–Just a week to go
There was a wonderful moment on television recently when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry gave an interview to Shahzeb Khanzada. The interviewer asked the PTI mouthpiece why Imran Khan called Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) activists, who had gone to receive Nawaz Sharif, ‘donkeys’.
Fawad responded with the typical party spiel. But the Sharifs have two appeals left, responded the television host. Pushing the point, he shifted onto Imran Khan, asking how he can keep Jehangir Tareen at his right hand by saying there is still a review petition left, while calling Leaguers welcoming Nawaz ‘donkeys’.
Fawad Chaudhry answered by saying Jehangir Tareen hadn’t stolen any money. “But how much money has Nawaz stolen,” retorted the host?
“3000 crore” is the number Fawad Chaudhry pulls from some dark place somewhere.
The only problem with this answer was that it was pulled out of thin air. Literally nowhere in the judgment has this amount or anything remotely similar to it been mentioned.
This is a chronic problem with the PTI. And while all politicians fudge numbers, what Fawad Chaudhry did was create them from scratch.
He was naturally called out on it and was soon flustered. When faced with this, there was a precious moment where he simply said “theek hai” before hanging up.
Lo and behold, the Sharifs have appealed but they will have to wait until after the polls for the high court to hear them. Up until the decision in the Avenfield Reference case was announced by the courts last week, there had been claims by the PML-N that there was pressure on the courts to have the verdict out before the elections in an attempt to hurt the League politically and perhaps dent some of their electorates.
For the League, that doesn’t seem to have been a problem. While the exodus of electables and the current state of south Punjab have the League up at night, the return of Nawaz and his daughter, Maryam, was played well enough by the PML-N for it to have become a strong rallying point for the party.
But it is still ironic. The entire argument for not delaying the verdict was that no election or domestic exigency was important enough to interfere with the rule of law. Fair enough. But one would want the judiciary to act with the same vigour and efficiency in the appeal process as it did in the trial.
SCANTILY CLAD BARBS:
Bilawal Bhutto has urged politicians to think before they speak. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairman said that politicians using derogatory language against each other was dangerous for Pakistan’s future. He didn’t take any names, but it was pretty obvious who he was hinting at. It is also good to see him take this moral stance, especially after the slew of dirty politics his late mother had to face her entire life.
We’re just a week away, and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has published a list of rules to be followed on the elections day. It’s standard stuff. No coercion or firearms at polling stations – that sort of stuff. Unfortunately for first-time voters, the ECP has also said nobody can take pictures of their ballot papers. That means no Snapchat. Strange for the ECP though. A secret ballot means you don’t have to tell anyone, not that you can’t.