Given the recent embarrassment of the NADRA case, one would have expected the government to follow protocol the next time they sought the dismissal of a public official, but it seems that they took the phrase ‘if once you don’t succeed, try again’ too literally. PML-N should have realized that any future removal, even for the right reasons, would now come under greater scrutiny because of their failure to justify the first termination. The IHC had just made a ruling against the decision of the government, and surely they noticed the outcry that rose as a result. The opposition’s job was made all too easy, for their worst fears of the rigging that they suspected took place in the May elections were all but confirmed.
The allegations against the PEMRA Chief seem to have more substance than the ones leveled against Malik. The fact that he forwarded his own name as one of the potential candidates in January this year, neglected to mention his date of birth or that he was due to retire in two months are only some of the charges leveled against him. Others include the cases of corruption with him as a prime suspect and his dubious ties to Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and the rental scams. Many suspect that Rashid Ahmad’s appointment was gifted to him by the outgoing party in the interests of securing their hold over the media, which might not be so baseless an accusation, considering the fact that the post was left vacant for a year and a half with an acting chief in place, before the hasty appointment of Ahmad in the beginning of this year, on the orders of the Supreme Court.
There are grounds for investigation, however, the way the PML-N handled this situation was a political faux pas that could easily have been avoided. Whether or not Rashid Ahmad is corrupt is an issue that should not have been decided unanimously by the Prime Minister and his closest confidants, but should have been taken to the Parliament, and if that did not glean new insight, arguing for his expulsion in the Supreme Court was the path that would have been wise. However, it seems that the ruling party is not too keen on learning from their mistakes , and will continue to get itself into troubles that it could easily avoid, aided by their experiences from ruling on past occasions. The people of Pakistan can only hope that practice makes perfect, and maybe one day common sense will prevail and the state will follow procedures to uphold the institutions they are the guardians of.