President Asif Ali Zardari will not appear before the memogate commission, but has promised to obey whatever directions are issued by the Parliamentary Committee on National Security. In an interview with a TV channel President Zardari has said that there is no clash with the army or judiciary, calling it ‘part of evolution’. It might be a relief that he has at least conceded that something is afoot. His counsel to wait for this so-called evolution process to reach its logical end, is unlikely to be given much attention because the inititiation of the memogate affair has provided a focus for the nation to look to President House. It cannot have escaped the President’s notice that the parliamentary committee having a built-in PPP majority, is likely to report favourably on the conduct of its own party chief. However, the Supreme Court commission comprising impartial figures will not be suspected by the general public of being prejudiced towards the President. He should also ask himself whether such conduct does not encourage suspicions about him, instead of appeaing the people’s fears.

It is bad enough that the nation has to see the spectacle of the government blatantly defying court orders in the hope of protecting the President but to have its own doubts and suspicions not laid to rest, is something that causes frustrations to grow. As President, Mr Zardari is supposed to prevent this. It is not evolution to see the country experiencing struggles that have taken place long ago in different lands and the principle of the rule of law requires no evolutionary blundering about, but following said law willingly.

With President Zardari offering PML-N President Mian Nawaz Sharif fresh elections in October, the appeal to the electorate is closer than mandated. The PPP should not underestimate the voters’ desire to establish to a certainty, those behind the authoring of memogate, especially when about to approach these voters for a renewal of its mandate. Though the President would clearly like the whole matter brushed under the carpet, it cannot be done. The President would be setting an excellent example of showing that institutions matter more than parties, if he appeared before the commission. He should not defy the Supreme Court in obedience to the PPP core committee but the other way around, and apart from appearing before the Commission, he must also ensure that there is no obstacle to its work.