New PM but Same Ruler

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.

Categorized as Pakistan

By Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer


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  2. I agree with Chapati Mystery that whatever is being done is under directions of the power that be. The power that brought Pervez Musharraf in. Effort had been made in 2002 to bring Shaukat Aziz in but there was no chance of him being elected MNA from any where in Pakistan. Zubaida Jalal was got elected from a remote area of Baluchistan where most of the voters were kept away from voting. Even that arrangement couldn’t be made for him.
    So far as finance policies of Shaukat Aziz are concerned, here are two examples: (1) Poverty decreased because the poverty datum line was lowered from Rs 1,835 to Rs 680 while the prices of eddibles and everyday use items have increased by minimum 50%. Then for the recent budget, financial survey was carried out only in developed area of Islamabad.
    (2)Please visit this sites
    Futher details are : Finance Minister (Shaukat Aziz) in the 1st week of June, 2004, tabled data in the National Assembly. In 5 years, the Finance Ministry purchased US$ 15 billion from the black market in Pakistan. And the Ministry admitted that it had lost, or over-paid, Rs 25 billion (over US$ 430 million) in these transactions to money changers and foreign exchange dealers. Finance Minister was repeatedly asked at his news conference (on June 11) to explain the Rs 25 billion loss but he ignored the question. The Minister faced these questions when he held the Press conference to release the Economic Survey of Pakistan in Islamabad.
    Almost $12 billion was purchased between 2000 and 2004, the entire period of General Musharraf’s tenure, Omar Ayub Khan, Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Ministry, said in response to questions put by the Opposition MPs. Despite repeated demands from agitating parliamentarians the Secretary gave no details about the sellers and at what rates these dollars were purchased from the open market.
    The amount of dollars purchased from the market was more than even the total Foreign Exchange reserves of the country that now stand at $12 billion. The Auditor General of Pakistan had revealed for the first time in his report on accounts of State Bank of Pakistan that Central Bank had actually purchased dollars by giving extra money to money changers that had led to a financial loss of Rs 25 billion to the taxpayers.
    In 1999-2000, $ 2.5 billion were bought. Next fiscal the figure was $ 2.9 billion, followed by an increased $ 3.9 billion the year after, topped up by $ 4.5 billion in 2003-2004. In 1999-2000, Pakistan suffered loss of Rs 6.2 billion for the purchase of $ 2.5 billion. In 2000-2001, taxpayers over-paid Rs 9.8 billion to money changers when government bought $ 2.9 billion from the open market. In 2001-2002, the loss to national exchequer was recorded at Rs 2.5 billion when $ 3.9 billion were purchased. In 2002-2003 money changers were given Rs 1.7 billion more than the market price.

  3. Rs.680 as the poverty line? That’s extremely low.

    I had heard about the buying up of foreign exchange, but didn’t know it was that extensive.

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