King Louis XIV of France once said, “L’état, c’estmoi” (I am the state) and it seems these French articulations have become the central theme of Nawaz Sharif’s current political ideology as he continues to link deteriorating peace in the country, plummeting economic indicators and hostile situation at borders with his ouster.
Sharif seems indignant as once he enjoyed unlimited centralized authority and absolute sovereignty emanating from absence of regularized check or challenge by any state institution, be it judicial, legislative, religious, economic, or electoral. In the pure political jargon, he was practicing absolutism under guise of democracy till July 28, 2017.
Since then, Sharif and his overambitious daughter are deriving defence for their tyrannical policies by reconstructing theory known as ‘divine rights of kings’. The divine, in their case, is absolute power gained through both legal and illegal means ensuing the rights of rampant corruption, blatant nepotism and arrogance.
Since his ouster, Sharif has become so virulent and toxic that he neither cares for his party, nor for his government. The fuming Sharif is incessantly targeting state institutions specifically army and judiciary as if they belong to some other antagonistic state. Going one step ahead, the ousted premier is terming Sheikh Mujib ur Rehman a victim of establishment’s erroneous policies while equating current political scenario with pre 1971 events (though Mujib was indignant at non-transfer of power despite winning general polls with thumping majority and Nawaz was disqualified over his failure to submit money trail in Panama Leaks case).
Ostensibly, it seems Sharif is trying to redefine his political identity by comparing himself with charismatic Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Sheikh Mujib ur Rehman. Paradoxically, by doing so, he is creating a self-impression of being a political dead horse. And such actions would only generate red alert among the seasonal political birds as they may flip their wings to fly away from the drowning ship of the PML-N.
The anxiety, physical stress and exasperation on his face while delivering political sermons betray his body language and confidence also. As a matter of fact, he is trying to forcibly persuade PML-N’s voters that he is powerful enough to outclass his political opponents with ease.
Despite series of diatribes against army and judiciary, Sharif cannot simply just exempt himself from prevailing issues of economy and governance because by chanting “L’état, c’estmoi”, Sharif portrays himself as the sole cause of government’s failure to address both domestic and domestically-linked international issues while obliquely acknowledging at the same time that he remains main cause of current political chaos.
At the time when the medieval age of Pakistani politics—inspired by the monarchist and family-dynasty model— is rapidly moving to its logical end, nothing but the stubbornness of Sharif will put the final nail in the coffin of PMLN’s troubling political career.
In the contemporary world, “L’état, c’estmoi” is nothing but a death song for political figures and outfits.