Reports indicate that The National Accountability Bureau has obtained certified documents from British Authorities, which will be used by the prosecution as definitive evidence against the disqualified Prime Minister, his daughter and son in law. As the accountability trial of the Sharifs progresses towards culmination, the fault lines within the Ruling Party are becoming more and more evident. This in all probability is a result of PMLN cadres coming to grips with reality that their leader and relevant family members are not immune to being found guilty and punished like an ordinary citizen. They may also be realizing that if this happens, the Sharif Family may become irrelevant on Pakistan’s political chessboard. I may be acutely critical of the former PM’s close associates, who collaborated in compromising National Security, destroying the economy and misusing public office, but I have a grudging admiration for them as they continue to defend their leader on and off the air.
The whole scenario reminds me of the final days of the Second World War. In a desperate bid to stem the Allied onslaught, the Japanese resorted to the traditional custom of ‘Harakiri’. Many died upon their own swords, while a large number refused to surrender, choosing death over dishonor. Japanese pilots known as ‘Kamikazes’ or ‘The Divine Wind’ became living bombs as they flew their aircraft into American warships. These were desperate measures adopted by desperate people, much like the situation being faced by PML N in general and the Sharif Family in particular. There is however one huge difference between the former Head of PML N and the Japanese - the latter were an honorable people.
A political review of Pakistan’s history will indicate that the biggest stumbling block in our growth as a respected member of the global community has been lack of morally sound national character. This weakness is due mainly because of undesirable role models i.e. our political leadership, who in turn have corrupted public systems from top to bottom. The insatiable hunger for wealth and power (no matter what the cost) has spawned dynastic politics manifested in two major political parties led by Sharif and Bhutto Families, who have ruled Pakistan for decades interspersed with periods of martial law. The end result is that we, the people of Pakistan, are stuck in a hybrid political culture that is nowhere close to the ‘ideals of democracy’. This hybrid brand of politics is monarchial with a democratic façade, hallmarked by an ideology that produces brazen faced liars, spawns sycophancy and nurtures the notion of being ‘more loyal to the King than the King himself’ - even to the point of creating conditions that threaten the very existence of the State.
A political seer from the faculty of Harvard University once defined democracy as the worst form of government and autocracy as the best – provided that the autocrat was benign and always kept his peoples’ collective interest above his own. Our political history, when viewed in the light of this notion boils down to one conclusion. We need to seriously review if a parliamentary democracy is suited to a nation like ours and if a change to the alternate i.e. a Presidential dispensation is the answer, but how do we find someone to head this system? Someone, who reflects the qualities of head and heart manifested by our Founding Father Muhammad Ali Jinnah. All our apples are out there in the basket for us to see and perhaps all are rotten. Maybe just maybe, somewhere hidden at the very bottom of the basket, there is one piece that is less rotten than the others and perhaps if we redefine our warped sense of loyalty, we may find one that is not rotten at all.
The writer is a freelance columnist.