Implications of Pakistani coalition’s collapse immense: Editorials


Islamabad : Pakistan’s ruling coalition was always shaky but its “disastrous break up will have shaken everyone” as the “implications” of this are “immense” newspaper editorials said Tuesday.

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“The implications of the coalition’s break-up are immense,” Dawn said in an editorial titled “End of the coalition”.

“Although the fate of the coalition was almost a foregone conclusion keeping events of recent days in mind, the shock of the disastrous break up will have shaken everyone, not least the people of Pakistan, many of whom must have thought that with General (Pervez) Musharraf’s departure (as president), some semblance of stability and security would return to the country,” The News said.

Its editorial was headlined “Things fall apart”.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif announced here Monday he was pulling his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) out of the ruling coalition as Asif Ali Zardari, co-chair of alliance leader Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), had backtracked on his promise to reinstate the 60 senior judges Musharraf had sacked after proclaiming an emergency last November.

According to Dawn, “the people wanted an end to the crisis” that began last March when Musharraf sacked Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, “but the coalition’s collapse has disappointed them, for they see further uncertainty and a blurring of the national horizon.

“More frighteningly, besides a worsening of the economic situation, the political instability could encourage the Taliban to step up their war on Pakistan,” the newspaper said.

The issue now, Dawn said, was “not who is to blame more but the consequences of the grand coalition’s break-up.

“There is no doubt that a strong sense of vindictiveness has guided the PML-N’s policies on the two issues. With Musharraf gone Sharif has focused on the judges’ issue at the expense of other larger interests such as the economy and militancy,” the newspaper added.

The News said: “Equally disappointing is the reality that the political parties seem to have not learnt too many lessons from the past.

“We may well see a return to the squabbling and bickering of the 1990s when fighting between Mr. Sharif’s party and the PPP then led by Benazir Bhutto often ended up paralysing government and with it governance.”

It also noted that as far as political ideology, worldview and related character traits are concerned, the PPP and the PML-N were poles apart.

“For example, one just has to take a look at their respective stands on the war against terror and realise how dissimilar their views are,” the newspaper said.

With the new battle-lines drawn, The News said, Sharif had “played his cards well” for the time being, “presumably wanting to further his populist credentials” by naming respected former Supreme Court chief justice Saeeduz-zaman Siddiqui as his party’s presidential candidate.

“The numbers game is now on and horse trading, blackmailing, vote-stealing and related pursuits may well re-emerge as they did in the 1990s.

“And the worst part is that in this complete mess unleashed by the break-up of the coalition, the real issues of the people, their security, bread and butter as well as the economic challenge of tackling inflation and reducing poverty, and the hydra of militancy and terrorism may well be relegated further down the government’s list of priorities – since it will be fighting not for the survival of its citizens but for its own,” The News said.