PPP does not seem indebted to Kayani


While some political forces are thankful to the outgoing army chief for his role in perpetuating the democratic set up in Pakistan, the PPP leaders do not hold this view and are not indebted to him.
As opposed to popular perception, PPP leaders privately say, though quite late in the day that they do not think if Ashfaq Kayani had played any positive role for strengthening democracy in his extended tenure.
A party leader, requesting not to be named, said that when Nawaz Sharif started his long march for the restoration of judges, it was the military that encouraged the PML-N leader in the first place to take on the then PPP government and launch a long march.
“When the march reached Gujranwala there were ominous voices started coming from Islamabad which by the way harbours the famous 111 Brigade. It was these ominous voices that forced President Zardari to restore judges,” he claimed.
General Kayani has been credited for restoring judiciary when the judicial crisis was at its peak in the country. It was perceived then that when the long march reached Gujranwala half-way through its destination, Kayani contacted Zardari and then latter took U-turn and restored judges. The march was started from Lahore when the PPP was running the provincial government but it seemed it had no control over the things then.
Another PPP leader said, “Role of Kayani again when the PPP government tried to bring ISI under civilian control and later when US government introduced Kerry-Lugar bill was against the democratic norms. I do not know if the press release issued then by ISPR was anyway helpful for the democratic dispensation.”
He said that in the Memogate Scandal the main target was President Zardari. The defence secretary then bypassed all the legal authorities and filed the military’s replies directly in the SC.
The secretary did not bother to consult the defence or law ministers or the attorney general, he added.
However, it is quite paradoxical that it is under PPP rule that Kayani got extension twice and it is PPP that defended military the most when it was under fire from all sides, especially after US raids in Abbottabad.
The independent observers say that if military’s role under Kayani was not beneficial for one political force, for others it was a service to democracy, especially the holding of general elections on time and then peaceful democratic transition.