The one liability has become a mountain of crises
The drift of things ever since the PPP-led government took over had always pointed in one direction: disaster, unmitigated disaster. The ones who disagreed and were willing to give the vagrant charlatans the benefit of doubt would possibly be having some second thoughts.
But, quite comprehensively, we are well past the stage of any rethink. The seeds were sown extensively and the crop of abominable corruption and abdication of governance tended to lovingly over four arduous years as we wait to reap the ultimate produce. The only question is whether that would come in the shape of a judicial coup or military intervention.
I have frequently written about the lack of prospects of the military intervening directly, but its role in any change can never be underestimated particularly when the environment has been distorted beyond the contours of manageability and when there is an open confrontation between the executive on the one hand and the military and the judiciary on the other hand. No one can be blamed more for this than the executive itself which has indulged ceaselessly in acts smacking of mala fide intentions.
The government began with one massive liability who, over time, and to hide his transgressions inducted a coterie of cronies, even convicts granted presidential reprieve, who became co-operators in weaving a web of deception concerning every aspect of governance. To hide their crass misdemeanours, they needed to gain unbridled control over all echelons of the government. Three institutions posed prospective hurdles in the process: the judiciary (after restoration), the military and the media. To diminish its stature and credibility, the judiciary was wantonly scandalised, devious tactics were employed to weaken the military and the premier intelligence agency while every endeavour was made to browbeat the media into submission. When neither of the tricks worked, the anger gradually gave way to desperation and the country was set on course to a show-down either with the dubious intention of the government dying a political martyr thus leaving it a chance at the next elections, or bringing the system down and blaming it on undemocratic forces it had been allegedly confronting through the entire tenure of its incumbency.
But, while the executive may have been digging its own grave over time, the judiciary and the military did just about everything to facilitate its predilection to hang itself. The judiciary did it by inordinately delaying the issuance of strategic injunctions and going soft on their implementation and the military by showing a total lack of interest in intervening even when the opportunity was offered to it on a golden platter. While the judiciary, basking in its new-found independence, may have been reluctant to move in too quickly to rein in the governmental transgressions, the military was busy fighting an alien war that had been imposed on it through the hideous capitulation of the former dictator. Instead of using the twin-opportunity to consolidate its hold through good governance and delivery at the grassroots level, the executive chose to perpetuate abject corruption and gross mismanagement of the state and its institutions.
When its multiple devious machinations did not lead to giving it unquestioned hold on power, it stooped to conspiring against its own institutions. The Kerry-Lugar Bill, the May 2 incident and the memo are just three instances of this heinous endeavour. But, every failure further incensed the government’s recalcitrance and obduracy because it fully understood that the edifice it had erected stood on weak pillars and the only course open for it to hide its misconduct was continued defiance of the legitimate state institutions. Today, the government stands alone. Its allies are deserting it. It is in defiance of the apex court. Its confrontation with the military has only aggravated with the passage of time.
The SC bench hearing the implementation of the NRO judgement case has held the president and the prime minister guilty of having violated their oaths of office and has offered six possible solutions to the government. The judgement makes for another moot point because when the guilt of a person is established, he automatically becomes liable to be awarded an appropriate punishment which cannot be left to his discretion as, in that case, every criminal will want this precedence replicated.
Most controversial is option six which states that “…if in a given situation, the Executive is bent upon defying a final judicial verdict and is ready to go to any limit in such defiance, then, instead of insisting upon the Executive to implement the judicial verdict and thereby running the risk of bringing down the constitutional structure itself, this court may exercise judicial restraint and leave the matter to the better judgement of the people of the country and their representatives in the Parliament to appropriately deal with the delinquent”. This, inter alia, politicises a matter that should have been handled strictly within the domain of law. Also, how can it be expected that a parliament that has been rendered irrelevant by the executive would be suddenly electrified to play a role? Does this make for another instance of the judiciary blinking in the face of history?
The one liability that the PPP-led government started with at the time of its induction has today become a mountain of crises and conflict that is well beyond control. Its policy of confrontation has led it to becoming increasingly mired in unmanageable controversies and intrigues. The executive has become a victim of its own mala fide work that has dug in deep impacting every aspect of the national life. There appears to be no easy escape – either for the government or the country.
The writer is a political analyst and a member of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. He can be reached at [email protected]