Home Global Village Khursheed Shah warns of ‘non-existent’ institutional confrontation

Khursheed Shah warns of ‘non-existent’ institutional confrontation

Khursheed Shah
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Syed Khursheed Shah, opposition leader in the National Assembly, has, once again, spoken against the ‘institutional confrontation’ warning the government of its consequences. In his view, institutional confrontation has increased to a dangerous level between the government and judiciary.

The Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) leader went on for a mile longer in his media talk on Monday and expressed that the confrontation would affect the whole system, regardless of its origin.

Khursheed Shah has been consistently warning the government of  possible clashes between the two pillars of state, i.e the judiciary and the legislature, especially after the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister in the Panama Papers Case However, if one closely observes the power equation in the country, there seems no confrontation at all because either the judiciary is being accused of overstepping its domain or the legislature is accused of incompetence, for not being able to govern and reclaim its space.

Besides Khursheed Shah, Bilawal Bhutto, PPP’s  Chairman, has also urged the judiciary to do its own jobs, stating that there is nothing wrong in doing our (legislature) job, in an indirect reference to the matters of public interest taken up by Mian Saqib Nisar, the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

As the party president, Shehbaz’ directives may be honored by the workers, however, Nawaz Sharif seems to shrug off the instruction passed by the President of the party, he founded.

The issue of institutional confrontation had been under discussion even during the stint of Nawaz Sharif, the former Prime Minister- between the government and the establishment – however, the current debate over the issue sparked after the murky wheeling and dealing of the Pakistan Muslim League, Nawaz leader was scrutinized, relating to the conflict between the judiciary, or more precisely the Supreme Court and the Khaqan Abbasi led-Government.

Even after the disqualification, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, in an apparent bid to mock the constitution and the directives of top court, amended the procedures for ruling party and introduced the Election Act 2017.

Read more: Ch. Nisar won’t join PTI, here’s why

Though Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz was successful in reinstating Nawaz Sharif as the president of the party, it fell short of defending it before the apex court, which disqualified Nawaz Sharif from being an office bearer of any party, prompting concerns in the party about the possibility of visible conflicts between the two institutions.

Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification in the Panama Papers was seen, by the party, as a planned execution of events by the establishment. However, it showed that the establishment and the judiciary were at daggers drawn with each other,, especially after Mian Saqib Nisar, the Chief Justice, disqualified him as the President of the party while heading three-judge bench.

Even after the disqualification, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, in an apparent bid to mock the constitution and the directives of top court, amended the procedures for ruling party and introduced the Election Act 2017.

The debate over institutional confrontation seems vague at this point in time, when Nawaz Sharif, himself, is casting aspirations over the efficacy of the government, ruled by his own party member, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. If the parliament is too weak, as pointed out by Nawaz Sharif in his media interaction outside the accountability court, the matter of confrontation dies down itself.

Moreover, the issue of confrontation seems to be a notion when the armed forces have clarified to uphold the constitution. With this in mind,  the Chief Justice has also expressed that he, along with his fellow judges, will relinquish their charge if martial law is imposed. Mian Saqib Nisar, who is seen as the core cause of confrontation by his critics, has also expressed repeatedly that democracy was the only form of government, viable for the country.

Although Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has criticized the verdicts of top court concerning his boss, Nawaz Sharif, he is still cautious of issuing statements that could place his fragile government on a collision course with the judiciary. Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif is repeatedly attacking the judiciary, his brother, Shahbaz Sharif is posing himself as the ‘good guy’ in front of both judiciary and establishment, owing to his possible promotion to the top slot after Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz’ victory in the upcoming elections.

Read more: PTI rules out alliance with PML-N and PPP

Shahbaz Sharif, who is otherwise a firebrand politician, has clarified that he would not allow anyone to speak against the judiciary. As the party president, Shehbaz’ directives may be honored by the workers, however, Nawaz Sharif seems to shrug off the instruction passed by the President of the party, he founded.

Even if Nawaz Sharif keeps on talking ill about the superior judiciary – as he is supposed to do with the accountability of court proceedings nearing to an end – the confrontation warnings appear more to be a political ploy by PPP, which, at one end wishes to see Nawaz Sharif being sentenced to jail and at the other end desires to keep its party’s image intact, to be known as the savior of democratic norms.

Pakistan’s current political landscape depicts that there cannot be any confrontation between a powerhouse of authority and a regime mistrusted by the leader himself.


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