Talks Scheduled as Musharraf Makes Final Political Bid
General Pervez Musharraf will make his last desperate bid to bring
the religious parties around to accept his 4-year old rule next
week when he meets MMA leaders with the promise that he would
take off his uniform within a year.
here say agreement on almost all other contentious points has
been reached as Musharraf is feeling increasing pressure from
abroad and from within, where major political parties have announced
Dec 18 as the cut off date to table constitutional amendments
in the Parliament. They will then launch a countrywide movement
against the government.
the whole dialogue is stuck on only one issue, as Musharraf has
agreed to give up his intransigent posture on other matters. This
issue is whether he would give any undertaking in writing as to
when he would quit the post of the Army Chief,” insiders
told South Asia Tribune.
the Opposition makes him agree to present the LFO in the Parliament
for approval, it would be a major success for the democratic forces,
but all will still depend on whether General Musharraf submits
himself to constitutional rule.
the points conceded by the Government are presenting the LFO amendments
before the Parliament, something Musharraf has been resisting
for months, throwing the entire political process in a limbo.
are said to be 31 amendments which will be brought before the
Parliament and Musharraf hopes to convince the MMA leaders that
they should vote for adopting these amendments trusting him on
his word that he would take off his uniform before December 2004.
issue is whether the MMA leaders would be duped by another empty
promise by the General who has gone back on so many of his promises
made to so many people, including foreign governments,”
a PPP leader said in Islamabad.
to leading Pakistani newspaper ‘The Nation’, “a
secret official strategy is in place to make last year’s
disputed 31 amendments of General Pervez Musharraf as formally
part of the Constitution through two thirds parliamentary vote.”
paper quoted a member of the government negotiating team saying
the government had agreed in principle to table the whole LFO
(31 amendments) in the Parliament with many “ifs and buts”
largely depending on favorable political situation.
presenting the entire LFO in Parliament was the understanding
we had reached with government team,” recalled Liaqat Baloch,
member of MMA’s negotiating team. Baloch confirmed to The
Nation but the deadlock was on his uniform.
Nation said if the government objectively concedes to the otherwise
extra-constitutional Musharraf government, “it would unleash
enormous political backlash for Musharraf.”
reported that the stage had been set for the top leaders to announce
the final decision and take the bill before Parliament.
believed that the next two weeks were crucial in which big decisions
are to be taken by both the political forces and the government.
PML (QA) Ch. Shujaat Hussain is also arriving on Tuesday morning
and process of reconciliation between the two major stakeholders
is expected to resume then.
MMA and the government are said to have reached an agreement with
some minor details being worked out. It has also being decided
that both the MMA and the government will jointly present the
bill before Parliament after consensus.
will meet the top politicians on December 6 to make the final
promise on his uniform. The Nation said “he would give some
undertaking to MMA and other political leaders on the issue of
uniform, taking the credit himself for the breakthrough.”
SM Zafar was quite hopeful of clinching a deal with MMA, saying
there are ample possibilities of a deal given the ground realities.
‘The ground work is being laid out and final decision will
be taken by the committee of heads of parties’, he commented.
MMA has already given December 18 deadline to the government for
presenting the proposed constitutional package before the Parliament,
otherwise an agitation movement along with other opposition parties,
the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD) would be launched.