Mudassir Saeed Laghari |
How did we reach the point where the former prime minister is spewing hatred and contempt against the superior judiciary and honorable judges? And can it be appropriate and acceptable to rage confrontation against what is morally and legally correct? This is the territory of Modi and Trump. Perhaps, it’s we who were wrong: we were expecting some sense of sanity and sombreness from Nawaz Sharif. We would have realized that he is the character who blithely makes entries into territories where even the last bit of wisdom ceases to be visible.
He controls the entire government but acts like he is the oppressed one. He is employing his time and energy to reflexively dismantle everything that could give the impression of normalcy. But it’s easy and understandable in Nawaz Sharif’s case. He always needs enemies to define himself. Away from that, he has nothing, from performance to promises, to rally the people around but for obfuscation and disinformation, he has nothing to thrive on.
Back then in 2013, the country was admittedly facing a leadership void. And because of the same reasons, it was poised also for political opportunists and morally-corrupted buffoon. And Nawaz Sharif capped on the atmosphere.
Nawaz Sharif does not know, and he never will, that there is a great distance between mouthing and speaking, between an ideologist and an opportunist.
Electability was his watchword during the election for the party candidates, therefore shrugging off even the pretense of worth attached to party affiliations or ideology. And he successfully made his way through the election to become the third-time prime minister. But marked by ineptness and misadventures – oscillations hardly to be afforded – left the country exhausted.
Morbid consequences include an economy that leaves the youth jobless and exports shrinking; historic levels of wealth inequality and debt burden; and a country with dysfunctional institutions from health and education to law enforcement. Cunning and arrogance together form a dangerous mixture. And they have Nawaz Sharif in their claws. He has but a strong Mogul sense of his self-worth.
And Nawaz Sharif is also known for acts of over-the-cliff auto-propulsion than for prudence and pragmatism. And he has a great penchant for committing extraordinary, voluntary acts of self-destruction. Take his decision not to settle the Panama gate issue in the parliament.
He is quite the opposite of Benazir Bhutto – the political saint of the time many of us have witnessed. In fact, he is everything that beloved leaders loath to be: a coward and a bully – a combination that in his case produced inaction.
A life full of volatility and disruptions is always full of illusions. So what is Nawaz Sharif is fearing about. It is the loss of refuge. Shame could be anywhere. Since Panamagate came out of the clear blue sky. It’s the diminution of legacy. There is none to be found. It’s the ruin of community. Politics is a powerful binder but also a great separator. It’s the want of self-importance. Life in its fast mode can become an endless invitation to feel divorced or unloved.
Nawaz Sharif is also known for acts of over-the-cliff auto-propulsion than for prudence and pragmatism.
Possibly, all these fears and malaise constitute the soul of the Disqualified, whose primary instincts have always been essential for human weakness. Hence honorable Judges and courts and generals and conspirators and all the other menaces to Pakistan that the Disqualified deploys as needed.
It is by no means easy to be not troubled about darkening skies. He is not just injuring people’s confidence over the apex court and fair trial, he is trying to suffocate it. He is disorienting the politics. He is sucking some of the promises out of our new democracy.
The Disqualified maneuvered to pass controversial Election Bill. He has been re-elected as the party chief. In the crazed pursuit of restoring and ensuring his family’s rule, he is willing to sap nation’s confidence, weave alarm into the nation’s fabric and inspire a metastasizing form of madness that continues to agitate and divide people.
He looks like an assassin, out to take the life of a great man. But ideas and aspirations are meant to be immortal. People’s aspirations for a free and prosperous homeland cannot be destroyed. Rather, his sickening outrage against the country’s institutions would only reinforce those aspirations.
As the nation is out there: the affectionate, the strong, the stoical, the competent, and the sane. And as there is hope, there is a future. Despite a winter upon them, the people will have their day.
He is employing his time and energy to reflexively dismantle everything that could give the impression of normalcy.
Words flow from that rolled mouth and they mean nothing, because when Nawaz Sharif – a man of moral emptiness – tries to charge the nation to constitutional governance and moral greatness the only thing communicated is pathetic, weirdly ludicrous, dishonesty.
Nawaz Sharif does not know, and he never will, that there is a great distance between mouthing and speaking, between an ideologist and an opportunist and between a hero and a dealer. Those who are attuned to cunning are always small.
And it’s the reason that the Disqualified seems lonely in his evident unfitness. Sometimes, I even felt pity for him when I imagine as what Mother Teresa described ‘loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty’. Once upon a time a Mogul by nature. A three-time prime minister. And then in a matter of time when the tide turned. A Disqualified. And the most Terrible Poor. What a wretched man that he is.
But the nation knows. It knows the cost of embracing the Disqualified. It will have a big fall. For (to borrow from Fritz Stern’ words) ‘the fragility of freedom is the simplest & deepest lesson of our nation’s life’. We once again find ourselves ‘on the cusp of avoidable disaster’. And our default response should be to refuse to be moved by hyperbole, or allured by exhortation.
And it is – will be – the wisdom of our people who have seen it all before. And we have little time for illusions. We must be undeceived to them and therefore, there should be no accommodation of the Disqualified – our ‘unacceptable’.
Politics is a powerful binder but also a great separator. It’s the want of self-importance. Life in its fast mode can become an endless invitation to feel unloved.
Let’s contemplate at what the US Senator Jeff Flake recently counseled: “We must never adjust to the present coarseness of our national dialogue with the tone set at the top. We must never regard as normal the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country. The personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institution, the flagrant disregard for truth and decency, the reckless provocations most often for the prettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have been elected to serve. None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal”.
Mudassir Saeed Laghari is a freelance columnist. He has contributed several pieces to various magazines, especially to Lahore-based Jahangir’s World Times. He also teaches international affairs and contemporary politics. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.