Govt picks up 6th option, ready to go to people

Govt picks up 6th option, ready to go to people

Govt picks up 6th optionLAHORE/ISLAMABAD: In a situation when major state organs are virtually at loggerheads over serious issues of national importance, the government is learnt to have picked up the 6th option, offered to it by the Supreme Court in its decision on the NRO case, which talks of leaving the matter to the “people of the country and their representatives”.

Moreover, the government has also geared up efforts for a patch-up among three main pillars of the state Executive, Judiciary and Army to defuse the current state of tension which seems at its peak, especially after Wednesday’s developments. The strong-worded statement by ISPR and subsequent removal of defence secretary has added fuel to the already tense situation. The army chief has also convened an emergency meeting of the principal staff officers today to ponder over the situation.

It has been learnt reliably that a senior politician, most probably, Ch Aitzaz Ahsan, who is equally respected in the circles concerned, may act as a mediator to negotiate some amiable settlement over the controversies which have brought them face-to-face. The name of Ch Shujaat Hussain is also being taken in this regard. The possibility of international mediation cannot be ruled out as well at this stage, said the sources. The prime minister’s statement given to Chinese media regarding the conduct of General Kayani and the ISI chief is also being seen in this perspective.

A source in the government told this scribe that an urgent need for rapprochement has been felt in the quarters concerned because under the given situation the three pillars of power are prone to taking decisions in haste which may prove devastating for the country. Apparently, he added, the three institutions are observing restraint to some extent, but this game of nerves may take a dangerous turn any moment, and hence there was a pressing need for some mediation between them.

In a related development, the government is also considering the option of writing to Swiss court to comply with the Supreme Court verdict on NRO. The reason behind this change of mind on the issue is stated to be the advice given to the government by its legal aides who believe the cases had become time-barred and the Swiss authorities would refuse to re-open them. If written, the letter would be addressed to Pakistan’s the then counsel in Switzerland, hired during Musharraf’s period, and not directly to the court.

In order to implement second part of the 6th option, that of leaving the matter to the elected representatives of the people, the president has convened a special session of the National Assembly on Thursday (today). The Assembly is all set to pass a resolution expressing confidence in the leadership of PM Gilani and the President Asif Ali Zardari. The government thinks that second part of the 6th option would stand implemented in this way.

The PPP sources further told The Nation that government was also ready to implement first part of the 6th option which is suggestive of holding fresh elections going by its wording of “leaving the matter to the people of the country”. They said that government had already shown its willingness to hold snap polls, in September or October this year, provided the Senate polls were not disturbed. The government now wants to settle modalities of an interim set up and early polls through negotiations with the PML-N and other opposition parties.

It may be noted that names of senior politicians including JUI-F chief Moulana Fazulur Rehman, Balochistan Chief Minister Aslam Raeesani, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, Khawaja Asif and Ishaq Dar are making rounds in the media as the persons who are working on this agenda.Report from Islamabad: The ruling PPP is likely to accept apex court’s decision to write letter to the Swiss authorities after two of key coalition partners MQM and PML-Q Wednesday distanced them from PPP plans to accelerate institutional confrontation by using parliament.“You rest assured there would be nothing unusual in the National Assembly meeting today”, credible parliamentary sources told The Nation on late Wednesday.

The ruling party would be immediately denied support should it tried to use parliament for its self-serving agenda, the sources said, adding efforts were underway to defuse the tension.Sources said that prime minister through National Assembly would apologise from the apex court for government failure in complying with the court decision to write to the Swiss authorities.This would be in line with the PPP’s policy of national reconciliation to continue with tackling the critical political challenges through broader political consensus.

The sources ruled out the possibility of prime minister’s seeking fresh vote of confidence as suggested by some leaders of the PPP’s allied parties, saying it was not necessary.They also rejected the possibility of tabling any hard hitting parliamentary resolution by the ruling alliance that could further aggravate the crisis and lead to cause harm to the democratic dispensation.According to government sources, all issues would be resolved with consensus of the ruling alliance and a joint strategy would be evolved to defuse the situation during the critical meeting of parliamentary parties of the PPP and its coalition partners ahead of the session of the National Assembly.Some of the parliamentary sources also indicated that the ruling alliance might, as a last resort, agree to announce early general elections in the country.