Ditches Jamali, Shujaat and Joins Humayun in Bizarre Power Games
M T Butt
Three cheers for Pappu, the Lahore Race Club Bookie, who has suddenly
become the king maker in Pakistan’s political circus where
the game of musical cheers is killing many careers behind the
is the man who fronts for Tariq Aziz, the political, administrative
and diplomatic trouble shooter of General Musharraf, officially
the Secretary of the now constitutional National Security Council.
Pappu stays in Lahore and operates for Aziz who is also the Chairman
of the Lahore Race Club, with immense interest in thorough bred
horses, even more than Asif Ali Zardari. Recently Aziz imported
a large number of horses and got the Customs Duty assessed at
heavily discounted rates.
week Tariq Aziz remained busy with Pappu and Humayun Akhtar Khan,
his new-found friend from Lahore, the hot favorite of General
Musharraf to replace Prime Minister Jamali.
is supported in the deal with PIA Chairman and long time rival
of the Choudhries of Gujrat, Ahmed Saeed who is brother of PPP
old timer and once Commerce Minister Ahmed Mukhtar. A third key
coordinator is Musharraf’s Bridge buddy, a retired Brigadier,
The trio of Niaz-Aziz-Saeed have
now ditched the Choudhries of Gujrat and selected Humayun Akhtar
Khan as their next horse, thanks to Pappu who is said to be at
least 3 million dollar richer and may acquire another 3 million
dollars when his new horse wins the race. The dollars are coming
from aspirants who have enough dollars to spare.
this scenario last week, embattled Prime Minister Jamali paid
three unscheduled visits to the Choudhry House and met Shujaat
Hussain, an on-again-off-again supporter of Jamali because he
and his clan cannot afford Humayun Akhtar in the PM’s slot
for strategic political reasons.
situation was so pathetic he seemed to have no other official
business to perform except paying visits to the Choudhry House.
“Mr Jamali is suffering from political diarrhea these days
and the only wash room available to him is located in the Choudhry
House,” a reporter quipped in Islamabad.
long meetings between Shujaat and Jamali were followed by repetitive
statements to the media that there was no threat to his government
but the Master of the situation, General Musharraf, did not utter
a single word in favor of Jamali, even when asked directly in
several TV interviews. He was content with “no comments”
which compounded Mr Jamali’s diarrhea.
General Musharraf finally met Jamali
on Friday and quietly told him to pack up after the budget session,
They said the Choudhries of Gujrat
had also been told that they may lose their special protected
status against corruption cases if they did not support Musharraf’s
candidate, or precisely Tariq Aziz’s horse, in the race.
For the moment the Choudhries seem
to be running out of options and Shujaat is reported to have said
he would support whoever is nominated by Musharraf.
predicted in the South Asia Tribune last week, the hot
favorite as Jamali’s replacement was the son of General
Akhtar Abdur Rehman, Humayun, a 49-year old smart Actuary from
Canada who was left with a multi-million dollar fortune by his
father, killed in the famous C-130 crash at Bahawalpur in August
1988 with General Zia ul Haq.
But massive intrigues were still
going on as the entire political equation is about to change in
Islamabad with the Choudhries of Gujrat losing their clout and
thus influence over General Musharraf.
Jamali’s precarious situation
was evident from a meeting of the coalition parties held on Friday
in which more than half of the MPs were absent, some fearing that
they may be bracketed in the Jamali camp if Musharraf wanted him
newspapers in Islamabad also picked up the scent of the on-going
intrigues, focusing on the removal of Jamali. Leading columnist
of The News, Nusrat Javeed reported that a good number
of journalists with acknowledged access to the presidential quarters
were making some claims (of a change) with all the confidence
on Friday evening.
“The operative line of the
stories, they told, revealed that during his one-on-one with the
president Friday Jamali was conveyed in unambiguous words that
he should prepare for leaving the prime minister’s office,
immediately after passage of the budget by the end of this month,”
finds it extremely difficult to believe that on the eve of the
budget, a prime minister should get the marching orders. Staying
put in the office for almost another month, he can always spring
surprises with delicate political moves. The dispassionate observers
of our power games, however, insist that Jamali fully knows his
added: “He (Jamali) was a mere individual from an establishment-friendly
family of Baluchistan, but reached the prime minister’s
office, thanks to the votes painfully gathered and manipulated
for him by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and “agencies.”
Even with some political strength of his own, he would “hardly
dare asserting after closely witnessing the fall of Nawaz Sharif,
the prime minister with a heavy and historic mandate.”
The News hinted at a possible trade-off between Musharraf
and Jamali under which Jamali may quit the PM’s post but
his brother may be made the Chief Minister of Balochistan, where
the Musharraf coalition includes the Opposition and religious
this context, you have to take those rumors somewhat seriously,
which also claim that a tradeoff could be there for assuaging
the hurt heart of Jamali. The rumored deal refers to some problems,
Jam Yousaf had supposedly developed with the security and accountability
masters of this country. That hints at the change of the chief
minister of Balochistan as well. If that happens, Rehman Jamali,
the younger brother of Mir Zafarullah Khan, might get the vacant
office as reward of the smooth surrender of his brother.”
Another newspaper, Daily Times wrote that changes are
expected to take place late September or early October. All this,
depending on the internal security environment, can also happen
earlier than the retirement dates of two four-star generals, with
some other major changes at the level of corps commanders.
”The reason(s) for the president’s
displeasure with the Jamali government, as the prime minister’s
detractors say, is that he annoyed the president on the National
Security Council (NSC) issue and could not deliver on the domestic
have also noted the relative silence of Jamali’s vocal supporter,
the Information Minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed of Rawalpindi. “Significant
was the silence of our chief-spin-doctor who is surprisingly quiet
these days. May be he has bitten off more than he can chew on
predicting Mr Jamali’s ouster,” The Daily Times
Daily Nation said Friday’s parliamentary meeting
of Pakistan Muslim League and the allied parties expressed their
serious concern over the rumor-mongering about Prime Minister
Jamali’s removal and urged the leadership to clarify the
the meeting which witnessed absence of half of the treasury members
despite frantic phone calls to them to ensure their presence,
Prime Minister Jamali and PML chief Ch. Shujaat were asked to
clear their position over reports about their differences.
concrete emerged though.