I thought that all these last 10 years we were, along with the rest of the world, looking for Osama bin Laden and were on the side of those who were fighting a war against terrorism. When he did get caught, albeit without our knowledge, found embarrassingly almost in the lap of Pakistan Military Academy (PMA), our PM declared what a good thing that was - his being caught I mean (and not the neighbourly PMA connection).
The Defence Minister went on to say that Dr Shakil should have given the information that he had to the Pakistan government, rather than the USA and one can agree with that statement. In his mind, Dr Shakil was, probably, not committing a treasonable act by providing information to an ally of Pakistan and in the interest of the committed position Pakistan has persistently taken for the last so many years. Providing it in exchange for dollars is definitely unsavoury, but cannot be compared to waging a war against Pakistan and is not treasonable. The verdict announced against Dr Shakil, at a secret place, by an APA does not fulfil the requirements of justice.
Justice is the current key word in our national ‘lingo’. It appears that the Speaker of Parliament has chosen to interpret the ruling of the Supreme Court in the contempt case and found that it did not warrant a disqualification or removal of the PM. This is quite like some of our non-scholarly clergy, who chooses to interpret Quranic verses according to their personal vision and limited knowledge. Although our Speaker cannot be called non-knowledgeable, the fact remains that she and her family cannot be expected to take a position against the political party to which they owe everything. Thus, anybody who expected any other ruling from her needs to go back to the school of Pakistani politics. The nation remains confused in the middle of all the legalese and most of us have become half-baked lawyers ourselves after reading all the arguments given on both sides. However, the perception remains that there has been a contempt of court, which has not been adhered to.
The PPP, in view of the Speaker’s ruling, may not even file a review petition in the Supreme Court. The parties in opposition have begun to plan their responses and actions in the light of this development. We can only hope that protests will remain peaceful and no loss to life and property is caused as witnessed in Karachi a few days ago.
The nitty-gritty about what Pakistan is to gain for reopening the Nato supply routes continues. It has finally dawned that we need the money with the new budget being announced in a week. One is reminded of the words of Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib:
“Karz ki peetay thai mai, laiken samajtey thay kai haan,
Rung lai gi hamaari faaqa-musti aik din!”
Postscript: In Islamabad, the writing on the wall as to which way the winds are blowing becomes evident at diplomatic receptions. The flavours of the month are always those who are in power and popular for the authority that they possess, surrounded perpetually by gushing admirers. This phenomenon is more evident in the beginning or middle of a government’s tenure. I witnessed the exact opposite at a reception two days ago, which had all the well-heeled and who’s who of the city in attendance from all walks of life, including the non-official ones. The only people, who were being studiously avoided for chatter and bonhomie by the majority of the guests, were the four who were up with the Ambassador on the stage for the singing of the national anthems. You could so tell that their tenures have almost run their course and that we are almost at the end of an election term. Not so much for a collective rejection of the government’s performance as much as for their individual acts and statements. The four on the stage were Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, Minister for Railways Bilour, Chief Secretary Balochistan Raisani and Dr Asim - the doctor in charge of the oil sector. Tell me in all honesty, would you fault the guests if they did not want to get up close and personal with any of them? The only one about whom I felt bad was Aitzaz - a hero to many, including myself, until only a few months ago.
The writer is a public relations and event management professional based in Islamabad.