Lemmings periodically self destruct through mass suicide. This phenomenon has defied explanation and remains a case of irrational behavior in the animal kingdom. More difficult to understand is similar behavior among humans. Take the Pakistan Peoples Party. It's the only truly federal party and it made a good national showing in the elections. Much of the credit must go to its late charismatic leader Benazir Bhutto but her widower Zardari has soldiered on. He took over the leadership of the party and forged a coalition government that endures. He raised a slogan for Pakistan as the home province of Bhutto, Sind, sizzled on the brink of violence. He has kept the opposition at bay. He did not go on a witch hunt. Now inexplicably he has his finger on the self destruct button.
Instead of using his skill to ram the National Reconciliation Ordinance through Parliament the Peoples Party dithered and eventually the Ordinance lapsed for want of Parliamentary ratification. The Supreme Court declared it null and void as expected. Now the Party is screaming discrimination threatening to tear the country apart. Violence has been threatened in Sind in the most aggressive manner and one stalwart of the Party in Punjab has given similar indications. Understandably the Party has rallied around the President but open defiance of the judicial process and raising the specter of provincial violence does not befit a Party that is federal and has nation wide roots and support. It is a recipe for eventual self destruction.
More ominous is the rumor mongering that creates conspiracies where there are none. The Party is being badly served by those who are busy spreading misinformation about the military being behind the Judiciary. Not only will these time serving hypocrites alienate the military but they will irk the Judiciary too because it is stressing its independence through actions. A covert mud slinging campaign against the military is also under way. If this is meant to make the military pressure the Judiciary into not acting on its own judgment then a gross miscalculation has been made. A far better course of action would be to remain calm, retain control and function as a government without panic attacks. Stalwarts out to prove their loyalties in the hope of crumbs coming their way need to be reined in. The country must get priority over individual survival.
There is however a need for some long delayed steps to be taken. All powers should go to the Prime Minister even though his recent statements have been anything but inspiring. He is coming across as a limp rag and needs to get his act right. The motley crowd that barged into lucrative deal making positions must go and competent people appointed on merit. Instead of listening to conspiracy theories the President and the government must move to improve civil-military relations---this more than anything else will kill the misinformation lobby. Pakistan needs internal harmony not strife. Finally there is a need to get into a wide ranging dialogue with the US as a country and not as individuals or institutions. No one wants to derail the system but everyone wants corrections and adjustments to make it functional and effective.