Pakistani editor says PM Jamali’s days are numbered

Himalayan News Service

Lahore, June 4:

Are Pakistani Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali’s days numbered? They are, for two reasons, a Pakistani editor contends. Firstly, Jamali has exhausted his goodwill with President Pervez Musharraf. Secondly, Musharraf sees in Jamali’s ouster his own ascendancy as the unchallenged leader of Pakistan, Najam Sethi wrote in an editorial in The Friday Times titled “Jamali’s days are numbered”. “The loudest whisper in Islamabad is that Musharraf wants Jamali to pack up and leave.

“But Jamali is dragging his feet and seems faintly defiant. ‘The time for taking lessons is over’, he said recently,” Sethi wrote. “He certainly hasn’t done enough to endear himself to Musharraf. Jamali’s lumbering style doesn’t sit well with his Boss’ management gurus who are obsessed with ‘good governance’”, Sethi contended. At the heart of the matter is what Musharraf perceives as Jamali’s “lack of enthusiasm or motivation” in helping overcome a yearlong hiatus over the constitutional changes effected by him before October 2002 election.

The six-party Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), finally agreed to the Legal Framework Order being accepted by parliament only after Musharraf agreed to step down as army chief by the end of this year.

An “impression may have been created that Jamali secretly sympathised with MMA’s demands because they gelled with his own ambitions for autonomy from an overbearing president”, the editorial maintained. But Jamali’s “political death wish” manifested itself at a cabinet meeting called to discuss the viability of a bill on the National Security Council (NSC) that Musharraf heads. “With his cabinet colleagues nervously looking over their shoulders, Jamali proposed to dilute the scope of the NSC and was roundly rebuffed. Tales were carried to the boss about how someone was getting too big (for his boots).” Jamali then tried to become secretary of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam but incumbent Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain would have none of it - as he was keeping the seat warm for Musharraf, the editorial said.