Sunday, May 22, 2011

PAKISTAN: WHO WANTS TO BE THE KING

PAKISTAN: WHO WANTS TO BE THE KING


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A week before the 2008 elections, former PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Zardari was asking General Pervez Musharraf's National Security Adviser Tariq Aziz for "advice" on "who should be prime minister if the PPP were asked to form the government."
Fahim was considered "likeable but weak" and "unprepared for being prime minister" in the American assessment, Gilani had "a history of corruption charges", Qureshi was "very ambitious", "self-promoting" and "too independent for Zardari's taste", Mirani "at age 70″ was "pliant", and Mukhtar was "a dependable crony."

Of the serious initial contenders from within the PPP ― Fahim, Yousuf Raza Gilani, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Aftab Shaban Mirani (Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar's name was added later to the short-list) ― Patterson noted in the Feb 7 cable that "Frankly, none of these PM contenders strike us as being the strong leader that Pakistan needs." The US embassy dutifully sent back to Washington their assessments and profiles of the possible candidates, including at one point PML-N's Javed Hashmi and ANP's Asfandyar Wali, whose names Zardari floated in a one-on-one meeting with Patterson on Feb 20 (detailed in a cable of the same date) in a seeming attempt to prevent (what he termed) "government forces" from splitting the PPP.





The battle for prime ministership

US diplomatic cables provide fresh insights on the tussle within the PPP for the prime ministerial slot immediately before and after the 2008 elections.

Ahmed Mukhtar preferred to become President or Petroleum Minister

143716 2/29/2008 14:28 08ISLAMABAD900 Embassy Islamabad CONFIDENTIAL 08ISLAMABAD872 "VZCZCXRO1362
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SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/01/2018
TAGS: PGOV, PK, PREL, PHUM
SUBJECT: AN ADDITION TO THE PM SHORT LIST: AHMED MUKHTAR

REF: ISLAMABAD 872

Classified By: Anne W. Patterson, Reasons 1.4 (b), (d)

1. (C) Summary: This is one of several profiles on
politicians who may be major players in the new Pakistani
government. Ahmed Mukhtar, a crony of Pakistan People's
Party (PPP) Co-Chair Asif Zardari, emerged this week in the
press as an another possible candidate for PPP Prime
Minister. End summary.

The Short List




2. (SBU) Local papers February 28 featured for the first time
Ahmed Mukhtar as a contender to become Pakistan's next prime
minister. Mukhtar's intra-party stock has risen in the last
two weeks after he defeated ruling Pakistan Muslim League
(PML) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain in his home district
of Gujrat. However, Mukhtar last held party leadership
positions in the 1990s as PPP Secretary General (1998-1999)
and Commerce Minister (1993-1996). Meeting with PolOff
February 29, Mukhtar stressed that, beyond these brief
stints, he has been a life-long PPP adherent.

3. (C) Mukhtar was proud of his time in prison, 2002-2003, 12
months of which were served together with PPP Co-Chair Asif
Zardari in a Karachi jail. When asked about the charges, he
offered only: ""They (Musharraf's government) claimed I
approved a rice export deal while I was Commerce Minister,
which was beyond my authority."" (see bio notes, below)

Mukhtar's Own Short List




4. (C) When asked about his apparent addition to the PM short
list, Mukhtar denied that he forwarded his own name saying,
""Any of us could… and should want to be… prime minister.""
He admitted that he would very much like the position, if
chosen, though he ""preferred"" to become President or
Petroleum Minister.

5. (C) Mukhtar asserted that Zardari, not the PPP's Central
Executive Committee or the PPP parliamentary caucus, would
decide the premiership. Asked about Zardari's plans, Mukhtar
became annoyed, insisting that Zardari had repeatedly stated
his dis-interest in becoming prime minister himself, and may
not even run in the April by-elections. He predicted the
National Assembly would be called into session by March 5;
therefore, Zardari's decision on prime minister would not
have to be made until March 10, Mukhtar calculated.

6. (C) Asked about the PPP's agenda in the coming government,
as well as his own priorities if he were selected prime
minister, Mukhtar stated that the legislature would
immediately have the GOP ""apologize"" for the killing of PPP
founder Zulfikhar Ali Bhutto and would reform the local
police and mayoral system instituted under Musharraf.

7. (C) Asked about restoration versus independence of the
judiciary, Mukhtar said that judges deposed on November 3,
2007, should be returned to the bench. Former Chief Justice
Iftikhar Chaudhary should not be re-seated, however, and
could be part of the quid-pro-quo with Musharraf, Mukhtar
stated. The issue of the judiciary, he said, would be
immediately referred to a parliamentary committee and would
be resolved within a month or two. Asked if the lawyers'
movement would march or the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz
(PML-N) would bolt from the coalition if the judiciary were
not restored in such short a time, Mukhtar shrugged, saying
both groups had just as much to lose as the PPP if there were
demonstrations.

8. (C) Mukhtar predicted the quick demise of Musharraf and
his party. He predict that 30 of 42 members of Musharraf's
PML party in the Assembly would likely jump ship, mainly for
the PML-N. Citing reports that PML senators had formed a
forward block so they could vote against Musharraf, he said
this called into question Musharraf's control of the upper
house. Neither the PML nor the Army took orders from
Musharraf anymore, Mukhtar claimed. If the PPP-led coalition
commanded a super-majority in the parliament, ""Why shouldn't
Musharraf be impeached?""

ISLAMABAD 00000900 002 OF 002



Additional Bio Info




9. (C) Mukhtar is viewed as a hawk within PPP circles and
would like the party to seek retribution against the
Chaudhrys of Gujrat, his primary political opponents, and to
a lesser extent, against President Musharraf. He actively
opposes any political dealings with the PML as long as the
Chaudhrys are members of the party. He has fought Shujaat in
the same Gujrat constituency since 1990, intermittently
winning and losing. He defeated Shujaat in the February 18
race.

10. (C) Muktar's relationship with Zardari goes back to
their time together as cabinet colleagues from 1993-97. He
reportedly lives off his family businesses and belongs to one
of Pakistan's 40 richest families. He has been dubbed
Pakistan's ""shoe magnate"" because of his association with the
Servis Group, one of the biggest footwear manufacturers in
Asia.

11. (C) Mukhtar is rumored to have gifted Zardari
significant amounts of money and is believed to have been
involved in a number of corruption cases from which both
derived profits. Mukhtar was jailed a total of 18 months (12
with Zardari) in May 2002 on two corruption charges. He was
acquitted by the Sindh High Court in one case in November
2003 and by a Lahore Accountability Court in the other in
2007.

12. (SBU) Born on June 22, 1946, Mukhtar earned a masters
degree in operational management from Northrop University in
1974. He is married, with one son and two daughters. The
older daughter is an American citizen and lives in the U.S.;
the younger daughter recently received a masters degree from
LUMS University in Lahore. The son runs a textile factory in
Muridke, Punjab.

13. (C) Comment: Zardari's distrust of the leading PPP PM
contended Amin Faheem continues to feed speculation about
alternatives. Some have suggested that Mukhtar could be a
placeholder until Zardari himself runs in a by-election and
qualifies to be PM. Faheem's rivals are working overtime to
press their own candidacies and may have thrown Mukhtar's
name out there to keep the pressure on Faheem. Or Zardari
could want a dependable crony in the PM's chair. End
comment.

PATTERSON



http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/22/2008-ahmed-mukhtar-preferred-to-become-president-or-petroleum-minister.html



Amin Faheem unprepared to become PM


139894 2/4/2008 12:55 08ISLAMABAD505 Embassy Islamabad CONFIDENTIAL 08ISLAMABAD505 "VZCZCXRO8836
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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY" "C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 000505

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/04/2018
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PK
SUBJECT: AMIN FAHEEM: SINCERE BUT UNPREPARED TO BE PRIME
MINISTER

Classified By: Anne W. Patterson, for reasons 1.4 (b)(d)

1. (C) Summary. Ambassador met January 31 with Amin Faheem,
the Pakistan People's Party Vice-Chairman, who confirmed the
party will not decide on a candidate for Prime Minister until
after the February 18 elections. Faheem continues to remain
open to working in a coalition with Musharraf's party (and
others) and saw no reason to impeach Musahrraf for his
activities during the state of emergency. With no personal
security and no plans to campaign on a national level,
Faheem's self-effacing sincerity makes him an unconvincing
candidate for Prime Minister. End summary.

2. (C) Ambassador and Polcouns met January 31 with Pakistan
People's Party (PPP) Vice Chairman Amin Faheem at the
Islamabad home of Air Vice Marshall Rahim Yousefzi (ret).
Faheem said he was recovering from the flu and continued to
feel the after-effects of being in the car with Benazir
Bhutto when she was assassinated on December 27. He has
trouble hearing in his left ear and continued pain in his
chest and shoulder from the effect of the blast.

Election Fraud



3. (C) Faheem and Yousefzi recounted several continuing PPP
allegations of vote rigging. They claimed the nazims
(mayors) are disbursing money and controlling the police who
will be assigned law and order duties on election day. This
will be a problem if there is a ""tussle"" where political
party polling agents disagree on results and the police are
not impartial arbitrators. Faheem supported PPP calls for
deploying the Army at polling stations on election day.

Security



4. (C) In response to Ambassador's concern, Faheem said he
has no personal security. The PPP insisted he now use a
driver, but he has no armored car and no bodyguards. The GOP
has provided PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari with two police car
escorts. The PPP will begin campaigning again (post
Muharram) and will divide up responsibilities across the
country. Faheem will campaign in Sindh, where he says he has
security protection from a supportive constituency.


Electoral Prospects



5. (C) Faheem predicted the PPP will do well in Sindh and
would sweep the country if the elections were free and fair.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz will do well in central Punjab
and Lahore, but Pervaiz Elahi's Pakistan Muslim League (PML)
will do well in Punjab as well. Support for the PML has
declined because of power outages and rising flour prices.

Post Election



6. (C) Confirming other reports, Faheem said that the PPP
Central Executive Committee will decide the party's candidate
for Prime Minister. This will not occur until after the
election.

7. (C) Faheem said his goals are to focus on fighting
terrorism, improving the economy and tacking the law and
order problem For this, Pakistan needs a national unity
government. He is prepared to work with PML, the Muttahida
Quami Movement (MQM) and Nawaz Sharif. Faheem does not want
to see post-election violence and thinks the PPP can work
with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leader Fazlur Rehman to counter
extremist threats. Benazir Bhutto had worked with Fazlur
before because he is a pragmatist. Yousefzi was more
derisive, saying Fazlur works with everyone for a price.

8. (C) Saying he had met with Musharraf and found him
sincere, Faheem said he saw no need for a post-election
effort to impeach Musharraf because of his actions during the
state of emergency. On the National Reconciliation Order
which reportedly expires on February 4, Faheem said there
were differing legal opinions on its continued validity.

ISLAMABAD 00000505 002 OF 002


Personally, he did not want to fight PML and MQM after the
elections. It was time to work for the future. Again,
Yousefzi was more critical, citing Musharraf's continued
support for the rule of ""radical mullahs"" in the Northwest
Frontier Province and the lack of a GOP strategy for
countering a growing extremist militancy.

9. (C) Comment: Faheem continues to leave the impression of
being mild-mannered, sincere and unprepared for being Prime
Minister. He is not even attempting to campaign on a
national basis, has no security, and is taking a very
gentlemanly approach to growing challenges within the PPP to
his nomination as Prime Minister. If the PPP wins and he
becomes Prime Minister, it is likely that Faheem will be
taking orders behind the scenes from the more assertive and
focused Asif Zardari.
PATTERSON


http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/22/2008-amin-faheem-unprepared-to-become-pm.html



Divisions developing within the PPP, Tariq Aziz tells Patterson



140318 2/7/2008 7:52 08ISLAMABAD549 Embassy Islamabad CONFIDENTIAL 08ISLAMABAD405|08ISLAMABAD505 "VZCZCXRO1450
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SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/31/2018
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PHUM, PK
SUBJECT: PM ASIF ZARDARI?

REF: ISLAMABAD 505 ISLAMABAD 405

Classified By: Anne W. Patterson, for reasons 1.4 (b)(d)

1. (C) Summary. Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Co-Chairman
Asif Zardari released his late wife Benazir Bhutto's will to
the press to prove she had chosen him to run the party. This
sparked a firestorm of speculation about his desire to be the
PPP's candidate for Prime Minister. NSA Aziz told Ambassador
February 4 that President Musharraf had rebuffed Zardari's
overtures on this initiative. Zardari's supporters are now
backtracking, insisting that Amin Faheem will be the PPP's
eventual choice as PM. If Zardari does agree to maintain a
behind-the-scenes role, there are several contenders to be a
PPP Prime Minster, but none is the strong leader Pakistan
needs. End summary.

2. (SBU) On February 5, the PPP released to the press a
copy of Benazir Bhutto's handwritten will, in which she
specifically hands her husband Asif Zardari control of the
party (Ref B). The release was timed to coincide with the
""chelum"" marking the end of 40 days of mourning for Benazir.
Local press picked up a Newsweek article in which Zardari
declined to rule out an attempt to become Prime Minister. He
is quoted as saying that he has more name/face recognition
than anyone else in the party. The story has provoked a
firestorm of questions and criticism within the PPP and in
the press. Local editorials January 7 were primarily
derisive, reminding readers that Zardari has a ""hangover of
controversy"" from the past and reluctantly acknowledging the
feudal and non-democratic nature of party structures in
Pakistan.

3. (C) At a meeting February 6, NSA Tariq Aziz told
Ambassador it is a ""given"" that the PPP will form the next
government. He said that PPP interlocutor Rehman Malik
reached out to him in Dubai to explore the possibility of
Zardari becoming Prime Minister. Aziz noted that the
constitution did not allow someone to become Prime Minister
without first being a Member of the National Assembly. He
thought Zardari's plan would be to put someone else in the
Prime Minister's office temporarily until Zardari could win a
by-election.

4. (C) Musharraf responded with a firm rejection of this
idea. Aziz said it would reflect badly on Musharraf to have
cut a deal to bring Benazir Bhutto back and then end up with
Zardari as Prime Minister. They could support Zardari as
being the behind-the-scenes party leader; in fact, Aziz said
they preferred this scenario as it was easier to cut deals
with Zardari than it would have been with Benazir. Aziz
called this the ""Sonia Ghandi model."" Aziz was non-committal
on the status of the National Reconciliation Order, which
reportedly expired this week. (Note: the Supreme Court
February 6 postponed until after the election consideration
of a legal challenge to the NRO.)

5. (C) Aziz confirmed rumors that serious divisions are
developing within the PPP. He reported that Zardari had
summed Amin Faheem back from Islamabad after learning he had
met with us (Ref A). Zardari told Aziz that Faheem was his
candidate for Prime Minister. However, Aziz also commented
that Zardari has been giving mixed signals to the other PPP
contenders (Vice Chairman Yousaf Gillani, PPP Punjab
President Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and former Defense Minister
Aftab Shahban Mirani) and keeping his own options open. Aziz
said that ISI Director Nadeem Taj would meet soon with
Zardari to try to dissuade him from pursuing the position of
Prime Minister.

6. (C) Zardari's supporters have been quick to call us to
insist the Newsweek story inaccurately portrayed the
situation. PPP international press coordinator Farah
Ispahani told Polcouns February 6 that Zardari will support
Faheem as Prime Minister, but not until after the election.
Separately, Qureshi has been promoting himself as the best
candidate, and CG Lahore reports (Septel) that infighting
between Qureshi and Gillani in the southern Punjab has
weakened the party's prospects there. All of post's PPP
contacts are lining up behind various contenders and seeking
our support for their choices.

Legal Requirements

ISLAMABAD 00000549 002 OF 002






7. (C) If Zardari were to pursue becoming Prime Minister,
he has some hurdles to overcome. According to Pakistan's
constitution, you must be a sitting Member of the National
Assembly (MNA) to be named Prime Minister. Qualifications
for MNA include being at least 25 years of age, being
""sagacious, righteous, non-profligate and honest,"" and not
having been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.
A controversial requirement that MNAs also have a university
degree was added after Zardari served as a Senator. According
to Zardari's bio, he does not have this degree. His prior
convictions were overturned on appeal, but there appear to be
charges pending (which the NRO would excise if it remains in
force); the definition of moral turpitude in Pakistan remains
cloudy.

8. (C) Zardari advised us (Ref B) that he was planning to
ask his sister to resign from her Nawabshah National Assembly
seat so that he could run in a by-election. This election
could not occur until 60 days after the February 18 election,
and then only after a compliant Election Commission declared
him eligible as a candidate. Presumably, Zardari would need
his own caretaker to become Prime Ministers until he was
elected as an MNA.

9. (C) Comment: If he refuses to extend the NRO, Musharraf
has leverage which could dissuade Zardari from seeking the
job as Prime Minister. If Zardari agrees to remain behind
the scenes, the question then is who becomes his front man.
According to the latest polls, Amin Faheem is head and
shoulders above all other PM candidates in terms of
popularity and has a separate power base within the PPP.
Although a weak personality, Faheem could challenge Zardari's
credibility within the party. Gillani has a history of
corruption charges and is a Punjabi in a Sindh-based party;
Qureshi we believe will be too independent for Zardari's
taste; Mirani at age 70 is a Sindhi perceived as being clean,
close to Zardari, and pliant.

10. (C) Frankly, none of these PM contenders strike us as
being the strong leader that Pakistan needs. If PPP is in
fact is tapped by Musharraf to form the next government, any
of these contenders will require support in the shape of
strong cabinet members from his coalition partner. Which
parties will form that coalition remains to be seen.









PATTERSON

http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/22/2008-divisions-developing-within-the-ppp-tariq-aziz-tells-patterson.html





Saudi Arabia, UAE financing extremism in south Punjab

A cable reveals nearly 100 million USD annually was making its way to south Punjab clerics from the two countries "ostensibly with the direct support of those governments".





 
 
 
 
 
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