Asif Haroon Raja |
IK’s improper sarcasm
IK has sarcastically asked Nawaz Sharif that he should tell who signaled him to come on roads. Before NS answers his silly question, IK should first tell the nation who signaled him and TuQ to undertake a long march from Lahore to Islamabad in July 2014, assault the PTV building, Parliament, and PM House, stage a six-month sit-in at D-Chowk to paralyze the government and put people of twin cities to great inconvenience.
Judiciary had gained ascendancy over the parliament after its July 28 verdict but has come under pressure as a result of power show of NS and its credibility is under duress
IK should state who signaled rabble rouser TuQ to reach Lahore post haste and make it difficult for NS to enter Lahore on 9/10 August by staging a sit-in and blocking the entry road. TuQ had almost decided to do so but then sense prevailed and he changed his mind. He is also required to extend support to PTI candidate contesting NA-120 seat, the result of which will prognosticate the future political strength of PML-N and PTI.
IK had lost in May 2013 elections but he never reconciled to it despite the apex court ruling that elections were free and fair. His allegations were entirely based on suspicions and conjectures. NS is not reconciling with the apex court judgment based on controversial JIT report and he smells the conspiracy.
NS says that he was not disqualified on account of corruption but on a frivolous charge of receiving the salary from the Capital FZE Dubai based Company owned by his son Hassan Nawaz of which he was a Chairman. NS says he was not convicted on charges made by the petitioners but was sentenced for not mentioning the salary he had not drawn, as ‘receivable’ (asset) in his 2013 income tax return. He has decided to seek a review petition and to request the chief justice to appoint a larger bench to hear his case.
While IK was never questioned as to why he has not reconciled with 2013 elections; NS is being ridiculed for not reconciling to the apex court judgment?
The way the sea of his supporters is welcoming him has dispelled the propaganda of PTI that he has lost his popularity
One may ask PTI leaders as to why they have got so upset over the road convoy led by a disqualified and powerless man. If according to them he is a highly unpopular and despised leader, then what is the worry? Let the people boo him. This road movie will give a clear glimpse of NS popularity or unpopularity.
Unlike IK, NS doesn’t intend to stage a prolonged sit-in or to lock down a city to cause inconvenience to the public. It will be a two to three days journey and will be undertaken peacefully.
If IK has been holding public meetings for the last 3 years to convince the public that he was a clear winner in 2013 elections but he lost on account of massive rigging, why can’t NS present his case to the public that he has been wronged and the people’s mandate not respected?
IK despite being out of power, took the country for a ride all these years and made a mockery of all the state institutions including the Parliament, Election Commission and the SC, but was not obstructed, imprisoned or disqualified. While he left no stone unturned to boot out NS, the ruling regime refrained from deposing PTI government in KP despite constant coaxing by Fazlur Rahman. It also didn’t make any effort to block his politics of slander through social media.
With so-called electable PPP leaders with murky past record swamping PTI, the party has lost its trumped up credentials of being a party of cleans
NS was a democratically elected leader with a heavy mandate and had produced highly pleasing results in his 4-year rule. Not a single mega corruption scandal took place whereas there were dozens during PPP rule under Zardari. This is what has pained NS that in spite of his all-round performance which none can deny, he has been unseated from PM seat prematurely and disqualified for life under Articles 62 (1) (f), terming him as dishonest and untruthful.
The matter doesn’t end here. Several references have been sent to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against NS and his 3 children for trial and given a time frame to start the proceedings within 45 days and complete the trial in six months. On top of it, an SC judge has been mandated to supervise NAB’s progress which is unprecedented. Supervision of JIT by 3-Member Implementation Bench was also unparalleled.
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NS has strong reasons to suspect that the decision was predetermined and feels he has the right to present his case before the people who had voted him to power and still hold him in the highest esteem. He rightly says that he never committed a penny worth corruption throughout his 35-year political history.
Elites of Sindh notorious for corruption have saved themselves by framing their own accountability law to keep NAB at bay
He draws strength from the unity within the ranks of PML-N and the eyebrows raised by legal luminaries and analysts both inside and outside the country about the court’s decision. During his addresses on his way to Lahore, he may share his grouses with his supporters.
Views of Legal experts/analysts
Legal experts say as to why the SCB disqualified him for life on the findings of JIT when the respondents had raised so many objections against the biased attitude of JIT.
They ask as to why it announced the verdict without ascertaining the validity of references to the trial court, whether he was guilty or not? The nation would have been quite satisfied had a charge of corruption, or embezzlement or money laundering been proven against NS.
They ask as to what was the grave emergency to take this extreme decision at a time when the country was faced with grave internal and external dangers, it was getting ripe for an economic takeoff, and there were few months left for the next elections?
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Wasn’t a smooth political transition better for the growth of democracy than futilely trying to cure the cancer of corruption by axing one rich family?
Was it that the decision couldn’t be pended because the country was economically sinking as had happened in 2012/2013?
Or the ruling elite was callously gobbling up the resources and breaking all records of corruption as was done by the previous regime?
Or the country was on the verge of disintegration due to terrorism in FATA, Baluchistan, and Karachi as was the case in 2013?
Or the Constitution and rule of law were being compromised and there were wide scale nepotism and poor governance?
Or the regime had become a security risk similar to Memogate scandal in Oct 2011, and Altaf Hussain’s diatribe against Pakistan on August 22, 2016?
If NS had become a security risk owing to his suspected softness and closeness with India on account of business interests, he should have been disqualified on this charge and not on Iqama. But which leader has ever been punished on account of his/her ties with India?
If any of these fears were nonexistent, then should it be assumed that urgency of IK to seize power in a jiffy was considered as most pressing and in the national interest?
The internal situation although returning back to normal is in actuality in a state of flux. The ones who have engineered the political instability after dividing the society to halt Pakistan’s economic progress must be sitting with cans of kerosene oil in their hands to fuel ongoing political polarization and instability.
PML-N, PPP, PTI, PML-Q, JI, JUI-F and PAT together with smaller regional parties are flexing their muscles. PTI-PAT nexus is eager to achieve their objectives by resorting to violent means, while PML-N leaders want NS to be absolved by the apex court and restored to power.
Daesh has been brought into Afghanistan by CIA-RAW for use against Afghan Taliban and Pakistan and to keep the pot of terrorism boiling for next 10 years
Hafiz Saeed heading Jamaatud Dawa and placed under house arrest has decided to enter the political arena by launching his party. Besides Samiul Haq party JUI (S) and ASWJ, all defunct extremist groups will join this party to save themselves from the claws of Raddul Fasaad. The possibility of a grand alliance of religious parties like MMA cannot be ruled out.
The proxies on the payroll of foreign agencies are eagerly waiting for the political duel to get out of control so that they can strike their targets with ease.
Daesh has been brought into Afghanistan by CIA-RAW for use against Afghan Taliban and Pakistan and to keep the pot of terrorism boiling for next 10 years.
Externally, Pakistan faces hostile India, Afghanistan, and the USA; lukewarm Iran, not-so-friendly GCC states. Sinister objectives of Indo-US-Afghanistan against Pakistan remain unchanged. Internally, the war on terror is still raging with no end in sight. Politicians are at each other’s throats. PML-N relations with the Establishment and Judiciary are tense.
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Hoax of corruption and accountability
Is it not a fact that menace of corruption in Pakistan is endemic; it has seeped into all segments of society and the society suffers from moral decay? The political system is dogged by corruption. Can across the board accountability be undertaken without the accountability bill, which is yet to be framed and passed by the Parliament, without an independent Ehtesab Commission and without correcting the flaws in the criminal justice system?
Elites of Sindh notorious for corruption have saved themselves by framing their own accountability law to keep NAB at bay. NAB in KP was inactive till Gulalai’s revelation. Holy cows have remained above law. Articles 62 (1) (f) and 63 are most likely to be scrapped by the parliament since none among the parliamentarians pass the litmus test of these clauses.
The Constitution andrule of law were being compromised and there were wide scale nepotism and poor governance?
If that be so, who will perform the surgery to remove the malignant part and cure the cancer of corruption? From where will we find honest and upright surgeons and if we succeed in finding some, will they be allowed to perform the surgeries of the entire elite class when seen in the backdrop of a divided society, polarized political class, dynastic politics, curse of materialism, feudal nepotism, and lack of social justice?
Can this cancer be cured before first reforming the education system, carrying out ideological reformation of the society as a whole to upgrade moral turpitude, reforming the electoral system to elect morally clean leaders, reforming bureaucracy, and last but not least reforming the judiciary to dispense justice fairly?
It must not be forgotten that PPP has turned into a regional party and suffers from leadership crisis and internal malaise. The possibility of its revival is so far bleak. Political forces in Sindh are joining hands to end PPP misrule in Sindh.
PTI has no seat in Sindh and Baluchistan. PTI has failed to deliver good governance in KP since IK has shown disinterest in parliamentary affairs. It has not won a single seat in bye-elections and its performance in local bodies’ elections was dismal. It seems that PTI may lose power in KP in the wake of its opponents ganging up to move vote-of-no-confidence against Pervez Khattak.
IK had lost in May 2013 elections but he never reconciled to it despite the apex court ruling that elections were free and fair
With so-called electable PPP leaders with murky past record swamping PTI, the party has lost its trumped up credentials of being a party of cleans. The reputation of IK himself is at stake. It has become a party of opportunists hungering to enter corridors of power. So, on what moral ground it claims to build Naya Pakistan and how does it qualify to start across the board accountability process if voted to power unless it first cleanses its own house?
PML-N is the only national party with strong roots in all the provinces including AJK and Gilgit Baltistan. NS is the lone leader who was elected PM thrice with heavy mandates, but each time he was ousted from power prematurely on unconvincing grounds. Yet, he has some feathers in his cap. He continues to act as a glue for his party and his appeal to his voters will be tested in the ongoing road journey.
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The way the sea of his supporters is welcoming him has dispelled the propaganda of PTI that he has lost his popularity. He is still the most popular leader of Pakistan. While Bhuttoism has kept PPP alive, the sway of NS, which has further wired up because of the sympathy wave, will help PML-N to once again win next elections with a thumping majority.
It is still to be seen how the PTI and PAT react to the power show of PML-N, and whether it will have any impact on the judicial course. Reversal of the SCB decision is least likely unless a larger bench is formed and it takes a lenient view and it calls off the trial by NAB and reduces his disqualification sentence.
Judiciary had gained ascendancy over the parliament after its July 28 verdict but has come under pressure as a result of power show of NS and its credibility is under duress.
NS is not reconciling with the apex court judgment based on controversial JIT report and he smells the conspiracy
After NS, SS is the best bet for Pakistan. Besides his outstanding administrative skills, statesmanship, rich experience of handling problems of compound nature and leadership qualities, he is a go-getter, workaholic and indefatigable. He enjoys deep ties with Presidents of Turkey and China and has earned their respect.
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He is an asset for Pakistan and he has the capability, drive, and willpower to build Naya Pakistan and none else. Although the critics will criticize this suggestion saying it will strengthen dynastic politics, but owing to a leadership crisis, this factor may have to be ignored.
Under the circumstances, the preferred course open is to forge unity, let the political process continue unhampered, strengthen the economy and save the country from external and internal threats, and work for a smooth transition of power next year. Till then, carry out essential reforms, pass effective accountability bill and empower NAB. Other weaker courses open are across the board accountability without an apparatus and then elections or abrupt change of regime followed by accountability.
The writer is a retired Brig, a war veteran, defense, security and political analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, editor-in-chief ‘Better Morrow’ and editor of web site ‘The Patriot’. Takes part in TV talk shows and delivers talks. firstname.lastname@example.org