In conversation with Senator Rehman A Malik: “PTI can go to any length for power”

 

It was wrong not to support NA-120 candidate

 

PTI’s eye on the position of leader of the opposition in the national assembly has the Peoples Party all stirred again. The co-chairman is suddenly back in the country and doing a fair deal of lobbying of his own.

It is heard that former prime minister is trying to get on the right side of PPP once again as well. And all this lobbying has not left PTI without some blowback either. Reports of cracks running down the party – over the matter of just who will replace Khurshid Shah, among other things – are doing the rounds on TV; more, of course, on some channels than others.

DNA sat down with former interior Rehman Malik to understand the dynamics of PPP’s counter strategy.

Q: What do you thinks is really behind PTI’s sudden lobbying for the opposition leader position? Is it really just about the NAB chairman?

Rehman Malik: Well I believe every political party has the democratic right to get its candidate elected as leader of the opposition. So, PTI also has a legitimate right to lobby for the slot of opposition leader. However, the fact which has surprised many is that PTI has decided to join hands with MQM — the party which it has been blaming since long for mass killings, extortion and violence in Karachi. So this new love between PTI and MQM reflects that PTI is ready to go any extent for the sake of power.

The argument that the PTI was only targeting Altaf Hussain and now since the MQM has detached itself from Altaf PTI is also ready to work with the MQM has also no legs to stand on. PTI leaders have also been leveling allegations against Dr Farooq Sattar for involvement in the killing of its party worker Ms Zahra Shahid. However, it is strange to find out now that PTI is happy to work with Dr Farooq Sattar too. This proves that the PTI leadership wants to grab power by hook or by crook and there are no principles at all.

Q: Don’t you think that if the opposition had been united all along, such efforts would never have come to the fore?

RM: In my humble view, the opposition has been working together on many issues for the past many months. On the Panama Papers issue, PTI and PPP along with other political parties have been working together and pushed the government to its heels. I had also advised PTI to take the matter to parliament rather than to the Supreme Court but the PTI leadership did not pay heed to my proposal. This is why the PTI is now facing isolation politically.

Q: Was there any follow up regarding the mysterious disappearance of PPP senators from the Electoral Reforms Bill 2017 vote? Surely the senators could not have acted, on such an important vote, without the consent of the chairman or co-chairman. Your thoughts please?

RM: I think it is unfair to pre-judge the absence of opposition senators on the day of the passage of the Election Reforms Bill 2017. Let me tell you that there was no notice put to the opposition senators by the government prior to moving the bill. Only two days before the government’s move, I sought approval from the co-chairman of PPP, Mr Asif Ali Zardari, to go abroad and see an ailing close relative of mine. I had also sought leave from chairman, senate. When I left the country, there was no information about moving the bill.

Hence the question of mysterious absence of senators does not arise. Moreover, the joint opposition also did not raise any objection on the bill during the senate committee proceedings so before leaving I had no idea that there would be a second thought by the opposition and the matter would be raised again in the senate.

Moreover, the previous practices and the parliamentary history reveal that no bill is moved whenever there is a thin presence in the house. I believe the government played smartly by managing to move the bill on a day when the opposition members were in minority.

Let me also tell you also that the specific clause itself is in contradiction to the substantive law of article 62, 63 of the constitution and whenever challenged in a court of law, it would be shot down by the judiciary. Since it is mala fide in nature and is aimed at benefiting an accused already punished by the apex court, this clause is bound to be scrapped.

Q: In hindsight, do you think the party decision of extending zero support to its NA-120 candidate was wise?

RM: I believe the idea of zero support to the PPP candidate in NA-120 by-elections was wrong. Almost all the senior party leaders had visited the constituency and had campaigned for Mr Faisal Mir. However, the party chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has formed a probe committee which would furnish its report to identify the reasons and factors leading to the defeat in the by-polls. I believe we should wait for the committee’s report before jumping to conclusions.

Q: How do you see the conspiracies being hatched to destabilise Pakistan in wake of successuful launch of the CPEC? Do you think conspirators are targeting CPEC?

RM: The US-India nexus to oppose CPEC was a clear message both for Pakistan and China that both USA and India were not in favour of China’s increasing influence in Pakistan and in the region. On the other hand, USA as well as India were equally perturbed over China’s increasing influence and presence in Southeast Asia, especially in Myanmar. USA, in collaboration with India, has opted to repeat history by dragging out the war for its own strategic interests from Afghanistan to Myanmar by instigating war within, to counter the influence of China. The main motto behind these clandestine activities of Indian RAW and the CIA with Afghan Intelligence is to interrupt the emergence of CPEC corridor and to contain China in Southeast Asia at the same time.

As a part of that typical controversy against Pakistan,

the international media portrays all of these jihadists and the leaders heading these groups to be of Pakistani origin

 

As a part of that typical controversy against Pakistan, the international media portrays all of these jihadists and the leaders heading these groups to be of Pakistani origin. But in reality all of them are being used against Pakistan. They were not born here but deployed here by links of Kulbhushan Yadav and other Indian spies to destroy Pakistan from the inside. The arrest of Kulbhushan Yadav in 2016 in Baluchistan is proof of this international conspiracy against Pakistan. The man himself confessed that many other agents like him have been deployed by RAW in Karachi and other territories of Pakistan to spread a state of terrorism across the country. Karachi airport attack was done by Burmese terrorists. Qari Jamil is a Burma-born terrorist who was found involved in Pakistan and carries a head money of Rs0.5 million. He however now is operating in Burma and playing someone else’s game. I ask the anti-Pak media that who is Mohammed Jannuni? Not a Pakistani but from Burma.

Terrorists from Burma and Maldives received joint training with ETMI terrorists who are now being used against China. It was Pakistan People’s Party’s government which arrested 20 ETMI terrorist of Chinese origin and handed them over to China.

In the meantime we should not forget the agenda of USA and India behind this massacre. China has heavily invested in Myanmar for renovating and expanding the Sittwe seaport besides having rights to “develop and exploit natural gas reserves in the Arakan region”. We should also keep in mind that it is the Arakan region (currently known as Rakhine State) where Rohingya people live. China has also aided the construction of strategic roads along the Irrawaddy trade route linking Chinese Yunnan province to the Bay of Bengal besides construction of an oil and gas pipelines stretching 2,380 km from Arakan (now Rakhine) coast to China’s Yunnan province. This enables China to import oil from Middle East “bypassing the Strait of Malacca”.

The progressive role of China in the region is unnecessarily pinching India and the west from the very first day of CPEC. India is strategically worried about China’s access to the Arabian Sea through Gwadar by way of CPEC and to the Bay of Bengal through Rakhine State thus circling the Indian Ocean from both sides. India’s reservation was proved when right after two months of CPEC’s launch, Indian PM Narendra Modi called it “unacceptable”.

The US does not seek “regime change” in Myanmar, it seeks to disrupt Chinese interests, undo Chinese-Myanmar ties, and if possible, place US military assets on China’s border. This responsibility will be discharged by PM Modi in close coordination with State Councilor Aung San Suu Kyi. Nobody knows what transpired between PM Modi and Ms Souchi during emergency trip of Modi.

On behalf of all the people who are against this decade long Muslim genocide happening in Myanmar, it is an appeal to the UNO to take notice of this massacre and not ignore it like Rwanda /Kashmir and Afghanistan.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions.



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