the multi-million-dollar cases.
“He (Asif Ali Zardari) is the democratic elected President of Pakistan and as per law he enjoys the immunity as long as he holds the office,” Ashraf told reporters in Lahore.
When the new prime minister was asked what the government’s stance would be at the upcoming Supreme Court hearing on July 12, Ashraf reiterated the presidential immunity.
“All the legal experts have given us the same opinion… So we will see the matter from the same angle,” he said.
Analysts say the latest notice by the Supreme Court indicates the judiciary is unwilling to end a showdown with the government that could force elections before February 2013, when the administration would become the first in Pakistan to complete a full five-year mandate.
The allegations against Zardari date from the 1990s when he and his late wife, ex-premier Benazir Bhutto, were suspected of using Swiss accounts to launder $12 million allegedly paid in bribes by companies seeking customs inspection contracts.
The Swiss shelved the case in 2008 when Zardari became president.
But in 2009 the Supreme Court overturned a political amnesty that had frozen investigations into the president and other politicians, ordering that the cases be reopened.
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