The damning case against Nawaz Shareef and its end has left the country perplexed and divided into two groups, one condemning the judgment and the other praising it. Following the news announced on TV, people thronged to the streets selling sweets and raising high their party flags, with their sense of pride and achievement in the air. Nobody can undo it from them. Indeed, they believe that this is the “first time” an elected evil Prime Minister, a Godfather, a term viciously used by the sitting judge in his April 20 judgment, has fallen. Hurray! This is a day of liberation. This disqualification ruling has brought down one of the most corrupt families in the world. The will of the people (mainly party workers) has materialized. That Pakistan has shown itself to be a best example of a modern democratic state to the world. It was also the will of the people who brought Nawaz Shareef with majority seat in the parliament owing to previous parties miserable economic and energy performance, but their will is irrelevant and unimportant now. This is what happens when you are a Pharoah, and thanks to our few saviors, Allah’s truth prevailed.
Indeed, something to be jubilant about, but some people, believe it or not, despite the corruption charges and forgery charges, are not happy for which they are being cursed and insulted for preferring a “thief” Prime Minister sitting on our throne. Just unfathomable that there are people around, and I’ve ended up losing a few friends myself. But first let me talk about those people expressing sheer happiness over it. Ask them a general question and they definitely don’t know because they were never educated about it except for hearing their leaders behind mega loudspeaks or Shahzad Roy’s free concerts. They take to the media to hear news where the likes of Amir Liaqat are detailing and opining about the Panama. Let’s also be very happy that Nawaz Shareef has been refused a chance yet again. But why forget, he was never allowed, like all his 17 predecessors in Pakistan’s 70 years history, to complete full term once?
As for how the world taking it, there is a slight disappointment. Their media views it as something of a coup against a civilian government .
“Many believe this empire can only last as long as the military is able to control some crucial domestic and foreign policy areas, such as relations with India, Afghanistan and the West, or the political narrative and propagation of a particular type of patriotism at home. For this, they say, the military has often raised and protected politicians who agree with its world view. But politics has its own dynamics. Once leaders have entered the mainstream, they feel more compelled to increase economic and other opportunities for their voters. This has often forced successive Pakistani leaders to try to normalise relations with India and other neighbours in the region.”
Al-Jazeera too has mentioned about army being in charge of the matters on foreign policy and defence and has hinted at it being a power struggle between the elected and the other.
New York Times reports:
“While the Panama leaks were fortuitous, Mr. Sharif’s crime seems to be the same this time around: crossing the military by pursuing conciliatory policies toward India as well as Afghanistan and by reportedly demanding that Inter-Services Intelligence end its use of militant groups as tools of foreign policy. With coups globally out of fashion, the generals could not have been happier to topple Mr. Sharif without rolling the tanks.”
In case we have forgotten, Dawnleaks report was also about civilian and military discord is not unfounded.
It is not the corruption that has cost Nawaz Shareef his title, as corruption was always a convenient tool to oust someone from office. It was always about the power struggle between the establishment and the civilian government. Can we really say justice has been served? No precedent has yet been set to those facing treason trial for abrogating the constitution. The said dictator had severe backache that had to be treated abroad. Now that Nawaz Shareef is gone, Ex-General Musharraf has expressed his will to return and take part in politics.
It is also important to mention here that following Panama scandal, a petition was filed by Sheikh Rasheed to disqualify Nawaz Shareef under section 62-F of the notorious Sadiq and Ameen clasuses introduced by an Islamist dictator back in the 80’s, making any elected representative vulnerable because the definition of “honesty” is too general and vague in every sense. What Nawaz Shareef suffered was not convicted corruption as he has not gone into any trial, but the honesty clause, a precedent that has been used for the first time has opened doors for all those who have lost the favor of the establishment. This is something that almost all political leaders fail to understand, and in their shortsighted greed to seize power, they themselves become victims, and are helpless if they have no support of those whom they refused the same before. Nawaz Shareef made this mistake when in the past he vehemently opposed 62/63 repeal petition presented by other lawmakers for his political scoring.
Differing liberals too have their justification for calling it a good decision, claiming that the institutional restructuring will become a need with cases like such so accountability is made more widely effective, and that disqualification of a Prime Minister should be taken as a step in the right direction for giving the message that no one can escape accountability, no matter who you are or what your background is. This is an honest and sincere perception. We have a case here of individual family corruption amassing huge wealth for themselves, as has been the case with majority of politicians, including Imran Khan and Jehangir Tareen whom the court awaits their money tails. The use of public money and the mega-structures being cemented without due consideration for the people, the number of new hospitals and schools built and work on energy and environment, security and steps against terrorism, price control and labour protection is what that should be accounted for. Unless we are able to bring all stakeholders accountable for lack of service to the people, we will never be able to say that accountability has been institutionalized. In reality, it is not. We don’t have across the board accountability, and the current scenario has very much brought us back to square one.