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(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: Iqbal_Hadi_Zaidi
Full Name: Iqbal Hadi Zaidi
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PM Gilani calls off Europe trip

Updated at: 515 PST,  Sunday, September 26, 2010

 ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has cancelled a trip to Europe this month as media speculation swirls about a possible change of government following its perceived mishandling of summer floods.

The floods have killed more than 1,750 people, forced at least 10 million from their homes and caused lasting damage to the economy of Pakistan, a nuclear-armed country fighting homegrown Taliban insurgents, which the U.S. regards as vital to efforts to stabilise Afghanistan.

"In view of his pre-occupations with the post-flood situation, the Prime Minister has decided not to go ahead with his scheduled visits to Paris and Brussels," a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said in a statement.

The statement said the prime minister's trip to France was being rescheduled and that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi would lead Pakistan's delegation to the Asia-Europe summit in Brussels next month.

Gilani's press secretary, Shabbir Anwar, said the prime minister had been scheduled to leave at the end of this month for Paris with a delegation of 40 other officials to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy and then travel on October 1 to Brussels.

Instead he decided to stay behind and the size of the delegation was reduced to save on expenses after the floods.

"This had nothing to do with politics," Anwar told media.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari came under intense criticism last month for going ahead with a trip to Europe just as the flood disaster was unfolding.

The powerful military, which has held wide sway over security and defence policies even during civilian rule, took the lead in Pakistani flood relief efforts, reinforcing the view that it is the country's most decisive and efficient institution in times of crises.

Pakistani leaders have said the government has done its best to help flood victims given its limited resources.

Media speculation has been swirling that the army would take action against the government if it fails to lead effectively.

Even though Pakistan has a history of military coups, analysts say one is unlikely now because the army would inherit the flood disaster, and a takoever could make Western donors hesitant to provide aid for reconstruction after floods.

It may, however, try to manipulate Pakistani politics from behind the scenes, analysts say.

Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, arguably Pakistan's most powerful man, has been credited with keeping the army out of politics on the whole.

"No one knows if Gilani decided at the spur of the moment to cancel his visit, or he was advised not to travel abroad in the face of the urgency the government is facing because of the floods and the pressure for a change in government," said an article in Pakistan's The News on Saturday.

The newspaper has been outspoken and honest against several Pakistani governments over the years.

Minister for Defence Production Abdul Qayyum Khan Jatoi resigned on Saturday after Gilani summoned him to explain why he criticised Pakistan's chief justice and the military.

"What is this 'boots (the military) are coming', boots are coming'? If they have boots, they should go and fight on the borders....," Jatoi told reporters in comments played repeatedly on Pakistani television channels. Media later said he was speaking in a personal capacity and not officially.

Ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) spokeswoman Fauzia Wahab said it had asked Gilani to meet other political parties to "counter these rumours" about a possible change in government.

"It's a war of nerves. Whenever our party is in power some factions (parties) gang up together and keep on conspiring against us," she said, adding that the military was not involved in the "campaign" because it could not afford to shift its focus away from the fight against Taliban insurgents.


                                     PM preferred chair over foreign trip.

The news flashed in all the newspapers and tv channels that my rather our PM cancels his Europe tour fearing that may be he is toppled while overseas has itself not only generated some extra heat in the country rather it very well augments that the chances of change in the government are very much knocking and in the offing.

Why the change, in the first instance, is my first question? Isn’t the present government installed for 5 years term is my second question? Has the government already completed its mandated term is next question? Aren’t our top bosses elected by the masses is another question? What Pakistan had gained if PM had undertaken the trip and that also accompanied by large team is also a question? What Pakistan will lose when PM cancels the trip is too simple a question?

I wonder at this point of time when some political and non political forces and persons are spreading the news that Zardari and his colleagues are likely to be toppled, the abrupt cancellation of PM trip to France and Belgium is not understood at all by me, rather to be honest, it fans the news that any time the faces could be changed. How can PM stop the change, if at all there is a change, may I dare pose him the blunt question? We must be remembering very well that till now all the governments since inception of Pakistan had been changed while our VVIPs of the time very much within the country but yet they were stripped off the authority and their physical presence could not even deter what to talk of stopping those who initiated the change and I have my very serious doubts that the situation can be different at this point of time as well.

Answer to the question that as to why there should be change can be answered by none than President and Prime Minister but safely I can say that ever since the couple has taken over the control, things have gone from bad to worst and hardly there is any chance of any improvement rather further decline is more likely to happen. As the bad luck had it, Pakistan has suffered the heaviest floods which uprooted thousands and undoubtedly my government simply could not cope up with the chaotic and climatic conditions. It is reported that predictions were made in advance about the natural disaster but our higher ups either did not understand it or they took it so lightly and hence many were caught up unaware. Then it is also reported that at some places, dykes were intentionally breached to save lands of some important personality and instead the lands of the poor were washed away for none of their fault. Isn’t it criminal, not just mocking, to read that at some places a few people were given the aid whereas their lands were never inundated by floods? At least I cannot comment on the news that a fictitious camp was set up where aliens to floods were housed and PM came all along to dish out cash money portraying that he really looks after the poor displaced person.  On the top of it, president Zardari went on a pleasure trip to France and London when most of the lands were under knee deep water and huge public resentment not to go on the trip was totally ignored.

The present government has not completed its term and, therefore, from this angle, constitutionally speaking it must stay in power till its 5 years stipulated period is finished. The simple proposition cannot and should not be confused and or interpreted differently so far as its 5 years period is concerned. However, it should not be forgotten that the government is installed for 5 years to look after the interests of the country and the masses in general but if it fails either on one account or both, then the very purpose of its induction is defeated. Very much regretfully it is being penned that even an ordinary person residing within the territorial limits of the country knows in far flung village or valley as to how much the present government has done for the country and the people and hence it does not need any explanation as to where did the government lack.

It will be sin, not just a mistake, to think that Zardari and Jillani are not our duly elected leaders though admittedly they cannot claim of heavy mandate which Nawaz Sharif still boasts off but nevertheless voters did vote for them and it is of no consequence if some voters were dragged or coerced or bribed etc. However, it is written with very heavy heart that, one way or the other, both of them did not do what they had promised to the voters in particular and the public in general and the worst part of the episode is that now both of them are not reachable even by the notables what to talk of the voters. Had they not placed them behind unflinching security corridors, at least some voters, if not many, would have straight away asked them quite categorically as to why they promised if they were not supposed to honor their words? It reminds me to ask as to who are they afraid of-the voters? How come the voters who used their sacred vote to vote for he or she can turn against him or her after being elected? Rubbish and foolish, you do not vote today for him or her and then tomorrow you are after his or her blood very well proves that the elected representative cannot and should not be afraid of the voters.

As regards the question that what Pakistan had gained if PM did go to Paris and Brussels, I will prefer to put a counter question, which as such could be an answer for it. In the 1st leg, PM is meeting French President Nicolas Sarkozy but what can we get from him is to be known to us? What subject is he going to discuss with the president is not understood unless they are personal friends which is not even thinkable what to talk of next to impossible. Undoubtedly French President heads one the Super Powers but remember and distinguish that he is 3rd as per the importance meaning by USA comes first followed by UK and don’t forget that time and again our Presidents and not President and likewise our Prime Ministers and not Prime Minister had bowed against USA and UK but hardly we got anything from such like meetings except insults and some press coverage. From protocol and order of precedence point of view, how can our PM get even proper attention, forget about respect or any favor, from the President who is head of state and not head of government like him? If at all PM Gilani had to be in Paris, for any set of imagination, and then the simple prudence demanded of him that he should have met his counterpart, the Prime Minister and not President. Did you understand, which I couldn’t, as to why our PM needed 40 members delegation with him on the trip unless it is either that our PM is master of none and jack of all or he is going to discuss on 40 different subjects and hence he needed one expert for each subject?

Now it is your turn and not mine but remember you shall have to honest rather dead honest to very convincingly and categorically spell out as to what Pakistan will be losing since PM has cancelled his trip? Why Pakistan should lose in any case can be my last question? It is very simple common sense proposition which does not need any explanation and discussion that each time each sane individual be male or female, educated or uneducated, rich or poor, in east or west critically evaluates the entire plus and minus points before undertaking any action and step and the principle is equally applicable in business and government activities as well. Who will enumerate all positive and negative points about PM trip, facilitating me at least if not others, to understand the rationale about going on the trip without referring to its cancellation? Perhaps, I wish I am wrong, that in the given situation even Aristotle and Plato may have not been in a position to justify the trip but yet our own experts did excel over both of them and very much surprisingly now upon cancellation they have again over shadowed Aristotle and Plato saying that it is in the interest of the country and not PM to cancel the trip.

In order to microscopically analyzing the situation I am pasting what Dawn has flashed."In view of his pre-occupations with the post-flood situation, the Prime Minister has decided not to go ahead with his scheduled visits to Paris and Brussels," a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said in a statement. I do not and cannot agree and vote for what Foreign Affairs spokesman has said for very simple and cogent reason that PM knew his engagements much in advance when he thought of going on the trip so it is nothing but a lame excuse. As regards floods, it struck us way back in June and not just yesterday when PM had to cancel the trip.


Will sky split apart now since our PM has cancelled his trip to Paris and Brussels, is not a riddle, but my last though burning question to be answered but by……??


With my honest and solemn prayers

Sincere Iqbal Hadi Zaidi / Former Diplomat / Kuwait

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