Only in Pakistan do things happen the way they do. While commentators maintain that we should thank God for small mercies like things remaining within the constitutional framework in the current scenario, we the people remain unheard, as confrontational lines are drawn. All sorts of cards are out and being flouted in our faces - the Sindhi, Seraiki, party, etc. etc.
It is like games and lollipops for children. The very least one expects from a mature and responsible politician, thus declared by the highest court of the land, is resignation. It might also wash away some of the dirt that is stuck almost like glue to his name and to that of his offspring. It might also give them a chance of coming back in another election, but as Ayesha Siddiqa, the eminent scholar, maintains after research, that long-term vision is something we are genetically incapable of, for some strange reason.
The fact that the Supreme Court did not also disqualify the Prime Minister in its judgment for contempt has ensured that the country remains in a disarray for quite some time more. All our recent unresolved traumas like the battalion that got buried in an avalanche, the air crash and its 127 innocent victims, the killings in Gilgit and Balochistan have taken a backseat in the light of this development.
We are now the odd country where the guy who heads the government has to wear the label of 'convicted' like others do their medals. I suppose it happens when the non-deserving are appointed Chief Executives in lieu of the loyalty factor alone.
Despite all the arguments possible made by the noisy fraternity of lawyers on both sides of the divide who, apparently, can argue inconclusively till kingdom come, the general perception and opinion favours resignation by the Prime Minister. The effusive and loud mubariks that were given to the Prime Minister by his Cabinet colleagues after the verdict reminded me of the children's story wherein the king was parading naked, but his courtiers kept saying: “What beautiful clothes your majesty!” We the public are very much like the small boy who was looking on and whom nobody bothered with, even when he kept saying: “The king has no clothes!”
In all this, it is the PML-N, who now have to practice what they keep talking about. It is a defining moment, more or less, like the Powell-Musharraf dialogue, “are you with us or against us?” It is no longer acceptable or possible for them to have their cake and eat it too. Their fear of the faujis taking over must be set aside, if they are to remain relevant in the world of politics. They have done the friendly opposition bit when that was their need of the day, followed by the sloganeering opposition bit to show they were on the side of the public. Now is the time for actual action and final positioning that can only be postponed, if they can risk their urban vote bank. Somebody among our politicians should think about longevity and how history is going to judge them way after all judgments have been passed.
Postscript: The bolt of the Bhoja air crash, followed rapidly by the grounding of Shaheen airplanes after a tyre burst, suddenly puts in perspective how no quality control checks are in place anywhere. We recently also lived through the nightmare of the wrong medicines given to heart patients in public hospitals in Lahore, resulting in so many needless deaths. This is apart from the frequent gas cylinder explosions and resultant deaths, which can be avoided if better quality checks are in place. This rubbish of pleasing cronies and issuance of licences without following through on quality control has to cease forthwith. It applies to all sorts of licences, including those for weapons and drugs as in the under trial ephedrine scandal. It appears that the loss of human life is the least worrisome factor for the ruling elite. The doling out of monetary compensation to families of victims is the only and immediate solution that is practiced at every tragedy. All of us pine and wait for things to change. As the Strings sing so emotionally, voicing our desires and our dreams:
“Jab roti sasti ho gi,
aur mehngi ho gi jaan,
mai bhi dekhoon ga,
tum bhi dekho gai,
jab aisa ho ga Pakistan.”
The writer is a public relations and event management professional based in Islamabad.