In one of the blackest moments of our history, the Bill presented by the Opposition to undo the recently and hastily passed law, enabling its sole beneficiary Nawaz Sharif to reassume leadership of his Party, was defeated by a vote of 167 to 98 in the National Assembly. Mr. Sharif was earlier disqualified from holding public office and unseated by a unanimous Supreme Court decision on charges of corruption. In what can only be termed as a resounding slap on the face of Pakistani democracy, PML N legislators turned out in force to vote against the bill and provide relief to one of the most corrupt political players that Pakistan has ever had the misfortune to produce. These were the same individuals, who failed to turn up for assembly sessions to fulfil their sworn duty i.e. enact laws to facilitate good government for the 200 million strong Pakistani nation.
With guilt writ large on the faces of many occupying treasury benches, the Speaker hastily concluded the session. The entire proceedings, proved once and for all that the democratic dispensation now prevalent in the ‘Land of the Pure’ was not only disgraceful, but had created grave doubts as to its viability. What happened on the floor of the Lower House was enough to send the message that character did not figure in the race to power in Pakistan and that one had to be dishonest to rise to the highest public office in the land.
Tuesday’s victory may be cause for celebration, but by defeating the bill, Mr. Sharif’s courtiers have changed the very course that raising our next generation is likely to take – the generation that is expected to spawn our next batch of political leadership. The Ruling Party legislators have sanctified an evil act that will have long term devastating effects on our national psyche.
All hopes are now focused on the judiciary, wherein lies the power to undo acts of Parliament that strike at what is enshrined in the Constitution. It is our Apex Court that is the final interpreter of the ‘Green Book’ and Pakistanis everywhere are now waiting to see how and when the evil thrust upon the nation, will be mitigated.
The events of the past two days are also a milestone that warrants serious introspection by those that take oaths to serve the country in their respective fields. Let me remind them that the said oath is taken after emphasising that it is being done in the presence of ‘Allah’ (The All Powerful). Deviation from this commitment through acts of corruption, lack of moral courage and integrity, would in fact be a crime of the most heinous nature. Those who violate the oath may get away with it in this life, but will without doubt be held accountable and punished in the hereafter.
One of my political pundits is of the view that the people have now reached their limit and will take no more. He often quotes the causes of the French Revolution and recites passages from ‘Tale of Two Cities’ to make his point. I have so far insisted that he is mixing up ‘apples with oranges’ and that we are not the French (with all their character qualities). The proceedings of the National Assembly have proved that I have been correct in my assessment.
Another old timer, who keeps a keen eye on political shenanigans, is speechless with admiration at the restraint being shown by the two institutions that are being relentlessly targeted by the Sharifs and their lackeys. This tolerance warrants a few lines in recognition of their courage and devotion to duty. One is cleansing Jinnah’s Pakistan from the cancer of corruption and plunder, with law as its sole weapon. The other is engaged in fighting a war successfully against a ruthless enemy that is both visible and shadowy depending on where the conflict takes place. Where would we, defenceless ordinary citizens be, if these two entities were compromised is a scenario too horrible to contemplate. It is for this very reason that anyone or any notion targeting them must be labelled as nothing less than treason.
The writer is a freelance columnist.
The events of the past two days are also a milestone that warrants serious introspection by those that take oaths to serve the country in their respective fields.