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June 17, 2015
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A real threat by Zardari or a pre-emptive boast

National

June 17, 2015

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DUBAI: PPP supremo Asif Ali Zardari has turned the low level smouldering tug of war between the establishment and the corruption mafias into a full blown inferno by directly challenging and threatening the army leadership and warning it to blow it into pieces.
That such a threat was never issued by any political leader of the country, or for that matter any other hostile enemy army, is history. The nearest such blackmail was issued by late US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage who had said in 2001 that US would take Pakistan into the Stone Age.
Coming from an ex-president who has also been the supreme commander of the same armed forces that he is now threatening to blow into pieces, the GHQ will now have to consider its next step very carefully.
Why Zardari has picked up this apex confrontation is not yet fully clear but the signs are evident. The PPP leader knows what is at stake and where this whole action plan is going. He has been attending the apex committee meetings with the army chief and the prime minister. His CM in Sindh has been listening to the army and Rangers officials in provincial apex committees as well as on public forums and all have now seen the direct action launched by the Rangers.
The army plan to counter economic terrorism, which feeds acts of Terrorism, is in full gear and rolling.So at this early stage of the action plan, Mr Zardari has decided to take the bull by the horn and his strategy is to have a fight before big names are dragged into the net now circling the land, money laundering, extortion and other mafias. It is a simple case: The man whose toe comes under a boot cannot stop his screams of utter pain.
But Mr Zardari’s political bulldozer is now threatening the federal government more than the army. He has reminded PM Sharif that he did not support Imran Khan otherwise fresh elections would have been held long back. What he is now expecting is that Mr Nawaz Sharif will stand by him. It is a big ask. Mr

Sharif’s response may determine where things go but Gen Raheel Sharif has been reported to have said he would steamroll all those who block these plans.What the PPP leader has said is more his empty words rather than the real capacity to inflict harm.
For instance he says he will shut down the country, from Fata toKarachi, whenever he wants and for as long as he likes. This iswishful thinking, at best.
His party has been ousted from the KPK in recent elections and whenhe tried to raise a protest campaign despite the full backing of localparties ANP and JUI-F, the whole thing fizzled out.
In Punjab the PPP has been eliminated from parliamentary politicsand if some pockets remain it is very difficult to mobilise them torise up in arms against the army which comes mainly from Punjab In Sindh he may have some pockets of influence but that would beabout all. He can block some roads and has even mentioned the“Pakistan Khappay” card. It is now not only too rusted and old, it cannot be used against the army anywhere.
In Karachi his party is facing a huge charge sheet of corruptionand his men are being detained and reportedly singing.Some have already made out of the country while one Ayaan Ali hascreated such panic in Bilawal House that top PPP stalwarts likeex-governor Latif Khosa and ex-Senate chairman and Zardari’s long timeattorney Farooq Naek have been deputed to defend a model caught red-handed with a comparatively small cache of dollars.Obviously what she knows and can disclose is much more importantthan the seized half a million dollars. So the PPP panic is obvious.
In such a state of utter chaos and depression, Mr Zardari’s bigtalk against the army and the Rangers is nothing but pure and simpleblackmail.Yet it has to be taken seriously. A plan is, as it is supposed tobe, already in the works to handle all such reactions.
One thing Mr Zardari forgot was the time line for the army action.He gave three years to General Raheel Sharif but what he did notremember is that already Gen Raheel has spent half his term and he hasonly 18 months to complete his mission.
So the army response, in whatever shape it comes, is likely to bequick and strong. Not probably in the shape of a political war of wordsbut by action against the corrupt mafias and the honchos ofpoliticians who are involved.
Once these men go through the traditional police “drawing rooms”and spill the beans, take big names, then Mr Zardari and his other toppeople may have to really worry.It is simply unfortunate that PPP of Benazir and Zulfikar AliBhutto has reached such a stage. But what else could have beenexpected from the quality of leadership that we have seen for severalyears after BB’s death.

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