Constitutional vacuum

THOUGH he raised and highlighted the issue but JUI(F) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman was not alone in expressing surprise as to why the Supreme Court, while announcing its judgement in Panama Papers case, did not take into account that its verdict would create constitutional vacuum in the country. There is no Prime Minister and consequently the cabinet stands dissolved and the country is virtually without a Government till the time the National Assembly meets, elects new leader of the house and he takes oath.
It is quite evident even to a layman that the apex court acted in indecent haste in pronouncing the verdict without giving thought to what would happen to the system. Maulana Fazlur Rehman fell short of declaring the judgement and its consequential effects as ‘judicial coup’ and left it to historians to make a judgement on the judgement but the modus operandi was almost similar — lightening but total action. The Prime Minister was not given a second as he stood disqualified instantly as soon as the judgement was pronounced and as a consequence we have no Government. What was the hurry to disqualify the Prime Minister in a sudden manner? It is for Constitutional and legal experts to think over the issue, give their opinion and as to how such crises could be averted in future but on the face of it the court should have allowed the incumbent to continue till elections of his successor. The court rightly asked the President to take steps to ensure continuation of the democratic process but time margin should have been given for smooth transition without creating constitutional crisis. There were no expectations from a personality like Mian Nawaz Sharif, who is known for his soft and humble attitude and conduct, to react in a violent manner. This was once again proved when he accepted the verdict and stepped down immediately despite serious reservations and despite the fact that PML(N) had its Government intact in Punjab and could have easily managed to bring people on streets if it so desired. And the way Mian Nawaz Sharif responded to the challenge and his party stayed calm sent a loud and clear message that there is a great difference between politics of decency and politics of violence and threats. Anyhow, the worst is over and much depends on wisdom and sagacity of Mian Nawaz Sharif and other leaders of PML(N), who are included in the consultative process, as to which direction their own party and the country would go. PML(N) enjoys comfortable majority and support of its allies is also intact, which means that the party still has bright prospects to complete its mandated five years, complete on-going developmental projects and programmes and implement remaining points of its election manifesto and agenda. One thing is quite obvious that PML(N) is the largest party in the country but there are issues of coherence as well as its existence in provinces other than Punjab. Punjab is the deciding factor in the electoral battle but it alone is not Pakistan and a party like Muslim League, which is creator of Pakistan, should have its roots in all the four provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Despite heaps of challenges posed by the Supreme Court verdict, Mian Nawaz Sharif would still be there to guide the Government as well as the party. There is no denying the fact that he could not give sufficient time to the party and that is why there have been grievances by some quarters within the party. But now he has necessary time to listen to and consult with all, take them on board on all issues and direct provincial and federal governments to prioritize developmental schemes and welfare-oriented programmes as per demands of his workers and companions. He should also concentrate on popularizing the party in the rest of three provinces where there is great scope for parties that have the credentials of delivering. Irrespective of the court judgement, its consequences and ruining of political career of Mian Nawaz Sharif, history would always remember him as Prime Minister of Development and Prosperity. He has to his credit un-matching and unprecedented developmental activities, which no ruler or government can boast of. It would also be remembered for all times to come that he was not penalized for indulging in corruption or misuse of authority but on notional basis.

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