“All government - indeed, every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act - is founded on compromise and barter.”

– Edmund Burke

Our politicians have consistently refused to learn from history. Therefore, whenever a crisis erupts on Pakistan’s political horizon nobody is surprised.

Against this backdrop, presently there are two issues that have emerged as ‘serious challenges’ for the stability of the government and the institution of democracy. While all State organs have been advising one another to operate within their domains, but there are reasons to believe that they have been interfering in each other’s’ jurisdiction. Of course, this only happens when democracy in the country is weak or any one State organ is not performing its functions according to the procedures laid down in the Constitution.

For those who have a deep insight of the nation’s political history, they are well aware that the current hype is created by some elements in the media, and thus will end peacefully without causing any serious damage to all State institutions. Of course, that is also not good for the country. For instance, two Commissions are separately investigating the memo issue - one appointed by the honourable Supreme Court and the other by Parliament. It is obvious that the aim of these Commissions is to find out the truth. So, it will be prudent to wait for their findings before they are reviewed or analysed dispassionately by those who want to examine the memo case.

As far as politicians are concerned, it is quite natural to expect that various political parties are trying to score political points through memogate without caring that it could erode the credibility of Pakistan’s security apparatus. Also, one hopes that the Commissions will devote some time to find out the involvement of a sinister hand (read foreign) that is working behind-the-scenes to discredit the country and its vital institutions.

At the end of the day, if nothing concrete is established, it would be a pity that a foreign national was able to orchestrate this high drama, which led the people to believe that the two most important institutions of the country were staring at one another without evaluating the consequences of any confrontation between them. However, if it is established that Pakistanis are involved, then the concerned authorities should quickly take appropriate action against all those who erred on the wrong side.

Equally important is the issue about the implementation of certain decisions taken by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. One such decision had resulted in the issuing of a show cause notice to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, directing him to appear in person on the nineteenth of this month (the next hearing is due on February 1). Some analysts and so-called intellectuals were predicting a doomsday scenario in which the demise of the government would be imminent and with it, perhaps, democracy. But I, for one, had a deep faith and conviction that there will be no brinkmanship and surely this issue will be resolved peacefully and according to the law.

Before the notice was issued, however, one had reason to believe in the reports that the government had assigned the drafting of the letter to the Swiss authorities in line with the Supreme Court directive. While this could have been done earlier, but compliance even at this stage would allow the State institutions to progress and prosper and help promote good governance. Although it will not be proper to comment on the outcome of the case because it is under litigation, yet there are serious political ramifications attached with it.

Nevertheless, the Prime Minister has been correctly and repeatedly saying that difference of opinion between the government, the army or the judiciary should not be construed, as if they are fighting with one another. Therefore, one hopes that the government will follow the law and not hesitate to implement the orders issued by the superior judiciary. On their part, the judges, too, are expected to dispense justice and there should be no reservation on any issue. It is only then that the rule of law will prevail in Pakistan.

But then again, regrettably, the political parties are busy in point scoring even on this issue and there is a danger that a legal issue maybe politicised. That may result in the erosion of authority that is due to various pillars of the State. However, for those who want to relish in confrontation, it is essential that a loud and clear message is sent to them by all stakeholders: That the salvation of this country lies in compromise and tolerance. These two characteristics are essential, if the State organs are to move towards institutionalisation. Otherwise, adhocism will prevail leaving all in a weak position.

One can understand that all democratic institutions of the country are passing through a period of transition and the present problems will, indeed, be resolved with the passage of time. This could have happened earlier, if the political, administrative, judicial and military leadership of this country had learnt their lessons. But since that did not happen, many issues keep returning that lead to confusion and despondency among a large segment of the society.

Another issue that has been ignored, so far by nearly all the pillars of the State is the economic situation, which receives a beating whenever such issues crop up. Political sagacity and wisdom demand that all the institutions should be careful and ensure that the economy is not made to suffer due to their political manoeuvring, because it is economic progress that determines the fate of any country. One hopes that the present challenges confronting Pakistan will be resolved peacefully with understanding and tolerance, allowing the country and its economy to emerge stronger than it is today.

    The writer has been associated with various newspapers as editor and columnist. At present, he hosts a political programme on Pakistan Television.

    Email: zarnatta@hotmail.com