Pakistan is having a change of Prime Minister, though it will still be ruled by Jamali’s boss, President-General Pervez Musharraf.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali has resigned following a meeting with the country’s President, Pervez Musharraf. Mr Jamali confirmed his resignation and nominated ruling party president Chaudry Shujat Hussain as successor.
[…]The news followed weeks of speculation in media and political circles.
[…]Mr Jamali made his announcement at a meeting of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML) parliamentary group.
“I resigned from my post as prime minister today,” he told reporters. “Long live Pakistan.”
Earlier in the day, Mr Jamali told President Musharraf he was stepping down.
He said he had been “authorised” to announce Chaudry Shujat Hussain’s name.
Mr Jamali said Mr Hussain would face a mandatory vote of no confidence in parliament —- where the PML enjoys a commanding majority —- on Monday.
Mr Hussain paid tribute to Mr Jamali, saying “His name will go down in the history in golden words.”
But our correspondent says many of Mr Jamali’s 19 months in office were dogged by accusations of ineffectiveness and nepotism.
He says Mr Jamali made no secret of his absolute loyalty to President Musharraf, whom he once famously described as his “boss”.
But there has been speculation that relations between the president and the prime minister deteriorated over Mr Jamali’s alleged failure to fully endorse Mr Musharraf’s policies.
Analysts say Mr Jamali was also the victim of a power play in the governing party.
This comes a day after Jamali dimissed such rumors.
Prime minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali has dismissed rumours about his resignation and said that he has neither tendered resignation nor has he been asked to do so and he is not preparing to resign from his post.
[…]He said: “Rest assured, the president has reassured me. I have no problems with the party and as such there is no truth in reports about an in-house change”.
He said: “I am perturbed about the repetition of these reports while my word as chief executive should have been sufficient to end the confusion and responsible people in newspapers should have taken notice.”
Jamali announced his resignation at a party meeting.
In his farewell press conference and address to a handful of ministers, ministers of state, advisers and party stalwarts, Jamali said he had never injured the feelings of anyone, and he was thankful to Chaudhry Shujaat, Chaudhry Pervez Elahi and Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain for helping him to assume the office of the prime minister following the October 2002 elections.
Ah, the Chaudhries of Gujrat. Strange characters! Now one of them will be Prime Minister while another (Pervez Elahi) is already Chief Minister of Punjab. These guys are not my idea of candidates for high office.
He said the issue was debated and consulted at all appropriate forums and finally it was decided to hand over the office to PML President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. “We discussed it today thrice and finally agreed on one point to save the system,” said Jamali.
Chaudhry Shujaat is the guy with most power in the PML-Q nowadays. So I guess he’s going to enjoy the office of the Prime Minister for a short time.
Meanwhile, President Pakistan Muslim League and Prime Minister-nominate Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain announced on Saturday night that Shaukat Aziz would be the prime minister once he gets elected as member of the National Assembly.
“The PML has nominated Shaukat Aziz as the prime minister, but the final arrangement will be made once he gets elected as MNA, as no senator can be leader of the House,” Shujaat said.
[…]Shaikh Rashid Ahmed told The News that Shaukat would contest elections from Okara, where the outgoing senior minister, Rao Sikandar, would vacate his seat for Shaukat. “I think Rao Sikandar will be made Punjab governor in place of Khalid Maqbool,” he added.
Nice quid pro quo. Rao Sikandar gets to be governor in return for vacating his seat.
As is usual, Musharraf praised the outgoing PM. But if Jamali is such a good guy, why did Musharraf ask him to resign?
The president appreciated Jamali’s services to the nation and termed him a “person of sterling qualities of grace, dignity, sincerity and loyalty.”
The religious political alliance had their conspiratorial comments.
The MMA has termed the resignation of Prime Minister Jamali a conspiracy against the budding democracy in the country, saying it was an insult of the parliament and a dangerous threat to national security.
The main opposition party, Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party, talked about the military leadership.
The Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians said the resignation of Mir Zafarullah Jamali as prime minister shows the military leadership never accepted the civilian and political set-up.
“The system was unstable and the resignation had exposed the fallacy of the argument that the National Security Council would usher in political stability,” PPPP President Makhdoom Amin Fahim told a party meeting.
Reaction from the European Union:
Maintaining that any change in the top office of Pakistan is the prerogative of the elected representatives, European leaders have pledged to continue supporting all the initiatives in Pakistan which are taken in accordance with the Pakistani Constitution and averred by parliament.
[…They] sounded positive note on the news that Shaukat Aziz might take over as PM after getting elected to the Lower House.
In Europe, Aziz is known as a pragmatic politician. The European views on his talent for sprucing Pakistani economy with progressive standards of macroeconomics became conspicuous when EU foreign policy wizard Chris Patten in his address to the European Parliament made a specific reference to Shaukat lauding his talent as finance minister, while advocating the ratification of the EU-Pakistan Third Generation Agreement.
It seems to me like Shaukat Aziz was chosen because he would be able to present a good face to the international community. Another plus point is that he is not from among the traditional politicians. I also read somewhere that the ruling party/coalition couldn’t agree on any other more political candidate.
One of the more interesting things to watch will be the tenure of Chaudhry Shujaat as Prime Minister. I must say I have even less respect for him than for Benazir Bhutto or Nawaz Sharif. Also, Shaukat Aziz, the presumptive PM, will be the senior minister in Shujaat’s cabinet. How will these two work together?
Chapati Mystery also has a post on the topic.