DISQUALIFICATION of Nawaz Sharif by Supreme Court is a truly landmark adjudication in history of Pakistan. It is a water shed in midst of environments, making a break from our history of twists and turns to path of rule of law and supremacy of constitution albeit our ruling elite remains obdurate and stubborn. Following the verdict of Supreme Court, two things are very distinct. One, scrupulous adherence to constitution by institutions. Two, abuse of authority and gullibility of people by our ruling elite.
The verdict meant curtain for Nawaz Sharif only. It held nothing against right of PML(N) to rule the country. None even tried to infringe upon their right rather helped them indirectly to select their new PM without let and hindrance. Resultantly, it was a smooth and orderly transition, never seen in Pakistan. The cases of Jamali and Gillani were different in kind. Main political opposition, PTI also did not show propensity of any kind for unconstitutional set up. It is a refreshing change from our sordid and unsavory political past. It was heartening to see constitution, taking its course at its own. It would certainly helped fledgling democracy in making significant strides to its ultimate stage of maturity. All concerned deserve appreciation and gratitude especially from the party which is its main beneficiary; PML(N).
To the contrary. It was leadership of PML(N) who stooped low to the detriment of belief and resolve of people on democracy particularly, when they have only seen its flipside so far. People deserve a better PM than Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, initially temporally, now permanently. He is considered widely main suspect in mega LNG corruption scandal. He has no compatible political background except excellence in art of kowtowing and acquiesce. This makes him a perfect courtier. Sharif family direly need such person at helm to help their self-seeking political pursuits and legal entanglements. It is no bizarre thought. Nation has already started seeing him playing his role dutifully with hardly any interval. Though Nawaz Sharif lost the job yet he holds the strings informally. He handpicked the PM while sitting in PM’s house with tag of disqualification on his forehead. He finalized tailor made cabinet for forthcoming general elections. He continues to get protocol as of a sitting PM.
Being inevitable, Nawaz Sharif has to act upon decision of Supreme Court with heavy heart. His activities and utterances present different picture; desperation and defiance. It seems that he could embark upon any course which could give him either of two regardless of its cost to nation; a wild card for his return/survival in one form or the other or roll back of entire system. To saner minds, both are improbable. Initially his attack on Supreme Court was oblique for disqualifying him unduly on a frivolous charge of Iqama. He blames that he has been framed. Now his assault is almost open and direct which could implicate him in contempt of court. Besides, he could be booked for instigating the people to help him restore respect of public mandate.
By his understanding, his disqualification is an insult to mandate of people. Millions of People sent him to Islamabad. In contrast. Only five men have dislodged him back home. By its implications, it is a revolt against judiciary. He has chosen his long march on GT road for public endorsement of his pronouncements which otherwise is an utter failure. Notwithstanding this, his media crooks in league with bought media would try to make this a case of public approval. Underlying purpose is to pressurize judiciary in event of his review petition and opening of references against Sharif family by NAB. In his assertions, he also never spares establishment for their unspecified ghost role in his ouster.
The march has been taken out under government’s full arrangements. It clearly show their subservience to disqualified Nawaz Sharif. PML (N), s government, hand in gloves with other political parties sans PTI, seems to gear up parliament to amend article 62 and 63 on name of removing ambiguities to prevent their exploitation by vested interests. Gravest aspect would be their application with retrogressive effect to provide relief to Nawaz Sharif. These all parties are part of a cabal whose sole aim is power and lot and plunder. In common parlance, they are known ruling elite. PM Abbasi has already dilated upon on the issue. The fact has also dawned on architect of controversial 18th Amendment, Chairman Senate, Raza Rubbani about meek role of Parliament in Panama case. He wants to revitalise it.
Opposition leader is calling Nawaz Sharif come to Parliament on the name of strengthening the democracy. Nawaz Sharif is also contemplating to dust off long forgotten Charter of Democracy, signed under auspices of USA. In their case, it was a document to weaken Pakistan. In our case, it was a permit to rule turn by turn and plunder the country according to own appetite. At the moment, Nawaz Sharif is main pillar of our ruling elite. His demolition has shaken them to core. It is a matter of time when all would collapse en masse if they fail to take some drastic counter measures. These are likely to include disqualification of Imran Khan to mitigate their worries greatly. In brief, lines are clearly drawn. On one side, people want to take the country to rule of law and accountability. On other side, people want to keep status quo. It is test of our collective wisdom and action.
— The writer, retired Lt Col, is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.