LAHORE   -    The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has stepped up its campaign against the ‘big fish’ and the arrests of former president Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N vice-president Hamza Shehbaz have strengthened the impression that anti-graft institution will not spare anyone, no matter how mighty or influential.

On the other hand, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa’s recent decision to confirm the sentences awarded to some senior military officers, including death sentence to a brigadier, has also established that even men in uniform involved in anti-state activities will not be spared and they will have to face the consequences of their misdoings.

Such an indiscriminate action against civilians or military people is certainly laudable and nobody will have any justification to raise a finger at its fairness.

But the relevant authorities must ensure the fairness of the process even in future and take into consideration some aspects going unnoticed so far.

As things stand, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif stands convicted as a result of the NAB reference and is serving his term at Kot Lakhpat jail. His daughter Maryam, now designated as central vice-president, has also been convicted and disqualified for any public office for seven years.

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and son Hamza are facing many NAB cases and a negative verdict will seal their fate.

Likewise, PPP supremo Asif Zardari has been arrested and son Bilawal is waiting for his turn.

The negative outcome of cases against the top leadership of these two parties will have some consequences for the country.

Let’s assume allegations against all these leaders are based on solid proofs and ultimately they are convicted by relevant courts. Let’s further suppose that the convictions are upheld even by the final appellate forums. What will happen then?

This will mean the top PML-N and the PPP leaderships will not be qualified to lead their respective parties and both these major opposition parties, under the law, will be required to choose new leaders.

In the absence of Sharifs leaders like Shahid Khaqan, Raja Zafarul Haq, Ahsan Iqbal, Khwaja Asif, Ameer Muqam, Mehtab Abbasi, Sabir Shah are left in the field and none can lead the party or keep it united. Their support is confined to their own constituencies or the districts they live in. The very fact that they are willing to stand behind the junior most member of the Sharif family means they accept their future is linked to the support they get from the Sharif family.

Same is the situation with the PPP. Although it was just a coincidence that Mr Zardari got the PPP leadership after the assassination of his spouse Benazir Bhutto, there is none in the party who can lead the party at the national level.

Ghinwa Bhutto, Fatima Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Junior failed to get attention even in Sindh after several years of their work. And those who floated separate factions of the PPP (like late Rana Shaukat Mehmud, Dr Safdar Abbasi and Naheed Khan, Mumtaz Bhutto, Aftab Sherpao) did not get any public response.

Without exaggeration the Zardaris have been accepted as successors of the Bhuttos in Sindh and elsewhere despite several questions about their integrity.

This means that disappearance of the Sharifs and Zardari from the political scene for whatever reasons will mean fragmentation or total disappearance of their parties from national scene.

And at a time when there is hardly a national level party in the country, such a development will mean regionalisation of politics – a very, very bad scenario for national unity.

Needless to point out that the PML-Q has already seen its ups and downs and now has presence only in a few districts of Punjab.

Religious parties have almost been rejected by the electorate. Leftist parties like ANP have a limited following in some districts of KP and Balochistan.

Balochistan has only district-level parties, with none having presence in other provinces.

This means the PTI will be the largest party of the country, no matter what its electoral support.

Can a country like Pakistan afford such a weak political system? Will regionalisation of politics suit national interests? Will it have implications for national security?

These are the questions needing immediate attention of the defenders of Pakistan and other relevant institutions before some development ousts the top leaderships of the PML-N and the PPP from the political scene.

In physics friction is called a “necessary evil”. In its absence a vehicle moving on a road will never stop. It is the friction that stops it.

Perhaps, the prevailing situation in Pakistan means the inevitability of the corrupt.