Articles of the year 2009

No Deal
Published on December 26th, 2009

After the initial shock of the Supreme Court judgement had worn off, the PPP high command stepped up a gear and started its campaign to vilify first the judgement, and then the judges. By calling the judgement judicial activism, they question our intelligence. By assuming that we were unaware of the atrocious past of our judiciary, and the manner in which the judiciary had succumbed to the executive bullying or the executive carrot. The incumbent leadership with unclean hands could not savour the relief in the minds of the masses. This feeling alone is worth the 63-year wait, bringing with it the promise of freedom from an unjust governance and an orphan's despondency in the future.

Far worse is the hijacking of the PPP from the high ideals of the founders and dumping it into a morass of money-grubbing opportunists. The PPP has contained the brightest politicians in the history of Pakistan, the most astute, and except for a few the majority were men of high political principles. It is this feeling of principles that has drawn a following from all walks of life and loyalty beyond the norm, bordering on a cult status. The nearest example would be Peronistas of Argentina. It is this cult that has been hijacked and will be lost forever. The largest and most committed political party with the biggest vote bank in the country is now at risk of losing its leadership under the NRO judgement. The incompetence of the PPP inner core has brought the crisis on itself.

Needless to say that the legal trap was laid when the US and UK governments decided on the NRO formula of forgiveness, and sprung when the PPP decided not to contest the NRO in the assembly - a decision made purely by the party's hierarchy. The NRO verdict was a foregone conclusion and all those who had benefited under the black law were now thrown to the wolves. Did the NRO architects really believe that the Pakistani judiciary and the people of Pakistan would forever remain pliant to an incompetent government, which is imploding on its own incompetence? The Americans must be in for a rude shock, but they have also been the victims of a Bush government yet they have many checks and balances in place that save them from serious damage. Certainly, it is the others that suffer greatly, the Iraqis, the Afghans, and now us.

The tragic part is the decimation of Pakistan's largest political party, and the followers left in the wilderness with only a dream to cherish. A stable PPP with honest leadership could have lead us on to a bright future, but the lure of the quick buck was too tempting.

It is now the judiciary that will step in, to the saving of Pakistan. All they have to do is apply the law, with no favours, and deals. The constitution has been crafted by a very able team headed by the brilliant Hafeez Pirzada, who so ably applied his brainchild to striking down the NRO, while Barrister Kamal Azfar made a hash of the defence where none existed. But he had made a promise which had to be kept. Unfortunately, his failure could not have come at a higher or more important platform. Far better to have declined the brief.We are lucky that most of the cases will be dealt with expeditiously, under the watchful eyes of an alert Supreme Court and if medical certificates are to be presented, the doctor may have his head examined.

And yet the motives of the Supreme Court are being questioned by some diehard Party loyalists, and some newcomers to the bandwagon. It is a pity that such a meticulous and carefully crafted judgement can be so crudely and shabbily criticised.

It remains to be seen if the hawks surrounding President Asif Ali Zardari can be reined in, or will they continue in their quest for imposing their will on the newly liberated judiciary. The chances are that these forces, by sheer habit will continue in their ways. This could culminate in another court versus executive tussle, only this time the people are firmly behind the judiciary, and any such attempt will be thwarted by the people themselves.

Nevertheless, it will be a travesty if the Party of the people is then pitted against the PPP, showing how it (PPP) has indeed lost its feel on the pulse of the nation. The people expect the government to apply its mind to the enormous problems of meeting their economic issues, rather than having to witness a totally unnecessary battle between the two most powerful organs of the State.