Tightening the noose | Pakistan Today

Tightening the noose

  • About time too? 
In the recent times, Pakistan has progressed further in terms of accountability. Or selective accountability, as some would say. Corruption scandals including Ashiana Housing, Paragon and the infamous Panama surfaced in the last year or two. The previous government faced the wrath of accountability ultimately resulting in the fall of their leader and subsequent conviction.
PML-N felt cornered. Discrimination became their battle-cry and outright attacks on state institutions were witnessed. NAB was and continues to be blamed for political victimisation despite it being an independent body. The election year also started with accountability one of the deciding factors. Imran Khan, with his cry for change, used these events to his gain. His party cleverly managed to pursue the demand of accountability and the Avenfield convictions ultimately cemented their win.
PTI received enough political mileage required to enter the corridors of power. The very same corridors they longed to tread upon. So far, the accountability tide has only engulfed PML-N. The PPP kingpin remained out of reach until recently. The money laundering case blew out and the Zardari family found themselves in the midst of it. With the PML-N leadership tucked away for a while, it seems the accountability ship has set sail towards Nawabshah.
With NAB notices issued to Bilawal as well, this theory seems more plausible. Even otherwise it was only a matter of time when the Sindhis felt the heat. After all, decades of ruling the southern province have not yielded any results. The poor people of Sindh remain deprived of food, water, education and medical attention. No progress has been made. The past 10 years, the PPP constantly ruled the province. It is despicable to see that the only headlines Sindh is capable of making after all these years is the hefty amounts of money in a shopkeepers account and the target killings that remained a daily feature.
Corruption was the biggest blame that the PPP government carried with it. The prime ministers, cabinet members and all the leadership remained clouded with accusations of corruption. Some even blame their wipe out in the 2013 elections on these allegations. Somebody had to take notice. The PML-N government obviously wasn’t too bothered about it. On the face of it both these parties exchanged blows every other day however, their core principles coincided and found them to be together on the table. A fact which is evident from their behaviour today. Both parties have joined hands in a bid to counter Imran.
Asif Zardari, known to be a clever and sharp man, never passes any comment without a reason. He’s not the one to lose his cool and burst out on people. Rather, Mr Zardari calculates his moves with precision and due care. Yet, it is a human trait to react irrationally when the noose is tightened and you feel cornered. It’s more like throwing a tantrum.
During General Raheel Sharif’s tenure, we witnessed such a tantrum. Mr Zardari lambasted the military leadership and issued outright provocation. However, in the aftermath of his blasting presser, he went into a self-imposed exile for a considerable period. The most convincing theory was that he felt the heat from the military leadership and felt as if he was being pushed against the wall.
The most convincing theory was that he felt the heat from the military leadership and felt as if he was being pushed against the wall
Something similar was witnessed over the past few days. Zardari sahib burst out on the military leadership in a veiled attack. He was of the opinion that those with a fixed tenure should not dictate how the country should run. He further went on to question the legality of the Chief Justice’s visits to different places including hospitals.
As I said, quite unlike him to randomly attack state institutions. It is either a very calculated move or else the heat is seeping through the visibly cold temperatures. In all probability it is safe to assume the latter though I wouldn’t be surprised of his abilities. After all, despite all allegations throughout his life, the man has managed to become the first democratically elected president of the country to have completed his tenure.
The noose is definitely tightening around the People’s Party. Zardari and his sister continue their court appearances in the cases against them. From what it looks like, the NAB as well as other institutions have set their target and are working round the clock to bring them down. The deprivation that the sindhis have faced needs to be answered. Somebody has to answer for the children of Thar. The injured of the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine bombing still question as to why there wasn’t a medical facility near them.
The democratic privilege of checks and balances needs to be employed and the Sindhis need to be held accountable. I would not take names as it is for a court of law to deicide after perusing the evidence that whether or not a person is guilty of something or not, however it can be safely said that ‘someone’ out there is guilty for the state of affairs in Sindh.
That someone needs to be identified and held accountable. Besides legal proceedings, the leadership ruling the province for the longest time also has to answer for the governance. Faryal Talpur, who has acted as a de-facto head of the province, should answer before the public for the shortcoming in the province. In the past decade, PPP has even failed to merely clean Karachi. Even the law and order situation was controlled pursuant to the action taken by the Rangers. Bad governance and corruption seem to be the only tools employed by the PPP government in the past decade.
With Zardari’s new found tantrums, it seems these questions have already been laid forward and it is only a matter of time when they are made to answer for the same. The very institutions, that Zardari claims he doesn’t want to be weakened, might as well move in against him. The noose is indeed being tightened.