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Talk of 'revolution' in Pakistan

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Asif Ali Zardari, the president of PakistanBy Kamal Hyder

For the past week in Pakistan, there has been rising speculation that the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government is on its way out.

Some staunch supporters of the establishment have made no secret of their opinions, saying the party is finished.

Whether or not that is indeed the case, there is plenty of political manoeuvring making headline news in anticipation of change.

Old enemies are now cosying up to each other and coalition partners suddenly have differing interests. There is even news that the PPP is mulling over plans to ditch its political ally, the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM).

Recently Altaf Hussain, the founder and leader of the MQM, gave a passionate speech over the phone from London in which he spoke about a revolution; thanks to his epicurean tastes he chose none other than the French revolution.

At the same time, Asif Ali Zardari, the president of Pakistan, spoke about the need to thwart the prospects of Bonapartism, as he described it, and obviously the antithesis to what Hussain was saying.

As one cynic put it "I am sure it must have boosted the sales of books or easy guides on the French revolution, as more-loyal-than-thou politicians and minions polished up on the French revolution".

All said and done, it must have made many senior female politicians lose sleep over the dreaded nightmare that they may become the Maria Antoinettes of Pakistan. The people, it is said, have already lost their heads.

Betrayed trust

So what is it going to be: a French, Bolshevik or Iranian revolution that is to come knocking on Pakistan’s doo? The word revolution is now resounding inside the plush drawing rooms of Pakistan's leafy capital, but very few people can visualise the cost in blood of any such event.

Old Pakistan experts, however, brush aside the notion of replicating any such similar revolution, saying this is not Iran, France or Russia and that what they anticipate is a Taliban revolution that could sweep aside once and for all the rotting political system that has time and again disappointed the people of Pakistan.

No one knows if there will be a revolution or not, but in the event of it happening one thing is quite clear - this will be branded a revolution with a local and indigenous Pakistani seal. And it will carry with it a major backlash against opulent and corrupt rulers who have for decades betrayed the trust of these proud people.

Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's Pakistan correspondent, reports from across the country.


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