White Lies


That there is no love lost between Aitzaz Ahsan and Ch Nisar is hardly breaking news. But word has it that the friction goes far deeper than democracy, parliament or dharna politics. The grapevine is, in fact, speaking of a proxy war being played out in parliament. Pulling the strings from afar is, apparently, Hanif Abbasi, N’s Rawalpindi man since Sh Rashid jumped ship for the ’02 election. And Abbasi’s proximity to real estate tycoon Malik Riaz is no secret; and Aitzaz Ahsan is Riaz’s lawyer, so connecting the dots reveals a personal, not political, clash which manifested itself in the assembly the other day.

There’re also some conspiracy theories doing the rounds. Like Ch Nisar overplayed his hand, or tried to throw a monkey wrench into the proceedings, because he was convinced Nawaz would resign, and guess who would take his place? Add to that rumours that little brother Shahbaz might have played some role in fuelling thoughts of big brother Nawaz’s ouster, and you have the perfect Raiwind soap opera playing out on primetime TV.


Dharna politics comes with some interesting spillovers. The latest concern is that it rubs the economy the wrong way. If you believe the government, it’s already botched an IMF tranche, wrecked the stock market and hurt the rupee. But it’s also had unintended consequences for the aunties of Islamabad. Among other things, it has seriously disrupted their committee parties. It’s not easy to move about with so many containers blocking the roads, law and order concerns, etc. Then there’s the bunch that is engaged too deeply with the protests, unable to give time to committee commitments. That makes for a whole new bunch of transactions disrupted by the demonstration.