The worries for ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) are far from over. It seems that the season of disqualification of their members is not ended yet. In a recent development the Islamabad High court has disqualified Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif for life. The decision came in the wake of an application filed by his political opponent Usman Dar that Asif concealed the work permit of UAE and he was drawing salary from a company based there. A three-member bench of the high court disqualified Asif under Article 62(1) (f) of the constitution for not disclosing his employment in the Company and for the monthly salary he was drawing. The recent disqualification of foreign minister and a stalwart of Pakistan Muslim league Nawaz is a great blow to the ruling party as Khawaja Asif is considered a close aide in the ranks of Pakistan Muslim league Nawaz. The legal fertility is divided on the recent judgment, while the one section of the lawyers are endorsing this decision the other is strongly criticising this and terming it a victimisation of Nawaz Sharif and his party.
The public opinion is also divided as the supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf are celebrating and the supporters of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz are terming this decision a biased one. As per the law every elected representative in Pakistan has to file an affidavit with the Election Commission of Pakistan while submitting nomination papers for contesting elections that he or she will not indulge in any work or will not take any other job during the tenure of his membership of the provincial or national assemblies. As per the law the recent court verdict to disqualify Khawaja Asif seems correct as Khawaja Asif not only was found serving for a foreign company. The question, however, arises that is Khawaja Asif the only one among elected members who holds a work permit or who has another source of income? The answer to this is of course a big no. Almost all the elected representatives do possess work permits or have indirect business and jobs so only targeting Khawaja Asif validates the stance and narrative of the ruling party that they have been victimised in the name of accountability.
The Constitution of Pakistan also does not allow any government servant or institution to indulge in any form of business venture or jobs but contrary to that the top senior officers of bureaucracy, judiciary and military are engaged in various profit venture projects and jobs. In the recent remarks, Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Shaukat Siddiqi pointed this out by saying that the armed institution in Pakistan are running business of dairy and meet products selling meat. The list of profitable ventures of military is long as from selling corn flakes to food items and from running housing schemes to banks and financial institutions. Being a close aide to Sharif, Khawaja Asif was first made defence minister and then was named foreign minister . Khawaja Asif nomination as a foreign minister was never liked by invisible forces. So this decision did not come as a surprise for many of the informed persons as not taking dictation and being vocal about civilian authority is not acceptable to the invisible forces.
The decision of Khawaja Asif 's disqualification has also created a negative impression of Pakistan around the world, as the major news outlets gave the headline that Pakistan's foreign minister has been disqualified by the court for hiding information about his source of income. The ongoing fight between the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and the state institutions is damaging the credibility of Pakistan and it is also weakening the foundation of the state. It does not matter who ever win this battle, the ultimate looser seems to be the state itself, as all the three institutions: parliament, judiciary, and military are the pillars of the state and if any one of them is weakened it is the irreparable loss for the state. On the political front It is a great loss to Sharif as Khawaja Asif had an influence in the central Punjab constituency politics and most of the candidates from the Sialkot division were given National Assembly tickets. His ouster from politics has left a void and it can result in defections from Sialkot division as many of the electable candidates may fear the same fate, if they continue to side with Sharif and his narrative. Imran Khan the main opponent of Sharif has gained political mileage from Khawaja Asif 's disqualification and he can convince his vote bank that it is his efforts that has resulted in the demise of another stalwart of the ruling party.
The spin wizards from both the camps of Sharif and Imran khan will try to gain advantage of this decision. Imran Khan’s camp will portray itself as a winner while Sharif’s camp will play the victimisation card in order to gain the sympathy of its vote bank, but the damage done to the credibility of Pakistan is the point that needs to be addressed and it can only be addressed if the institutions of the state instead of locking horns with each other work in harmony for the betterment and progressive of the country. Shaming and humiliating elected representatives will not bring any solution to the problems. In fact it will further deteriorate the image of state in the global community.