- Brace yourselves
With only a couple of days left before the country goes to vote, the political campaign is ripe with swift turn of events on a daily basis. Amidst talk of political engineering and pre-poll rigging, a significant level of confidence to win the day is also evident. PML-N continues its tirade of being singled out and being targeted. Whereas PTI is optimistic about their winning performance on polling day.
Even PPP has joined the ranks of their democratic brothers in crying out against meddling in the political arena by other players. How meritless these allegations are is yet to be analysed. However, it is indeed paving way for another charter of democracy. One which is aimed at securing the top leadership from hardships. The sort being faced by Nawaz and Maryam.
Quite astonishingly, the weekend went by with a lot of interesting and serious developments. A senior judge of the Islamabad High Court, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, admonished the premier intelligence agency of the country and alleged it to have been interfering in the judicial domain. He further criticised his own institution accusing the same of playing into the hands of external players.
For one, his allegations give rise to a controversy in regards to judicial independence. Not once has a senior member of the judiciary levelled such allegations. Even if his allegations are baseless, he still cannot be sacked like any other 3rd class magistrate. Justice Siddiqui holds a constitutional office and can only be removed through the prescribed procedure. With that being so, his allegations need to be seriously taken up and a thorough inquiry as the ISPR has suggested needs to be conducted. If found true, serious action should be taken accordingly, however, if found meritless then strict action in order to set an example should be accorded. A man in such a high position cannot be allowed to raise baseless and frivolous allegations against state institutions. Playing to the gallery is going to cost a lot if that, indeed, was the agenda.
Another angle to scrutinise the turn of events would be to take a holistic view of the transpiring events. On the very same day, Hanif Abbasi was kept waiting till 11 pm at night before a verdict was finally rendered. As a lawyer I can say with the utmost certainty that announcing decisions at 11 pm is highly unusual and not part of everyday practice. It is quite understandable that the judge had a deadline to announce the verdict however, he could have adjourned the case till Monday at the very least rather than keeping the public at bay till almost midnight. Eventually, the PML-N stalwart was handed a life sentence for his involvement in the misuse of ephedrine.
It would be implausible to predict an exact outcome of the polling of the 25th. Imran may be the man in power. Or, like 2013, may once again be left hanging
The Court should have handed him the death sentence if that is what the law envisages, no questioning the merits of the judgement. However, the timing of the decision is extremely unfortunate. Not because of the decision itself. Certainly not because Abbasi was an election candidate. But for the simple reason, that this timing adds fuel to the meagre flames being ignited by the N leaguers. PML-N is in a constant motion to set the narrative that the military establishment is targeting them and is pulling the strings to wipe them out of the elections.
Even illiterates can foresee that the N league is on its way out because of its own corruption and failure to deliver properly. However, the timing of such decisions gives wind to the speculations already being spread by the N league. The very same decision a few days after the elections would have been more plausible. Hanif Abbasi would have had his fair chance to plead before the common man. All speculations would have been put to rest.
This decision coupled with the postponement of the election in his constituency propels the sentiment of a certain class of people into believing that behind the curtain strings are indeed being pulled. No matter how baseless such accusations are, the very purpose they seek to achieve will be fulfilled following such events. The lack of education will compel the common man to accept the tale being fed to them. Politicians are busy doing what they do best. Sell false narratives in order to secure a term in the prestigious halls of parliament. Unfortunately, the people of Pakistan will once again fall prey to the chronicles narrated to them.
Similarly, the media houses are also busy selling political narratives with clear bias towards different sides reflected. The very principle of a journalist is to remain indifferent towards political affiliations and bring forward both the sides to a narrative. Regretfully enough, the Pakistani media is openly biased towards different political parties. Some journalists even pass of remarks which are ill-suited for a reporter.
Not even a single person is willing to focus on the political manifestos of each party. Only the winds will be used for support on the polling day. Winds of change as some would label it. No heed is being paid to the reservations of the senate in the recent days. A number of senators have expressed reservations on the election process eventually terming the same as controversial.
It would be implausible to predict an exact outcome of the polling of the 25th. Imran may be the man in power. Or, like 2013, may once again be left hanging. After all, an air of victory isn’t enough to actually secure one. A hung parliament, Imran’s personal worry, would be harmful to the interests of Pakistan as no one party would be able to make decisions. Be it political engineering, winds of change or ‘Tabdeeli ka saal’ or even a prison cell for the Sharif family one thing is certain, the 2018 election is indeed going to be historic. Certainly for being the second ever democratic transition in the history of Pakistan.
Pakistanis, brace yourselves for a historic election t. More importantly, choose wisely for the next generation, not for the next five years.