Regrettably Pakistan has a chequered political history mainly because of the self-inflicted tragedies by the politicians and political parties in their quest for power grabbing rather than implementing the manifesto bequeathed by the Quaid in his speech of 11th August 1947 in the constituent Assembly. Things have come to such a pass after seventy years of independence that a person who is a dual national and not even eligible to contest the election for becoming a member of the legislature is keeping the nation hostage to his bizarre machinations and the main political parties have jumped on to his bandwagon to destabilize the sitting government, motivated by political vendetta. It is indeed a shameful political scenario at a time when the country undoubtedly was faced with grave internal and external threats requiring impregnable national unity and political stability.

Perhaps it would be pertinent to have a brief look at the credentials of Qadri to understand what he is up to. On 21 April 1990 a firing incident was reported at the residence of Tahir ul Qadri and he blamed Punjab government for an attempt to assassinate him. The Punjab government constituted one man judicial commission to probe into the matter. During the proceedings of the inquiry Qadri also tried to give the impression that the attack was orchestrated by Jamaat Islami and Islami Jamhoori Ittehad. The commission on the basis of the investigations and the forensic evidence that was presented before it concluded that Qadri himself had stage-managed the attack and the claims made by him had not been corroborated. The judge declared him a ‘liar’ making the remarks Qadri was a person of such a mental health who could manipulate and exploit anything for his political gains.

When Qadri returned to Pakistan in 2012 just before the General elections with a proclaimed mission to reform the country and held the first ‘dharna’ he also filed a petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan for re-constitution of the Election Commission of Pakistan. The petition was dismissed. The SC in its short order pending detailed judgment wrote “Qadri has failed to make out a case for exercising the discretionary jurisdiction by the court under article 184(3) of the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, for the facts that violation of any of the Fundamental Rights under chapter 1 of part II of the constitution has neither been listed in the petition nor established during course of arguments. The petitioner has failed to prove his bona-fides to invoke the jurisdiction of this court coupled with the fact that under peculiar circumstances he has no locus standi to claim relief as it has been prayed for in the petition, inter alia, for reason that being a holder of dual citizenship, he is not qualified to contest the elections to the parliament in view of the constitutional bar under Article 63(1) (c) of the constitution. Before parting with the short order, it is essential to note that at the time of concluding his arguments on the points noted hereinabove, he started making uncalled for aspersions against the member of the Bench, which are tantamount prima facie to undermine its authority calling for action against him for Contempt of Court under Article 204(3) of the Constitution read with section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003. However we, while exercising restraint, have decided not to proceed against him following the principle that such jurisdiction has to be exercised sparingly on case to case basis”.

The judgment besides giving the grounds for dismissal of his petition also thought it fit to point out the intemperate behavior of Qadri which warranted contempt of the court proceedings against him but the court exercised restraint. The SC remarks about Qadri were also a ranting testimony of the observations of the LHC regarding mental state of the Allama. During the inquiry of firing incident at his residence he also had cast aspersions on the integrity of the judge.

During the second ‘dharna’ credible evidence emerged that pointed towards a conspiracy against the government including the statements by Javed Hashmi and brother of Shah Mehmood Qureshi. But somehow the government survived the attempt due to the support of the judiciary, media, army and the political parties represented in the parliament and Qadri had to abandon the sit-in well before Imran finaly decided to end it. For the interest of the readers it is pertinent to point that before Qadri and Imran embarked on their marches that culminated in ‘dharna’ the LHC had declared their actions unconstitutional but still they went ahead with it.

The Model Town Tragedy, no doubt was a very tragic incident since it culminated in the loss of precious human lives and should not have happened in the first place. However the way it has been politicized is also not an appropriate thing to do. The matter is already in the court and should have been left to the court to decide it. In the light of the Najfi report the PAT has the right to knock at the doors of the judiciary to seek justice that it demands. There is no justification for a movement to orchestrate the downfall of the PML (N) government through unconstitutional means. It is abundantly clear from the announcement of the movement that PAT has some hidden agenda other than seeking justice for the martyrs of Model Town and the major parties supporting Qadri also have their own political motives. Such a course is surely a recipe for chaos and anarchy in the country.

The fact remains that the PML (N) in spite of the venomous propaganda against it and the bizarre court decisions involving disqualification of the former Prime Minister, is still the most popular political party as is evident from the victory of its candidate in PPP-54 (Chakwal) by a big margin in spite of the fact that Imran Khan had addressed a public rally there two days before the voting day. There are credible indications that it would also win the coming general elections on the basis of its performance.

PAT supported by PPP and PTI is poised to create a law and order situation in the country. Under the circumstances the Supreme Court must take suo moto notice of the prevailing situation under article 184(3), as law and order is also a matter of public interest and stop them from consigning the country to perennial instability. The mainstream political parties also need to revisit their strategy in the larger interest of the country and democracy. By perpetuating the tradition of orchestrating the downfall of elected governments by methods other than through the ballot box, they are insulting the genius of the people of Pakistan and scuttling their own democratic credentials. If they really want continuation of democracy in the country then they must leave it to the judgment of the people.

 

The writer is a freelance columnist.

ashpak10@gmail.com