The rape of the lock

2017-08-04T03:27:24+05:00 Agha Baqir

In his legendry mock-epic poem, ‘The rape of the lock,” Alexander Pope, gives a fantastic narrative of stealing a lock of hair of the heroine, namely Belinda by a character called Baron. She is guarded by thousands of tiny ariel creatures. Her chief guardian sylph, namely Ariel, warns her in a dream that some disaster will befall her and promises to protect her to the best of his abilities but Belinda takes little notice. On completion of her dressing, Belinda travels on the Thames River to an ancient royal residence outside London known as Hampton Court Palace, where a group of wealthy young socialites including Baron are gathering for a party. Amongst his early morning set of prayers for success in this enterprise, Baron has already conspired to steal a lock of Belinda’s hair, come what may.

The ‘partygoers’ enjoy a tense game of cards, which is dubbed a ‘battle’ by the author in mock-heroic terms. Baron takes up a pair of scissors and on the third try, manages to cut off the coveted lock of Belinda’s hair rendering her awfully furious. Belinda is urged to give up her anger in favour of good humour and good sense, moral qualities which will outlast her vanities. But the heroine initiates a scuffle between the ladies and the gentlemen, in which she attempts to recover the severed curl. The lock is lost in the confusion of this ‘mock battle.’ However; the poet consoles the bereft heroine with the suggestion that it has been taken up into the heavens and immortalised as a constellation.

The ‘epic’ is a narration of the heroic acts of the hero of the story fighting for a lofty cause for his people whereas the ‘mock-epic’ is a funny imitation of the acts of a hero fighting for a trivial cause. There have been various grave political epics as well as funny mock-epics in Pakistan through the years. The political history of Pakistan is full of brave heroes as well as mimics playing their role in the growth or otherwise deterioration of the socio-economic establishment of the country.

Politics and other high places in Pakistan, undoubtedly, have been a means of amassing wealth not only for the politicians and other office holders but also for their facilitators who ultimately get their share duly invested in our elections and selections regardless of any political party or other organs of the state. Male and female politicians shift the ‘toyshop’ of their hearts in such a funny and ridiculous manner that politics – a serious subject for the service of mankind – turns out to be a trivial matter in the form of a mock-epic by way of fiery blemishing attacks upon each other by the representatives of the parties in talk shows. So much so, that society ridicules them, compares them to certain imaginary, mythological, fiction, novelistic and under-world names which are not appropriate to be reproduced here for the sanctity of certain institutions. The common factor which runs through them is that they all are mighty, not the weak.

July 28, 2017, by all means – good or bad – would be bound to be marked as one of the historical day in the history of Pakistan. Every historian, jurist, columnist or analyst will record the events in line with his relative experiences, expertise as well as pride and prejudices. Some will mark it gallantly and gravely to have pride and lessons from it while the others would make it look like a mock-epic.

The sensible segments of our society duly welcomed the process of accountability initiated in the country, this time not against the weaker only but the stronger as well, who may or may not prove themselves innocent or otherwise at the end of the day. The due process of law was frequently said to be ‘observed,’ and seen to be extra-conscious this time as against the judicial history of Pakistan with special reference to the Z A Bhutto’s case. All reasonable segments would be glad if the accountability process was successfully and fairly accomplished in the Panama case and continued across the board for other strong ones too, but unfortunately the fact remains that for some reason, it seems to have turned out to be politicised for. The reasons are well substantiated by the national and international intelligentsia, especially, constitutional and legal experts, who of course are divided in their interpretations and opinions on the Panama case.

As a matter of their right to form their opinion, as the honourable judges too had their independent opinions on application of Article 184(3), the proponents of the observance of due process of law believed in disqualification of a person only after conviction, maybe declared by the Supreme Court itself or by the concerned department on charges of corruption. Therefore, they prefer to interpret as to why the judgment could be re-called for elaboration of law points on the words and phrases ‘receivables,’ ‘assets’ ‘quantum of disqualification for life’ or some other term as well as the practicality of articles 62 and 63.

Another segment of society welcomed the judgment on the grounds that the Supreme Court had used its full discretion by moulding the law under Article 184(3) and ROPA once it was convinced of, prima facie, commission of offence of corruption and of non-declaration of his chairmanship in his nomination papers for the elections, 2013.

At least one of the parties is always aggrieved of any judgment in the world – the winning side being satisfied and the loosing dissatisfied. Therefore, such cases, everywhere, are most likely to become or taken as politico-judicial cases. But here, the courts at least have taken an initiative to bring into practicability various laws legislated with good intention and effort but have actually become redundant.

The courts have taken up a gigantic task, ideally, it would add to their sanctity that certain questions which call for elaboration may be reviewed by themselves or by entertaining the review petition or any other form of application filed by the aggrieved. Interpretation of the term ‘receivable,’ effectivity or redundancy of articles 62 and 63, the duration of disqualification – for life or for a term in accordance with fundamental rights and philosophies of punishment, ie deterrence and reformation etc may work. The Parliament may also adopt any amendment in favour of the public interest and not in the interest of a particular class hitting the very principles of equality and rule of law.

Mr Prime Minster, every institution has its own importance and is destined to play its role for solidarity of this nation. The society has well marked the sobriety shown by your leadership by gracefully accepting the verdict this time which will not only pay your party dividends but also others in the long run. Every cloud has a silver lining. Rise and fall is a part of life and is granted by nature to test and rectify a person. Mature and sagacious decisions may lead the country to an unprecedented rise. And it would be that place where society will not bemoan the cutting of a hair lock but strive for character and merit. It would be a true epic and not a mockery.

The writer is a socio-political analyst.

The political history of Pakistan is full of brave heroes as well as mimics playing their role in

the growth or otherwise deterioration of the socio-economic establishment of the country.

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