Following several threats, and disagreements after President Zardari refused to sack Gilani on Maulan’s insistence, Fazlurrehman left the coalition, and said they had reached a point of no return as far as prime minister Gilani was concerned. The MQM, obviously has provided the Maulana reinforcement by departing from the coalition, stating differences over issues such as General Reformed Sales Tax.
To the surprise of an appalled majority of Pakistanis, President Zardari and his trusted aid Rehman Malik are bending backwards to woo Rehman back into the coalition. For this, they appear to go to any extent, and this became evident on the floor of the National Assembly on Thursday with Minister Khurseed Shah’s categorical assurance that the law would not be touched.
The two major factions of the centrist and opportunistic Pakistan Muslim Leagues have also kept quite on Fazlurrehman’s position on the Blasphemy Law – as if it were a divine revelation. It is surprising as to what holds educated leaders like Mushahid Hussein, Marvi Memon, Nisar Ali Khan, Ahsan Iqbal, Ishaq Dar, Khurram Dastgir, and so many others to take a principled position on a law that was the product of a retrogressive and cunning mindset with the prime objective of subjugating the country in the name of religion. Unfortunately, the events so far suggest that leaders of both major political parties are guided and dictated more by self-interest and power-pursuit rather than a concern for the present and future Pakistan.
What has happened in the last two years – betrayals by Zardari, accommodation of bearded politicians at the cost of national interests (Appointment of Ataurrehman as Minister for Tourism), undue appeasement of the MQM, the autocratic Sharif rule in Punjab, ambiguous and self-centered posturing by Nawaz Sharif, crude attempts by PPP top-brass to appoint friends and cronies to critical posts, has all resulted in widespread resentment as well as frustration at the public level.
In the current perilous socio-political conditions of the country, the public expected a relatively more self-less governance by the leaders, particularly those who needed to go an extra mile to improve their image. But public saw little happening at the top. Present circumstance demand that all mainstream leaders, if they at all are interested in preserving a liberal Pakistan, position themselves in a more bold way to confront all those bigots who want to keep the country beholden to ignorance in the name of Islam. Nothing will please and convince Pakistanis than the refusal of mainstream political parties to be blackmailed by those who have thrived and prospered manifold by employing religion as a tool for political ends.
Unless we stood up to obscurantist forces, the country will keep sinking in religiously-wrapped ignorance. Self avowed liberal parties such as the PPP and ANP had essentially dashed all those hopes that had emerged after the 2008 elections, once again proving that whether liberal or otherwise, these parties care less for the people – the real power behind them – and more for their own interests.