Imran Khan had better left for the people to decide
how humanitarian his gesture of allowing Nawaz
Sharif to go abroad for treatment was, rather than himself gloat about it. It further watered down his noble intent when he first laid the condition of a hefty Indemnity Bond, and later addressed the Apex Court Chief Judge to allay the perception of discriminatory yardsticks at the behest of the powerful after the Court set aside the Government condition. Unbecoming of the office of the chief executive of the country to lock horns with an important State institution while maintaining that the rulers were on the same page with all of them, it not only belied his Government’s claim but further dented his stature when he was also shown the mirror by Justice Khosa who while emphasizing that it was the Government and not the Court which allowed the PML(N) Chief to go abroad for treatment, clarified that the Court had only ironed out modalities.
Ironically instead of taking full credit for the gesture, the PM who himself admitted having confirmed the gravity of Nawaz Sharif’s illness through his own medical specialists, only God knows on whose insane advice an after-thought has squandered the opportunity by laying conditions. It is being made worse by his Cabinet colleagues continuing questioning PML(N) leader’s ailment apprehending that he would not return, and mocking at his body language at the time of his departure despite the Prime Minister forbidding them to talk about it. But why blame his team because the PM has himself not stopped indulging in polemics which is quite unbecoming of a man in position of the country’s Prime Minister. He surely does not seem to be coming out of his opposition mold of the container. All of this humbug is much ado about nothing because in case Nawaz Sharif does not return, he would not only be a declared absconder like Musharraf, but in becoming a fugitive he would forever place a death knell in the political future of not just his family but also his Party, which he can ill afford to do and which will be suicidal after his gamble of confronting the Establishment which he does not seem to be giving up.
With the PPP losing direction after the tragic departure of its leadership from the scene, this scribe had analyzed the others and thought that perhaps a PTI, PML(N) and the JI coalition which had something in common, could gel together and realize the dream of the Father of the Nation to make Pakistan an ideal Islamic Welfare State. One found the thinking inching towards fruition when in the last round, JI joined PTI to form Government in KP, and Nawaz Sharif did not lose a moment in going to Imran to enquire about his health after his fall in one of his public outing. But alas! The dream has been soured with all political parties of consequence thoughtlessly plunging the country into a political and economic turmoil; Imran continuing his myopic chant of never sparing the looters without having proven a dime of corruption against them and the Opposition refusing to accept his leadership.
The gamesmanship of various political entities in the country reflect very poorly over those with hawkish foul-mouthing tendencies whose rhetoric often eats the humble pie eventually but they refuse to learn. There was a time when despite severe differences, the sanctity of Parliament was ensured at all costs maintaining dignity and discipline, as the responsibility of maintaining quorum which seldom broke lay upon the chief whip of the ruling party who was invariably a known respected Parliamentarian.
Talk of today, Parliament has been made irrelevant both by the Treasury and the opposition benches; with the Chief Executive seldom attending to engage the opposition for constructive exchange of views in order to enact purposeful legislation with people’s welfare in focus, which happens to be the principal function of parliamentarians, besides the fact that even when grave national issues like Kashmir required full attention, the House has worn a depressing look while the Prime Minister refuses to exchange courtesies with the Opposition or shake hands with them as if they were untouchables. The Opposition on the other hand from day one starts disputing the general poll results without making it matter by either refusing to take oath or resigning their seats in protest, but vowing to bring the Government down by hook or by crook since they had been deprived of the opportunity to share the spoils of the adult franchise; so much so that they finally used Maulana Fazlur Rehman who had been itching to offer himself as a testing pony.
A poor country like Pakistan, particularly when struggling to find its feet due to its rattled economy, can ill-afford the luxury of frequent elections which were an expensive and time consuming exercise. The impropriety has gone so far that instead of hiding their humiliation of defeat at the polls or introspecting dispassionately over where they may have gone wrong, they are increasingly making it a fashion to foul-mouth against each other and make unruly demonstrations against those returned to power. While it is the basic right of every individual to air its grievances, civility demands that it be done within the norms of a disciplined Society, which are sadly amiss in Pakistan.
Instead of taking off from the PM’s animated UN address putting Modi on the defensive on Kashmir where he had committed a grave miscalculation while announcing merger, the narrow-minded political squabbling in Pakistan over non-issues for which the Treasury Benches and the Opposition are both to blame, has given India yet another opportunity to divert world attention from the simmering issue over which Pakistan seems to be back to square one with even lip service gradually dying down. We are our own worst enemies; Tragic to say the least.
—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.