The elephants and the grass


With PPP’s Yousaf Raza Gillani in the opposition hot seat, the grand alliance’s main components have been pulled apart like never before. After crying about Senate chairmanship’s theft for the past two weeks, the black horse is back in the game. Not only did the Zardari’s party secure support from Jamaat-e-Islami, ANP and independent senators, but they were also fortunate enough to get the IHC petition against the Seraiki heavyweight thrown out. What a usual mastermind stroke of the Sindhi arrow!
As Zardari Senior breaks an even wider grin–denture pearls all shining bright–he has great cause for jubilation. After all, little by little, his party is picking up the crumbs of its lost glory. Taking credit for opposition parties’ participation in the Senate elections and the by-polls while steering the parade away from long march plans, the PPP is making headlines for all the right reasons.
Yet, this overwhelming success (some even hint at a possible power play for the king’s table) has come at a great cost for the PDM umbrella. Though the alliance was managing to survive through its first cracks (dispute over en masse resignations), the recent fielding of two separate candidates has spelt a rift too far off and impossible to make out. The last few days saw the PPP and the PML-N at loggerheads over which party had the claim of the leader of the opposition office in the Senate. Very open and very public, the spat saw Maryam Nawaz in action. She repeatedly talked about a previously-agreed-upon arrangement that would support her party for the slot. Meanwhile, jolting from its Senate chairmanship’s shocking defeat, the PPP was in no mood to be diplomatic. All displays of PDM unity were torpedoed when the party leadership realised their ambitions were far too critical to compromise over the mantle of the “greater good.” It did not help PMLN’s case that the resignations mantra would have cost the PPP its power base in Sindh; something Zardari’s clan could not let go of even if the heavens fell. Mr Gillani is still hopeful of an intact PDM and celebrated his success as a success of the entire opposition. On the other end are allegations of PPP courting the treasury benches (Balochistan Awami Party) for these gains. There is no denying the existential crisis brewing at the roots of the PDM. Not too long ago, it was being hailed as the only power with enough teeth to bring down the system; the only force to reckon with. But, the PPP’s act of genius has single-handedly brought down any hopes for its revival.