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Gilani up against the wall

PM might offer himself as the sacrificial lamb in order to protect the Pak president from the Supreme Court.

world Updated: Jan 17, 2012 01:49 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times

It is quite possible that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will be ousted from office by the Supreme Court in the NRO case for not implementing its order.

Gilani, who was once seen as a man of reconciliation, has overnight led the charge against the army and the judiciary. Gilani's speeches in parliament and his statements to the media suggest that the party line has now moved on from being reconciliatry to being confrontational.

Analyst Javed Chaudhry says that the game plan of the government may be that Gilani offers himself as the sacrificial lamb in order to protect the president from the Supreme Court. This is a new face of Gilani that Pakistani politics is seeing. In the past, Gilani and his family have always played it safe - a role that he continued to follow after becoming Prime Minister in 2008.

The Gilanis of Multan are landowners and spiritual leaders in the conservative and backward South Punjab belt. Yousuf Raza Gilani started his career in politics in 1978 after the death of his father, Makhdoom Alamdar Gilani.

Gilani's great grandfather, Makhdoom Raja Bakhsh Gilani, was both mayor of Multan in 1921 and member of the Central Legislative Assembly of India. He served as a member of the assembly from 1921 till his death in 1936.

After local government, in 1988, Gilani came into his own when he defeated Mian Nawaz Sharif who was contesting from a number of seats including one from Multan. He was then taken seriously by the party leadership. In Benazir Bhutto's second tenure, he served as speaker of the national assembly.

What made Gilani dear to both Benazir Bhutto and then to President Zardari was that he refused to do a deal with General Musharraf and to join the renegade PPP that Musharraf had helped establish.

Gilani was nominated PM by Zardari over another Makhdoom, Amin Fahim, who was a prominent landlord and spiritual leader from Sindh province. Analysts say that Gilani is now returning that favour of Zardari. Yousaf Raza Gilani holds the record of being Pakistan's longest serving elected Prime Minister. His dismissal, say analysts will also help his political prospects and most likely make him an automatic choice for PM by the PPP in the forthcoming elections.

Pro-democracy resolution adopted
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday called on the military and judiciary to defend democracy and not to "pack up the system" as Pakistan's beleaguered government got a morale booster when parliament passed a pro-democracy resolution.

Speaking in the National Assembly or lower house of parliament after the resolution was passed by a two-thirds majority in the 342-member House, Gilani said his government may have differences of opinion with the judiciary and military but both institutions must play their role in defending democracy.

As members of the treasury benches thumped their desks, Gilani said the military and judiciary cannot "pack up the system" or derail it.

(With PTI input)

First Published: Jan 17, 2012 00:48 IST