By Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s conviction in the contempt of court case, without going into the legal and constitutional interpretations being given by experts, one thing is certain - that it is going to have serious ramifications on the political landscape of the country, with the probability of a relapse into the crass politics of nineties.

The initial bonhomie between the PPP and the PML-N, which ended in estrangement after a short period, is now poised to crystallise into an irreconcilable hostility. The opposition, especially the PML-N, is already sharpening its tools and looks determined not to let go this opportunity to destabilise the government, which the country can ill-afford against the backdrop of the dangers lurking on the horizon.

Prime Minister Gilani has decided to use his right of appeal against the decision that, according to the Constitution, can be lodged within 30 days. Legally speaking, till the final verdict on the appeal and the completion of the process of its consequential outcome, the Prime Minister has the legal and constitutional right to stay at the helm of affairs.

What is constitutionally and legally right is also morally right. Those who want him to step down on moral grounds, perhaps, do not understand what morality is, because if they knew they would not have their own cupboards full of skeletons.

People are well aware of their morals and strength of character, as well as their respect for the judiciary. One is astonished at their audacity to preach morality without expressing remorse over their own unenviable past.

The Constitution itself stipulates how the judiciary can get its decisions implemented. It does not require trade unionism by the political entities or other outfits to have them implemented through agitation, disturbing the law and order situation in the country. If they really believe in upholding the sanctity of the Constitution, they should let things unravel in conformity with the procedure prescribed in it.

The resort to street power with the accompanying destruction of the public and private properties by the unruly mobs, and the ensuing deaths as a consequence of the actions of the law enforcing agencies, are least desirable in the present circumstances as it would create justification for the anti-democracy forces to make their move.

Any such eventuality might lead to an unending nightmare for the people of Pakistan, who have suffered a lot in the past due to the shenanigans of politicians, some pliable judges and the acts of sedition committed by khakis. God forbid, it might also scuttle the chances of Pakistan surviving as a viable state.

This is a moment for all stakeholders to introspect their past conduct, analyse the disastrous consequences of their actions, learn lessons from history and try to find a way out of this quagmire through collective efforts. Pakistan’s future is inextricably linked to democracy as envisioned by the Quaid.

Their foremost priority should be to ensure that the country stays on the democratic path and the change of government is brought through the verdict of the people, who are the final arbiters and judge of the ruling elites’ performance. While treading the democratic path we also need to change the way we elect our parliamentarians. The prevalent system of elections nurtured by the feudal culture has promoted the politics of graft and entitlement and further entrenched the archaic, colonial style of governance. We might broach the possibility of adopting the system of proportional representation. These are the issues on which they need to concentrate and calibrate a strategy for systemic reforms to put the country on its cherished course.

In view of the foregoing realities, it is absolutely an inescapable responsibility of leaders of political parties sitting in Parliament to come out of their hibernation, set their priorities right and deal with these crucial issues in the light of emerging realities collectively, by making the required amendments in the Constitution, before the coming elections.

    The writer is a freelance columnist.

    Email: ashpak10@gmail.com