Searching for a national identity | By Zaheer Bhatti


Searching for a national identity

Pakistan’s present constitutional dilemma and exploitation of the situation by its adversaries is a result of the self-serving quasi-democratic order chosen by its leadership instead of the path charted out by Providence for the country created in the name of Islam; much worse being the fact that those it chooses as its leaders are invariably a bunch of ill-educated poorly groomed opportunist members of the society.

The tragedy is that the precious little folk wisdom our forefathers passed on to us, and served as a social balm has been bypassed and ignored; dealing a telling blow to our social construct.

Our moral scruples seem to have been buried so deep that nothing appears to shame us, when every fresh mandate of the people is made questionable by the adversaries; leading to unrest and backdoor manipulations by the political mandarins leading to open defiance.

Half its time since independence complaining of usurpation of political power through Martial Law by its defence forces playing the pied piper to Western Imperialism for continuation, Pakistan’s political leadership has gone one up on the military dictatorship to reach the corridors of power and wag their tails to allow Imperial dictation by officials as low as their Assistant Secretary of State in the affairs of the Country to the detriment of its Sovereignty.

A five-member Bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday the 7th fateful day of April 2022, passed what is being described as a landmark judgment declaring a series of actions by the Imran Government null and void ab initio; sending a wave of jubilation among the Opposition, and the Government in an apparent fix.

Granted that the Government showed first signs of reversal when its own ‘electables’ turned turtle, which points to the fragile complexion of its ruling make-up comprised turncoats in preference to committed party ranks, but if the Apex Court Bench was only focused on the legality of the Deputy Speaker’s ruling, how come it directed that vote be allowed to be cast even to defecting party ranks in violation of 63 A of the Constitution which forbade floor-crossing?

Action against such turncoats ought to be taken before they are able to inflict the irreparable damage and not afterwards.

The honourable court ought to have passed a ruling that those who wished to switch loyalties may do so by resigning the Party on whose ticket they won their seat, and seek re-election before voting for their new mentors.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan had taken suomoto notice of a ruling by the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly summarily disallowing vote on a Motion of No- Confidence against the Government of Imran Khan after a Point of Order by the Law Minister apparently revealing a conspiracy against the State attempted by the US to overthrow the Government in Pakistan referring to a cipher message received by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the outgoing Ambassador of Pakistan in Washington, which was considered a blatant interference by a foreign power in the affairs of the State, by the Security Committee of Parliament and the National Security Committee in which the Army Chief and DG ISI were present but Shehbaz Sharif declined to attend.

The Deputy Speaker without asking for comments of the Opposition which by implication was unknowingly or by design accused of playing into the hands of a foreign power disallowed Vote of No-Confidence in indecent haste whereas admittedly since it was a serious allegation, the least he ought to have done was to allow the Opposition to give its viewpoint.

The Prime Minister using the pre-meditated reprieve dissolved the National Assembly recommending to the President, fresh general elections which Mr. Arif Alvi faithfully announced.

On the face of it, the hurried manner in which the so-called surprise was sprung by the Prime Minister, an enormity of weak links has surfaced in the narrative of the Government in which Imran Khan’s unbending nature eventually landed him in isolation lacking the wisdom and tact of accommodation.

It all started when after a series of actions by the NAB against two notable stalwarts of the PTI; namely Jehangir Tarin and Alim Khan who were roughed up by the Agency for alleged corruption and the Prime Minister did not come to their rescue acting true to his word that he believed in indiscriminate accountability without any preferential treatment to anyone; be they even from his own Party.

Jehangir Tarin who stood fast midstream despite Khan’s indifference when the Opposition was in complete disarray, suddenly seemed to hob nob with the Opposition along with his group of ‘electables’ and Alim Khan joined the chorus.

This encouraged the Government Coalition partners namely MQM and BAP to part ways with the Government which had by then gathered enough flak with its inability to arrest rising prices and the tumbling Rupee against the American Dollar as the FATF sword continued to hang, and IMF dictated its terms to almost complete annihilation of the Pakistani economy.

Lines on the political chessboard appear to have been vividly drawn with the National Press clearly divided as Imran Khan mulls to stage another stand off after announcing a probe into the alleged foreign conspiracy to overthrow his Government as he urged his Party men to fan out and apprise the electorate of the attempted coup.

It is a pity that the General, who is touted to be a fearless man and had frontally accused the three Opposition Leaders of being guilty of collusion, had to excuse himself from chairing the probe, but it is also intriguing that despite repeated questioning by an anchor if the Opposition would probe into the alleged Conspiracy should it manage to oust Imran Khan, Ahsan Iqbal was evasive and instead looked like hinting to do some damage control over offending Pakistan’s dubious ally; giving substance to Shehbaz Sharif’s ‘Beggars are no choosers’ formulation about Pakistan.

Ironically, no one in this broad spectrum of Pakistani stakeholders except Imran Khan’s PTI appear to be pushed about the alleged plot to destabilize Pakistan.

Are we to entrust the destiny of the Nation back to a political leadership ready to compromise its sovereignty for crumbs of small favours as always?

Regardless of who is in the saddle tomorrow, the best course in all fairness would be probe by a Judicial Commission to develop a national narrative for all times to come, which must include all members of the National Security Committee.

—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.


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