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Capital suggestion

March 8, 2015

Billion-rupee questions

Opinion

March 8, 2015

Capital suggestion
Senate election: There hasn’t been as much horse-trading as some of us (including myself) had forecasted. To be certain, horse-trading has always had an inverse correlation with the size of the constituency-highest in Fata (11 MNAs to elect four senators), high in Balochistan (65 MPAs to elect 11 senator), low in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (124 MPAs) and low to none in Sindh (168 MPAs), Punjab (371 MPAs) and the Federal Capital (342 MNAs to elect just two senators).
But there must have been some horse-trading as an independent candidate in Balochistan won and a PML-N candidate with 22 MPAs in the same house somehow lost. More proof of horse-trading: the PML-N with 22 MPAs won three senatorial seats while PkMAP with just 14 MPAs and NP with just 11 MPAs also won three senatorial seats each.
And there must have been mega horse-trading of at least six Fata MNAs whereby the PPP and its allies had struck some sort of a deal with Fata MNAs and then the PML-N struck back with a midnight presidential ordinance.
Amazingly, the PTI fully supported the PML-N in KP. And yes, there was horse-trading in Punjab but of a different type. In Punjab, just before the senate election, MPAs were promised development funds in the amount of Rs20 million each.
Post-election: The PPP at 27 seats and the PML-N at 26; there’s bound to be coalition-building plus horse-trading for the coveted posts of chairman and deputy chairman. The PPP and PML-N could divide up the pie between the two of them but if there is competition between the two than it will be fierce. Zardari, master coalition builder-cum-horse trader, along with the MQM, ANP and JUI, will still be short by five votes from a majority.
Sharif, ex-horse trader, along with its new-found ally the PTI and old ones PkMAP and NP, will still be short by fourteen seats from a majority. Naturally, Sharif has more of Pakistan under his belt than does Zardari and Sharif thus has more to offer to potential

coalition partners. As a consequence, the price of independent horses is bound to go through the roof.
The billion-rupee question is: Who will be chairman senate?
Apex rule: Once the senate dust settles we will be back to the GHQ-crafted ‘rule via apex committee’. It is not a military coup but it is a civil-military hybrid (a hybrid is the offspring of two plants or animals of different species). The GHQ-crafted hybrid aims to separate politics from crime. As far as Sindh is concerned, the GHQ has managed to haul the PML-N on to their page. As far as Sindh is concerned, the PPP-MQM combine is a status quo player – and they will resist change. As far as Zardari is concerned, he is desirous of re-establishing a communication link with the GHQ.
The other billion-rupee question is: Is the GHQ-crafted hybrid sustainable?
National Action Plan: There is little or no progress on the choking of terrorist funding sources. There is little or no progress on discouraging the publication and circulation of hate literature. There haven’t been any administrative or development reforms in Fata. There is little or no progress on action against elements spreading sectarianism. There is little or no progress on reforming the criminal justice system. To be sure, our civilian government is fighting the war against terror via rhetoric. And here there is no question. We know that the war cannot be won via rhetoric.
The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @saleemfarrukh

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