Why the PPP will Wait Until 2013?

Why the PPP will Wait Until 2013?

President Zardari has kept all the promises he intended to keep. Wheedling and bargaining, charming and cajoling – the last few months have seen vintage President Zardari in action, dipping into his bag of tricks and emerging with the promised lead in by-elections and a lion’s share in Senate. So much for Nawaz forcing early elections – close, Mian Sahib, but no cigar!


But now that the PPP is clearly ahead of the pack, here’s the next biggie: go for general elections immediately or hang on until 2013?


As the single largest party in the National Assembly and Senate, no one can mess with the PPP’s power to legislate; the Gilani contempt case looks more and more like a false dawn for PPP-haters; the courts and media have together tightened the noose on the security agencies; and the opposition is really just the government in exile – what more could the PPP ask for at this moment?


Is the quinquennium win – a five-year term – even worth it anymore?


Those who say ‘no’ argue that the PPP will be living on borrowed time post-March, mainly because as the next budgetary cycle rolls in, the government will surely run out of money and have to bank either on external rescuing or start printing money. Already, around Rs2-3 billion is being printed every single day, and these figures aren’t going to get any better.


But the naysayers forget something very simple. A fifth whole year in government also means a fifth whole year with the state’s resources at the PPP’s disposal; passing a new budget also means an opportunity to throw goodies at constituencies.


So this May, expect a pro-poor budget dripping with gravy. Don’t be surprised at announcements of little trinkets to make small farmers feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Look out for special programmes for food security and Waseela-e-Sehat type health insurance schemes. Expect to see Baitul Maal working on overdrive and the Benazir Employees Stock Option telling public sector workers they have ownership. Don’t be shocked if the minimum wage is raised and dowry grants announced for the daughters of factory workers. Don’t be outraged when graduates get one-year internships in the name of employment and income-generating schemes.


And rest assured, the PPP isn’t the only one that will play this game. On the front pages of several dailies, a smiling Nawaz and a smug Shahbaz are already giving away residential plots to ‘one lakh ten thousand’ lucky homeless villagers of Punjab. And we already know how the youth has been ‘empowered’ through the distribution of laptops by Khadim-e-Aala.


Any guesses why all these goodies are coming now?


Three words may best describe the Benazir Shaheed villages for flood-hit families and the PML-N’s laptop extravaganza: election year bribes, also known as the advance auction sale of stolen goods. Yup, this is the season of upfront-loading development funds: schemes marked for 2014 will suddenly be approved for 2012, all kinds of brilliant new projects to ‘benefit’ the poor will be speedily commissioned and the PM will use the state’s jets to zip over to five ‘least developed’ districts a day to cut all kinds of ribbons and hand over keys for all kinds of model homes. Election-year bribes in the guise of pro-poor initiatives – it doesn’t get any better.


And here’s another concept: pre-poll rigging – the subtle exercise that allows you to tilt the field in favour of, or against, a contestant. The impartiality of the caretaker government; neutrality of election administration staff; fair use of development funds – these are some of the indices using which the fairness of the pre-poll environment is scored. And the major political parties seem set to have a whale of a time with a whole year at their disposal.


The 20th amendment in place, ‘independent’ caretakers will be chosen combining the collective wisdom of the government and opposition. But the very process by which the mechanism was decided – the PPP browbeating the PML-N into submission – has revealed that the N-League is no longer too concerned that the prime minister and his protector, President Zardari, neither believe in ‘meaningful consultation,’ nor will shy from appointing ‘cronies’ – Chief Election Commissioner and head of the Accountability Bureau? – wherever necessary. Nisar’s “I can’t trust them anymore,” is now: “We have faith in the PPP’s commitments.” From principled to pragmatic politics in one amendment? Oh well. Here’s to consensus, Nawaz the matured moderate, and all the other joys of democracy.


So, it looks like all the important players will be agreed on the interim set-up to oversee the next elections. And we can also be certain to see the PPP going ahead with massive administrative postings and transfers of choice in the coming months; a few thanaydaars here, election administrative staff there, etc. And the beauty of it all: no matter how blatantly non-transparent the process, the interim folks probably won’t squeal because, well, what are a few postings and transfers among friends, right?


And the lagniappe, the little something thrown in for free: AZ as president in 2013 gets to say goodbye to the invincibles-in-chief and see the appointment of the new army chief and chief justice.


On the other hand is a PML-N trying to hide its genuine fear of the Imran Khan monster lurking in the closet. If for nothing else, the snoozing party has been awakened by the IK-factor and realises it needs time to get the voters and candidates onside. The N-Leaguers understands that while IK can criticise the Sharifs until hell freezes over, at the end of the day he can’t go out and get a road built – Shahbaz can. And while IK may have the impassioned voter, he doesn’t have the old party worker – Nawaz does.


In the battle between Itchy & Scratchy, a year can make all the difference.


So, think again: early elections after this Senate win or hang on until 2013?


The article was published in The News (Print) on March , 06, 2013

Mehreen Zahra Malik

An Assistant Editor, The News International

  • Taj Ahmad

    Say ‘No’ to PPP Government in March, 2013.
    Say ‘Yes’ Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf in 2013.

    This is what the new set-up would be in 2013
    President Pervaiz Musharraf
    Prime Minister Imran Khan
    Federal and Provincial Ministers from PPP, MQM, ANP, TIP, PML(Q).

    All 50+ current Division in Pakistan will get the status as Province
    and each new province will have Governor and in all towns will have
    a Mayor and his mini government. Azad Kashmir and North and South
    Waziristan will also become new province of Pakistan.

  • Jazibghouri

    Good article… very right, very real…!!!We can just and pray and “HOPE” may things get better in our country…these few thousand ppl had been looting and ruling for 4 years I don’t know when their “Hunger” will stop..!!

  • Afzaalkhan

    thanks this is a good analysis

  • Sohaib

    ‘election year bribes’ a disappointing term coined by IK followers. if someone is doing something good for common people then why “PITies” are burning like hell on this ? i think now this joke time is over when you’d call IK as a ‘genuine fear’. this straight line relation between PIT popularity and adversity between PPP~Establishment has revealed everything so clearly that we can just laugh at IK who’s soon going to lose Shah Mahmood and that’s going to be last nail in the coffin.

  • imdadali

    if we compare perform, work and honesty of incumbet govt with Gen. Mushraf regime we reach to the conculsion that he (mushraf) did excellent during its initail three years period. when he brought politicans in his pool casued his failure. I endorse the column (democracy-democracy) of a professor (Rtd) of University of Punjab English Department publish daily nation. i say again here in pakistan politics is business than nothing. This is game of some infulenced familes.

  • Navbashir

    Get a poll on GEO – PPP = Corruption OR PPP = Bankruptcy

    See today’s Jang News for the comments of Dr. Ata ur Rehman and Mr. Asad Umer. Unfortunately both are highly educated. PPP of today can appeal to sick minds only out to spread evil of all sorts.

  • Naveed Naiyar Hussain

    If these in the limits of constitution than its O.K., try to back up all the steps just to ensure to run the system.

  • Gillani_shah123

    PPP ,Muslim Laegue(N,Q,F,A,B, C) ANP, MQM all are traitors and working for forieng agents. they are not working pakistani people , they all are abstard traitors.

  • M.Saeed

    The power hungry have gathered under some deal with the lone super power, using people’s sympathy-votes to hoodwink them to pulverization obviously, for their own perpetuation.

    Those who preach “democracy” have already buried it in Senate elections and 20th Amendment. What democracy describes highest bidder being democratic goal? How can someone selling self at 250 million Rupees, still be democratic to his bidder?

    Are we fit for a democracy? The basic essential ingredient for a democratic government to succeed is, the public welfare agenda and honest efforts in its realization that can be demonstrated with ground realities during its preceding tenure. A self enrichment of 4 years and baiting peanuts to the electorates in the 5th year that is fixed as election year, is an insult to democratic people. It can never be a government of the people, for the people, by the people. It can only be a government, of the Powerful, for the Powerful, by the Powerful.

  • M.Saeed

    Thank you Mr.Hashmi for your fury. I wish this ugly incident becomes a catalyst to launch our very own “Pakistan Spring” for a genuine change. Just we need some genuinely concerned person like you, to pick it up as a brain-wave and initiate the chain-reaction. Unfortunately, the PPP fortune-hunters are already conspiring to push it under the carpet using all sort of ugly means and nobody so far has noticed the huge contempt of court they have committed.

  • Anonymous

    We are all prisoners and slaves of false system of democracy of Pakistan. The Party which come into being by crushing democracy is the rulling Party. Horse trading, all kind of corruptions, crushing the peoples basic rights of roti kupra aur makan is the base of this Party by exhorbitant inflation and develuatn of the currency. My bllood is not boiling in rage Dear Hashmi on that sigle event at the epitomical feudal hauteur which Waheedah Shah had displayed. I had discharged my duties as election staff during my service. I know the embarassing situation/position of a Presiding Officer having one day power of an magistrate and the fear after that. The founder of PPP the ZAB is the great crushing learder of democracy and the great inventor of the inflation system in the country. ZAB was the great leader who introduce usage of governments jobs how to occupy the government. Hard currency is gold. from 1947 to about 1960, our governments issues Rupees 80/- against per tola gold and after two great wars in 1972 currency was issued about Rs.130/ against one tola gold. The great ZAB in 1972 started devaluting our currency by 130% and issued about Rs. 340/- against one tola gold. As such the expenses of an department reduces about 130% say if the expenses of an department was 1000 tola gold reduces to 400 tola gold. The wages of an employee automaticcally reduced as from Rs.100/- to Rs. 40/- of his old salary as the government issued Rs.100 against the gold of Rs. 40/-. The great ZAB gave thousands jobs with the salaries of the old employee in this way. The person who got job become the perminant and fast follower of the PPP. This great system is liked and adoped by all the governments. The present government speeding up executed this system making records by issuing 3 billion Rupees perday without having adaquate reserves in State Banik. Every employee in Pakistan is compelled to work about 6 to 10 months on the same salary of a month in value in 1960s.
    Sarmaydars and jagirdars getting full advantages of devaluation. The sells their products on value of international rates and produced by giving meagre salaries to their employees. The word ‘Democracy’ now become a favourate slogan of the corrupt politicians of Pakistan to the fool the peoples wherein peoples have no right in left over 4 years and 364 days except of that one day they vote, to change or check their representative who cheatingly got their vote.

  • Anonymous

    Hashmi Sb

    As Gibran said “your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding” . But those public lashings and that too on a female rear- no matter how ugly – is a bit Ziaesque….don’t you think?!

  • Anonymous

    Exactly the stimulus for building a cafe!


    I am glad the slapee was not a male. Otherwise there would have been a gender war for which Pakistan is hardly ready busy with its acid war.

    • Anonymous

      As you say – fortunately it was a case of a promiscuous ‘slapper’ – democracy and legislative system is safer now – or is it?!