Pakistan Update II

cartoon1121.jpgFor some interesting analysis of the political impact of the passage of the Women’s Protection Bill (WPB) in Pakistan please see this article.

ISLAMABAD – Whether by design or coincidence, the political undertones of the Women’s Protection Bill were never in doubt. The timing, both on occasion of introduction of the bill in September and now its adoption by the assembly, could not have been so cut out to perfectly suit the General-President to whom it has provided reprieve from extremely dicey situations. It has also set in motion the most tantalizing albeit dangerous, options for Gen. Musharraf, besides creating a framework of new political permutations and alignments.
In the immediate future it has caused a grievous vertical rupture in the body politic of the country, the politicians and political parties of all hues and colour, including the king’s party. The combined opposition is in utter disarray; the dream of a grand alliance lays completely shattered; the groupings like ARD and MMA face split down the line among components and within the component parties. In the calculus of gains and losses, Musharraf, for the time being, appears gloriously triumphant, having achieved even unintended objectives.

Passage of the bill has put the government of Pakistan into a chaotic maelstrom — what comes out the other side will be interesting to see. For now, Musharraaf and the PPP have splintered and torn assunder opposition alliances between ARD  and the fundamentalist party, MMA.

In the works are Supreme Court hearings Monday to remove 68 of the MMA because their Madrassa degrees do not qualify them for the assembly under the constitution as required. They are threatening to resign anyway, so this pushes the issue. Also in the works is the possibility of bye-polling, which would neatly nullify all the resignations, and allow the National Assembly and Senate to move a lot of bills good for Pakistan’s future very fast.

Meanwhile Sherpao has thrown the gauntlet at MMA:

Sherpao asks MMA to fulfill resignation promise 

Federal Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Sherpao said Saturday that Muttahida Majlis-i- Amal(MMA) should first fulfill its promise of quitting assemblies than the bye-polls option would be discussed.
Talking to newsmen after a function organized by civil defence department Sherpao said that maintenance of law and order is government’s responsibility, which would be fulfilled at any cost. 
Regarding MMA resignations’ decision, the interior minister said that it was just an announcement as they have yet to fulfill their promise.
Replying to a question about opposition’s stance that they would stop bye polls after their quitting the assemblies, interior minister said that they should submit their resignations first than the government would perform its duty of maintaining law and order and take other measures accordingly.