In The News and Jang of Sunday, May 2, 2010, Tariq Butt has presented a report captioned “Zardari holds power through Core Committee” available on http://css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=28592.
The report talks about a Core Committee being formulated of the closest aides of the President, who happens to be the Co-Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party, and that this body is being termed as a “supra-constitutional state within a state” whose dictates are to be followed by the powerful Prime Minister.
Let me first ask readers to search the APP website where all the Core Committee meetings held are recorded with a press statement coming from Farhatullah Babar.
The Core Committee has been holding its meetings since August 2009, hence, the issue of a Core Committee and it being a state within a state can simply be considered yet another attempt of the Jang Group and its reporters to present to the public a picture which is not entirely true. The picture they are presenting is that Zardari is controlling all power after the passage of the 18th Amendment and that having a power parliamentary system head by the Prime Minister is a sham.
The Core Committee as mentioned in the report is a brainstorming forum where matters are discussed frankly by members. Now the question arises as to why was there a need for a Core Committee to be formulated by the PPP?
Let us look at the structure of the PPP. The PPP is headed by a Chairperson who leads the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the Party. The CEC has members belonging to all the four provinces (including office bearers of the provincial bodies), AJK and Gilgit Baltistan along with some special invitees.
The CEC members are listed on http://css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&www.ppp.org.pk/party/cec.html whose members are 82 in number. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto is no more with us, Begum Nusrat Bhutto is ill while Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is not currently an active member and participant of the CEC. In essence it is a body of 79 active members. If you have a look at the members, there are some who have clearly defied the party lines in the recent past. I don’t have to name them, you can read the same.
It may also be noted that despite of criticism or open defiance by some members, none of the members of the CEC have been removed ever since Mr. Zardari became the Co-Chairman of the party. Question arises that what is the problem in having a consultative body where the pros and cons of any decision, policy or vision are deliberated upon? It is to the Core Committee’s credit that matters related to NFC, Gilgit Baltistan Province, 18th Amendment and even the controversial NRO were discussed and then moved to the relevant public forums.
It was also funny to read a line in the report where someone in the PML N “disapproves it (Core Committee), saying it amounts to ridiculing the Constitution”. What a joke. This coming from a party whose structure is not known even after 22 years of existence and even till now decisions are taken by their Quaid against what is the apparently agreed party line. I can imagine the humiliation PML N members of the Constitutional Reforms Committee (Ahsan Iqbal, Ishaq Dar and Mehtab Abbasi) must have faced when Nawaz Sharif made his legendary U Turn of not supporting the 18th Amendment.
As far as the Jang group is concerned, it has been following a policy of “get Zardari” without fail and remains a tool in the hands of those who are hell bent in ensuring that the PPP doesn’t complete a full tenure. I have always been a strong believer in trends. Pervez Musharraf may have done a million wrongs, but his one right action of allowing a parliament to complete its tenure from 2002-2007 was a pat in the back for our electoral and parliamentary system.
Once may have been a fluke but twice is a streak. If the PPP completes one tenure, then these prophets of doom and gloom in Pakistan like Ansar Abbasi, Shahid Masood, Shaheen Sehbai, Tariq Butt, Saleh Zaafir, Irfan Siddiqui, Haroon ur Rasheed, who all incidentally are associated with the same media group, will bite dust.