The political scenario unfolding in the country in the backdrop of the SC decision in the Panama case to disqualify former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the petitions filed by PTI and other political parties, unfortunately points toward a new round of political instability. The PTI and its allies and some other political entities essentially hostile to the PML-N and the political parasites who have a history of siding with the forces inimical to democracy, are joining hands to capitalise on the obtaining situation.

The PTI Chief Imran Khan, who is jubilant on the verdict delivered by the SC, is now desperately trying to pit the ruling party against the judiciary and the establishment by repeatedly rubbing in the notion that PML-N was accusing the judiciary and the establishment of a conspiracy to oust Nawaz Sharif. He is also repeatedly declaring with complete aplomb - like the one with which he used to predict SC decision against Mawaz Sharif - that the Sharif family will soon find itself in the jail. In the meantime the PML-N has implemented the SC decision but makes no bones about declaring that the masses had not accepted the verdict. The former Prime Minister is presently on his way to Lahore through GT Road ostensibly to show to the world that he was still the most popular leader, a move that is being described by the opponents as a ploy to pressurize the judiciary and other state institutions.

The sudden arrival of Tahir ul Qadri in Pakistan and his threat to stage another sit-in for seeking justice for what he called the martyrs of Model Town during a rally in Lahore, is indeed an ominous portent. PTI, PML-Q and AML President Sheikh Rashid also participated in the rally. Imran Khan also threw his weight behind Tahir ul Qadri. The political analysts and those savvy with the political history of the country feel that the building scenario had all the trappings of a conspiracy to destabilise the PML-N government and pave the way for the anti-democratic forces to wrap up the system. What the duo of Imran and Qadri did is still fresh in the memories of the people and they dread the prospect of yet another collusion among the same forces that might consign the country to unending instability.

It is so unfortunate that the leaders and governments elected by the people are sent packing in an un-ceremonial manner and the mandate of the people is insulted with impunity. The change of governments in Pakistan or dismissal of government heads according to former COAS General as claimed by him in an article during the last sit-in by the duo of Imran and Qadri, has always occurred as a result of collaboration between America, Army, Adliya and Allies (the political elements).

Whether Nawaz Sharif was ousted through a similar process or not, cannot be said with certainty but there is no denying the fact that the decision given by the SC has certainly given rise to many questions. Eminent lawyers and constitutional experts have expressed their disagreement with the decision describing it based on frivolous considerations rather than concrete evidence. It has been pointed out that the judges have contradicted their earlier decisions in the Panama Leaks case and their views about Article 62, particularly Justice Asif Khosa who in the Ishaq Khakwani case (PLD) 2015 SC 275, while dismissing the appeal seeking disqualification of Nawaz Sharif in 2014, added an additional note reiterating that many provisions of Article 62 were not amenable to legally enforceable standards. Referring to Article 62(1)(f) he opined, “It is proverbial that Devil himself knoweth not the intention of man. So why to have such requirements in the law, nay the constitution, which cannot even be defined, not to talk of proof.” Is it not intriguing that in this particular case the judges have disqualified the former Prime Minister under the same clause on a charge which the petitioners had not prayed for in their petitions?

In my columns during the Panama case hearing and the working of the JIT I have been maintaining that the Panama Leaks was a political case and the SC should not have entertained it in the first place after declaring the earlier petition as frivolous and having rejected the government request to form a judicial commission maintaining that the probe required a new legislation. My considered view was that whatever the decision of the court in the end it would not emerge unscathed from the episode itself. That is exactly what we are witnessing.

What caused the change of mind by SC to entertain the same petition has remained a mystery until Imran in an interview with a private TV channel revealed after the decision that he submitted the petition in the SC on the urging of Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, a proposition immediately contradicted by the registrar of the apex court. This development has surely reinforced the arguments of those who regard the dismissal of the former Prime Minister a consequence of a conspiracy. This is a very serious matter and warrants a proper probe. In my view the court itself should have taken the initiative to clear the haze.

It is so unfortunate that none of the elected Prime Ministers has been allowed to complete his mandated tenure and whenever the country attained a semblance of peace and tranquility, the forces inimical to democracy have struck unabashedly to insult the mandate of the people.

There is no denying the fact that during the last four years, the country under the stewardship of Nawaz Sharif had taken appreciable strides towards peace and progress. Economy hit the GDP growth rate of 5.3 % this year which was the highest in the last ten years; the terrorists have almost been defeated; situation in Karachi and Balochistan has been brought under control and discernible steps had been taken to overcome the energy crisis. And above all Pakistan has become part of the CPEC, a mega-economic undertaking that has the potential to change economic profile of Pakistan as well as the entire region. The economists believe that the implementation of projects under CPEC would add 3% to the GDP growth rate of the country. That however requires political stability and continuation of the democratic process. What is now happening on the political landscape of the country sadly does not present an encouraging scenario.

 

n             The writer is a freelance columnist.