News Analysis |
The disqualification of Ex-premier Nawaz Sharif in a unanimous verdict of the Supreme Court last week has been met with jubilation and despondency of the same potency. The Imran Khan-led opposition has hailed the decision as a step to rid the country of corruption and dynastic rule. However, the N League and its supporters in the media, legal and political fraternities are calling it a conspiracy and a blatant attack on democracy. This argument is countered by the assertion that democracy has no room for corrupt practices and that accountability is the essence of the very system.
Democrat vs the anti-American cricketer
The two main figures in the Panama saga in Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan are being seen differently in Washington and around the world. The flamboyant Khan, who has risen up the popularity ladder after playing the lead role in Sharif’s ouster is being written-off as an anti-American cricket star; an appendage of hidden hands and someone who is not a shoo-in. In his New York Times story, Salman Masood quoted former ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani saying:” He is not the kind of man the establishment would like to be in charge.” Experts who are critical of the establishment feel strongly that Khan was used as a tool to oust Nawaz but not supplant him. The article was tweeted by the New York Times with the caption: ” Imran, the anti-American cricket star hopes to rule Pakistan.”
Such views were shared by many other analysts, which included Pakistanis and Indians too. Eminent Indian journalist, Barkha Dutt wrote in the Washington Post about how the disqualification is dangerous for Pakistan.
The Guardian interviewed him on Monday and highlighted his views which were against the War on Terror and US aid to Pakistan. The interview’s tag line stated: “Pakistan must reject US aid and exit the war on terror, says Imran Khan.”
Read more: The dusk of Nawaz Sharif era
Khan has been a vociferous critic of the US-led War on Terror, which he feels has hurt Pakistan’s peace, stability, and economy.
On the other hand, Nawaz’s ouster has been linked to a preponderant Army. Writing for the New York Times, Max Fisher and Amanda Taub said that the military will vastly benefit from the order of the Supreme Court.”The episode is a lesson in how countries like Pakistan — with weak elected institutions and histories of repeated backsliding and breaks in civilian control — can get stuck in a gray zone between dictatorship and democracy,” they wrote. Such views were shared by many other analysts, which included Pakistanis and Indians too. Eminent Indian journalist, Barkha Dutt wrote in the Washington Post about how the disqualification is dangerous for Pakistan. She wrote:”Sharif seems to be paying the price for trying to restore some authority to the office of the prime minister. He also took on a foreign policy agenda that was inimical to the shadowy Pakistani security establishment that has often used terrorist groups as strategic assets against both India and Afghanistan. Earlier this year, amid spiraling tensions between India and Pakistan, Sharif told me he was attempting a renewed rapprochement; his India policy is certainly one reason why he was disliked by his army.”
The narrative that is being built is that Nawaz is a torch-bearer of civilian supremacy while Khan will be utterly anti-American in his policies if he perches on the hot seat. Khan has been a vociferous critic of the US-led War on Terror, which he feels has hurt Pakistan’s peace, stability, and economy. The timings of US’ tilt against the Pakistan military coincide with strained GHQ-Pentagon ties over the trouble in Afghanistan.
Antisemitism by N League
The rivalry between Khan and Nawaz goes two decades back. Khan married a young Jemima Khan, heiress of the Goldsmith family in 1995. His opponents including the Nawaz League and religious fanatics have since targeted him; they have accused him of being part of the Jewish lobby. Khan has often said that it was this torture which ultimately led to his divorce with Jemima. So much so that Nawaz’s disqualification was welcomed by Jemima Khan. She tweeted:”Good riddance to the man who tried to get me jailed when I was pregnant with my 2nd child on trumped up (non bailable) charges of smuggling.”
Good riddance to the man who tried to get me jailed when I was pregnant with my 2nd child on trumped up (non bailable) charges of smuggling. https://t.co/dpy8Je14Dz
— Jemima Goldsmith (@Jemima_Khan) July 28, 2017
Over the years, many stalwarts of the ruling party have tried to discredit Khan to his alleged connections with the Jewish lobby.
Earlier this month, PML-N leader Hanif Abbassi said that Khan is corrupt and a part of the Jewish lobby.“You are conspiring against democracy and people of Pakistan and your conspiracy has links with Jewish lobby and anti-Pakistan forces. Ex minister Tariq Fazal also talked about Khan being a member of the Jewish lobby which is set out to harm Pakistan. Maulana Fazl ur-Rehman, a staunch ally of the ruling party has also many times accused Khan of being a Jew agent.
Over the years, many stalwarts of the ruling party have tried to discredit Khan owing to his alleged connections with the Jewish lobby.This is something that is known as antisemitism.The US media has, in its visible bent towards Nawaz has circumvented the drive that the US is taking to curb antisemitism.
Last year the US Senate passed the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, proposed by Senators Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, and Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican, to “ensure the Education Department has the necessary statutory tools at their disposal to investigate anti-Jewish incidents. Casey cited a few examples of what constitutes antisemitism to include demonizing Israel by blaming it for political tensions. This is something which the PML-N is doing by blaming Khan’s party to be funded by the Jews. This puts questions mark as to why a party thriving on disdain for the Jews in its political discourse, is being supported in the US. The most plausible argument is that the US was in all likelihood comfortable with Nawaz being reasonably submissive to US’ main ally in the region, India. It was also in complete agreement with Nawaz’s views regarding a behemoth military, something which India, Afghanistan and the US wants to be reined-in. The argument, if looked at through the lens of geopolitics, raises more questions with seemingly straight forward answers.