Quo Vadis Pakistan?

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By Wajid Shamsul Hasan

GIVEN the increasing ominous signs and keeping into consideration fast forward developments, it seems that an overall situation is about to be kicked start into a multifaceted institutional confrontation. Opposition was already tightening up its girdles when it received a bigger boast with the arrest of former president Asif Ali Zardari.

If until a few days back opposition parties were planning a strategy to launch a peaceful movement within and outside the Parliament to tame Imran Khan’s truant regime, PPPP Chairman and MNA Asif Zardari’s arrest has added fuel to the judicial fire that was already spreading wildly with the sinister wheeling dealings by the Establishment and IK regime against Justice Faez Isa who enjoys the reputation of a most upright judicial officer of the apex court.

Although Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa in his sojourn in Cambridge the other day declared unequivocally that justice would be done into Justice Isa and that no government has the power to remove a judge. One tends to give the benefit of the doubt to the Honourable Chief Justice, indeed, had he taken serious note of the organised vilification and character-assassination campaign against Justice Isa and his family members, one would’ve felt reassured that Justice Isa would surely get justice.

Rather the severity of the anti- Isa media and social media onslaught and the involvement of the government/its dirty trick agencies is no more a secret. PEMRA’s collaboration with the mysterious dirty trick operators is clear with one sided clamp down on any coverage in favour of Justice Isa while allowing a small group of black-coated proxy legal warriors of allegedly Punjab Bar to carry on unabated their anti-Isa tirade. The renegade members of Punjab Bar assigned to subvert the country-wide strike call by the legal fraternity in support of Justice Isa, got a blank cheque for media coverage to give the impression that they are not a mole of dirt but a whole mountain of filth.

Zardari spent eleven years in jail (both Nawaz and General Musharraf’s) and could have walked out of the prison as a free bird along with ISI General Ehtesham Jafri who came to see him in prison with GPM’s offer for Prime Ministership to him if he agreed to ditch his wife Benazir Bhutto. He was told that General Pervez Musharraf holds him in high esteem and that he should not suffer often solitary confinement, most of the time writhing with his back pain, diabetes and heart problem when he had not committed any crime. Late veteran journalist Majeed Nizami sahib who was hard to win over complimented, Zardari calling him a Marde Hur for not buckling down in to torture, intimidation and incarceration.

Like Justice Qazi Fez Isa is now under volleys of attack aimed at tarnishing his unimpeachable reputation, Zardari too was singled out by General ZIa and after him his heirs to keep him under pressure by levelling charges of him being ten percent to 100 percent. Both PMLN’s Senator Saifur Rehman and General Pervez Musharraf spent billions of rupees hiring foreign legal experts and detectives to establish plethora of their charges against Zardari. And finally after a decade of persecution Zardari got acquitted in all the false cases. Since his adversaries are wary of his politicking skills, their dread for him has made them tighten their stranglehold by fabricating fresh cases so that he does not check mate their low grade politics by skilfully out manoeuvring them.

Pic10-057 ISLAMABAD: Jun10- Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto and his sister Asifa Bhutto are weeping during the arresting of Asif Ali Zardari at Zardari House, as he giving his arrest to NAB officials after Islamabad High Court rejected an extension in pre-arrest bail in connection with a high-profile money laundering case that saw millions allegedly siphoned out of the country on Monday. ONLINE PHOTO by Waseem Khan

As such on the one hand, there is whole army of well trained team of Goebbels, barking dogs in the media and experts in social media engineering targeting Zardari spewing their hatred for him and his guts. On the other hand, people who like him for ethnic or other reasons, they would not deter from expressing their anger against what they allege Punjab’s victimisation of Sindh much like erstwhile East Pakistan and Balochistan.

In the obtaining situation when the government and its backers have got themselves involved in a multifaceted Catch-22 situation as leading editor/journalist/anchor Arif Nizami puts it in his latest column ‘Summer of discontent’ with hostile political forces, in an utterly bankrupt state of economy surrounded by hostile neighbours from all sides-the unavoidable and imminent conflict between two primary institutions could lead to disastrous consequences of anarchy and civil war. One would agree with columnist Babar Sattar whose last article ‘Judician witch-hunt’ was not allowed to be published in Pakistan (https://medium.com/@babar.sattar/judicial-witch-hunt-473c9d7e224d), that Pakistan does not have a system to provide space to accommodate a judiciary where judges are autonomous and permitted to decide matters in accordance with the law and their conscience. Indeed, the much shoddily processed reference against Justice Faez Isa by President Arif Alvi who I am sure must be having a prick in his conscience, to remember recalling the Judge he wants punished by the Supreme Judicial Council now, was once held in high esteem that he wanted Justice Isa to be made Governor of strife torn Balochistan.

In my column here last week I had urged the need to end diarchy in the country. Babar Sattar is right when he says in reference to Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s case that it has ‘laid bare the inherent conflict between the de facto and the de jure. For the de facto to prevail from behind.

(The writer is former High Commissioner of Pakistan to UK and a veteran journalist.)