Pakistan’s political studios are shooting a ‘block buster’ since the election of the PTI government. The cast of this ‘epic’, features an embattled Imran Khan and his posse of trouble shooters (some of whom have turned out to be trouble makers), while on the other side, there is a bunch of politicians representing the PML N and PPP, hell bent on shooting down anything good, done by PTI, to the extent of sounding and acting ridiculous.

Much of the action happens on a set known as the Parliament. Now, law making is a serious business and people invested with the privilege to sit in this august house (on both sides of the aisle) do so, because they have been mandated by their voters. It appears that the Opposition is hell bent on abusing this mandate, in the knowledge that their electorate is deaf and blind to their deeds. The Opposition strategy is manifested by walkouts for flimsy – almost frivolous reasons, provocative verbal shelling and resultant counter shelling across the divide. This gimmickry sends a clear message that a majority of opposition members are not inclined to allow passage of any law that ensures accountability (even their own) or amend clauses in the Constitution, which serve interests of corrupt politicians and not the collective good of the nation.

Shooting is also carried out outdoors on location. These locales keep on changing depending on how many ‘extras’ can be mustered to chant and raise slogans in praise of the royals sitting on the dais. While PML N is keeping a low profile in this type of activity because of reasons that are more than apparent, it is PPP that is desperately trying to gain mileage out of what has been conveniently termed as ‘public contact’. The Party’s desperation stems from imminent accountability and initiation of references by the National Accountability Bureau. There was expectation that the young Chairman of this Party, by virtue of his education and time abroad, would have imbibed western political ethics, often seen and lauded by us, but he appears not to have done so or (as claimed by many political pundits) perhaps he has been unable to shrug off the chains that shackle him. It is during his public and parliamentary appearances and those of his Party stalwarts that the comedy reaches levels never seen before. In a province, where visits of the Provincial Head of Executive are stage managed through borrowed furniture and individuals hired to enact roles, claims of a state of the art medical facility in (let us say) Gambat and a statement that Imran Khan has built nothing to match it in KPK is stuff that makes a cartoonist’s day worth putting pencil to paper.

Opposition’s favourite criticism on Khan Sahib, revolves around his government’s performance during the first one hundred days and his successful diplomatic initiatives to generate funding from friends to refill an empty treasury and revive a bankrupt economy, instead of running headlong to the IMF. I find this criticism much like the ravings of individuals suffering from a moral deficiency to acknowledge something that they themselves were unable to accomplish. Those, who raise these issues must first account for creating the present conditions during their misrule of more than three decades. It is only then that they will have the moral justification to demand an audit of the current dispensation’s one hundred days. To these critics, getting help and support from friends is equivalent to begging, while fawning at IMF’s doorstep to obtain crippling loans is a dignified act of a proud nation.

It is indeed ironic that we find political figures under investigation for corruption, heading Parliamentary Committees, especially one that oversees Public spending or watch, unable to understand the moral reasoning behind ‘production orders’, which enable persons being probed for misuse of public office to sit without an iota of remorse in Parliament sessions.

While putting corrupt public office holders behind bars would make me happy, I would be happier if looted money is recovered from them even at the cost of their banishment from Pakistan and its politics for ever. These individuals must be made to appear before the nation before such banishment and confess their guilt – much like some cases in South Korea and the Peoples Republic of China. The question is, will this ever happen in the ‘Land of the Pure’.

 

The writer is a freelance columnist.