Hope that implementation of the historic Panama Case verdict would be swift and merciless, is now laced with concern as the disqualified Prime Minister continues to call the shots sans his official title. To that end, he has appointed a new Head of Executive (although according to the Supreme Court decision he has no authority to do so), his courtiers are leaving no stone unturned to imply that they do not accept the supreme court decision, they are also (with word and deed) challenging the integrity of the Apex Court and pointing their dirty fingers at another great institution that is laying down lives to defend the external and internal borders of this country. NAB references are passing through well thought out delays, PML N crowds are being incited in the guise of ‘Awami JITs and Awami Courts’ and those charged with record tampering to provide relief to the former PM have been granted bail. In a despicable turn of events, Pakistani politics has taken a route that now uses gender to attack opponents. The litany of ‘innocence’ and “what have we been punished for” leaves one stunned, as does the fawning applause that is received by those, who utter these phrases.

And now, the former PM has embarked upon a ‘rally’ from Islamabad to Lahore to demonstrate his strength. The success and magnitude of this show is critical not only to the Sharif Family, but to current PML N leadership and future aspirants to tickets for the 2018 Elections. However, in spite of my scathing criticism of the former Chief Executive, I must admit that his name will remain a formidable element in any future ballot and his Party may even savor victory (albeit not a sweeping one) in the forthcoming General Elections. I would therefore agree with the statement of our newly appointed Foreign Minister, who said that the rally was in fact the commencement of the PML N Election Campaign.

Going back to Pakistan’s prevailing political ‘ethics’, I have repeatedly written of having no issue with businesses run by the Sharif Family or for that matter anybody else, as long as they are not holding high public office. This is what makes the difference between allegations against Imran Khan and charges against Mr. Sharif and any comparison would be like ‘apples with oranges’. What Khan Sahib does in his private life is his own business, it would however have been otherwise if he was holding the high office of President, Prime Minister or Chief Minister. It is this one single point i.e. high public office that makes the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif morally and ethically correct.

If Pakistani democracy is based on barefaced lying, corruption and sycophancy then I would prefer a benign, but honest dictator to put this country back on track. I am reminded of an incident more than a decade and a half ago, when I was attending a discussion in one of the elite national think tanks. It was during a heated debate on why we (Pakistanis) followed foreign dictates that a western delegate took the mike and raised an uproar by saying that “Pakistanis were like sheep that needed a shepherd”. I saw ‘red’ and joined the house in condemning the statement, but on reaching home, I went through a prolonged period of introspection on what had been said. We had spontaneously reacted to the ‘gora’s insult’, but perhaps he had been right – we were indeed sheep and needed an upright, passionate and wise shepherd to guide us through the perils we were in.

I have often irritated my friends (who are politically active) by saying that our salvation lay not in a bicameral Parliamentary Democracy held hostage by corrupt politicians, but in a Presidential dispensation with a single House - both elected directly through adult franchise. A system wherein, politicians only debated and passed legislation, while a Presidential Cabinet composed of technocrats ran the day to day affairs of the country; where a three cornered accountability using the check and balance principle, was ensured through the House, the President and the Supreme Court. And when two generations of ours had bitten the dust and Pakistanis had reached globally acknowledged levels of literacy, prosperity and acceptance, leaders could think of reverting to a Parliamentary Democracy – but then nobody would want to, because they would all be happy and content with what they had evolved.