We don’t know where we are or where we’re going
With the SC striking down the new contempt law, PM Pervez Ashraf is left with no protection against removal from office in case he is seen to have defied the SC’s order to write a letter to Swiss authorities seeking the revival of cases against President Zardari. As he would not carry out the order, he is likely to meet the fate of his predecessor. Since the PPP has no shortage of loyalists in the parliament, the standoff with the SC can theoretically continue till the announcement of the election date and the appointment of a caretaker setup. The remaining six months of the party’s tenure would therefore be marked by uncertainties. This is harmful for the country’s security, economy and social order.
As the court was about to announce the verdict, anxiety kept the investors away from the market thus bringing down the stocks. Pakistan is involved in crucial talks with the US and India but doubts about the government’s future restrain foreign governments from brokering vital deals with Pakistan. The PPP government is currently focused on nothing except survival.
While the SC needs to pursue the corruption cases against whosoever in the government is involved, it has to do it in a way that does not jeopardize the system or create political uncertainties. The maxim “Let justice be done though the heavens fall” might have served the end of justice in less complicated societies but has to be revised in the highly complex 21st century where the world has turned into a global village and events happening in one country are likely to affect the whole region or the world at large. As things stand, the world needs a stable government in Pakistan. China wants this to stop the influx of militants from the neighborhood. Washington seeks it for the security of the nuclear assets. Even India needs stability in Pakistan for the preservation of its own security. This explains why the SC’s removal of Gilani was widely criticized abroad, among others by jurists.
The government has to understand that while the parliament makes laws, these have to be in consonance with the provisions of the constitution. The political parties also have to realize that taking issues that can best be dealt with politically to the SC can lead to the unraveling of the system. The way PML(N) and PTI are accusing each other of corruption and financial bungling and threatening to drag each others’ leaders to the court indicates that the future of the governments in days to come will not be determined by parliament but the SC. This is no good omen for the system.