Shaukat Aziz is now PM of Pakistan. He was elected to the post at a National Assembly session with 191 votes and no opposition. Which is funny, because, for once in Pakistani history there was the most unified opposition candidate, Javed Hashmi, a man incarcerated by the General for "sedition". However, Hashmi was not allowed to attend the Assembly and, in protest, ARD,
MQM, MMA, PPP all walked out. Really. The opposition against the General just got united which, I must say, is bad news.
But, anyways, back to Aziz. Here is the Economist's take on the dismal state of affairs facing the new PM. In his acceptance speech, he vowed to work with the opposition and to run an open and transparent government. I have said earlier that I am very ambivalent about Aziz. On the one hand, there is no hope for Pakistan if the General does not retire and democracy does not return. On the other hand, I am impressed with the numbers game that Aziz has played as Finance Minister - Pakistan's economy is coming along well (uh, the massive US aid helps a bit. just a bit.)
Aziz faces immense challenges, chief among them is that the General can flip anytime; also, the mullahs are getting out of control; also, Baluchistan is hurtling towards chaos; also, Osama may be found somewhere in Rawalpindi leading US to drop Pakistan like its 1989 ; also, Osama may never be found leading US to continue propping up the General; also, the economy has yet to establish a solid base; also, oh heck.
On the plus side, Aziz has proven himself as a bureaucrat (or technocrat, as the homi press calls him). And he is, uh, close to Paul Wolfowitz. Question is whether he can be the perfect rubber-stamp that the General desires? After all, that is the only qualification for the job.
Shaukat Aziz has done a decent job with the economy, but his role has been exaggerated. I think that Dr. Ishrat Husain at the State Bank has probably had a large hand to play in the economy's revival. But if we dig a little deeper, it does seem that the revival is mostly on paper and has affected only those businessmen at the top. The masses still feel quite separated from the revival: high unemployment, expensive gasoline, little access to quality education. And I don't they have the patience to wait for the supposed "trickle down" effect. Sounds alot like the "India Shining" claim that was being made across the border. It become's easy to understand why this is the case when we take note that Shaukat Aziz has a background in banking and finance, not in running a country (compare with Dr. Manmohan Singh's background). One thing that Shaukat Aziz has on his side though is that he is generally viewed as an clean honest person, separate from the mudslinging of most Pakistani politicians. But I guess that will change as he enters the political arena. Best of luck!
Sepoy, I think running a country and running the treasury are two different ball games. Aziz has been a capable finance minister and his elevation to PM is the least bad option. Yet, given his total lack of popular support, it is difficult to see that his appointment will do anything to assure political stability in Pakistan. He can stay PM as long as the General stays as President (and army chief).
Chanad: good call on Dr. Husain. People do overlook his contribution. Nitin: Its all up to the General. Always is, always will be.
Dear Sepoy, You wrote "...in protest, ARD, MQM, MMA, PPP all walked out" I would like to make a correction here that MQM did not walk out and they voted for Shokat Aziz. In fact, Farooq Sattar, MQM's parlimantry leader was in London and he rushed back to Islamabad just to cast his vote for Shokat. Unfortunately Mr. Sattar didnt arrive on time so he asked Speaker of the assembly to make an special announcement about his vote which he decided to use for Shokat.
dear danial: i stand corrected. good to have you back.
MQM will definately support Shaukat Aziz as they are in Govt. and our General knows best how to drive this Mahajirs around.(Altaf loves Mussarraf). the question is not about being a finance minister or the prime minister , its about saving pakistan and actually putting it onto developement tracks. Remember Moeen Qureshi..July-Sept.1993...a renowned World Bank Economist...what did he gave us?? He handed Pk over to IMF and uptil now we are in debt.He literally destroyed Pk...so we want to repeat the history?? I dont think so..Shaukat Aziz is there for some other BIG game, we dont know yet , but it will soon surface...
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Dear Sir/madam, Democracy as a system of governance and interest representation demands respect for dissent and opposition. It recognizes the principle of majority rule and guarantees, protection of minorities. Democracy also builds faith in electoral contestation to gain public office and gives legitimacy to political parties as primary instruments for acquisition and transfer of power from one set of individuals to another, however the internal blame culture is to promote the possible benefit for the concerned party only it has no concern with the right of deprived people of Pakistan. Since the creation of Pakistan the Pakistani people are left at distant from the corridor of power, so that the ruling elite can do what they wanted to do in favor of their interest, leaving the Pakistani people at the mercy of circumstances. As this policy is denial of right of Pakistani people to rule their country according to their aspiration and desire to built this country, which can provide equal opportunity to all without any discrimination for the establishment of welfare society. Instead the people were divided in to muhajir, Sindhi, Punjabi, pukhtun and Baloch. Only the society base on tolerance, equality and justice can be the real guarantee for the prosperous and strong Pakistan there for your intention is invited to the crucial movement which could be the point of distraction or disaster. Many innocent people are dying every day-week and every month. Because of bombast, suicide attacks and target killing in Pakistan the factual condition is that nothing happened in this world without any reason, the need of the time is to redress the grievances of the people and eliminate the reason. The right way to reverence to Martyr is to eliminate the causes after the incidents. If we can redress the route cause after the suicide killing, we can save many lives in future. The only way out is the change of system the route cause of all kind of grievances, the time is to empower the Pakistani at grass route level to eliminate the socio-political injustice and strengthen the unity within the society at large, and closing the door for outsiders or intruder to penetrate in our society because of social unrest. Unfortunately, despite the significance of the democratic elements, only the power full elite are fitted in power and Pakistani are always left at the mercy of circumstances again and again... As this policy is denial of right of Pakistani people to rule their country according to their aspiration and desire to built this country, which can provide equal opportunity to all without any discrimination for the establishment of welfare society. Only the society based on tolerance, equality and justice can be the real guarantee for real peace and progress in the society. Therefore, Change of socio-political system is inevitable to empower the Pakistani at grass route level for rapid industrial and agriculture development. See www.idp.org.pk Ilyas khan Baloch