- Imran Khan beating democracy out of shape
Unlike medieval monarchs, a prime minster in a modern democracy is not supposed to take decisions on whims. To start with, the PM’s freedom to act is constrained by the country’s constitution, laws and precedents. What is more he is required to give weight to the opinion of experts who run the complicated systems of today that include communication, water and power and gas networks. In matters related to law he has to consult the law department. Imran Khan had castigated Nawaz Sharif for acting like a king. Once in power, Khan too is behaving like a despot.
Two recent cases show Imran Khan cares tuppence for the advice of the committees he has himself constituted in case this happens to be against his inclinations.
When gas shortages started the government asked Ogra to pinpoint the officials who were responsible. Ogra told the cabinet that no single individual could be blamed for what was happening. A dissatisfied Khan ordered a fresh enquiry by Secretary Petroleum. To Khan’s chagrin he too concluded that given the supply and demand gap, shortages were bound to take place. Khan rejected the second report also and ordered the dismissal of the MDs of the two Sui Gas companies.
Expressing surprise at the cabinet decision to put 172 names on the ECL including Bilawal Bhutto and Sindh CM, the SC ordered the cabinet to review its decision. Instead of complying Khan referred the matter to a special committee of the interior ministry. To Imran Khan’s chagrin the committee recommended the removal of 20 names from the ECL. An irate PM rejected the committee’s report and appointed another committee comprising loyalists. Meanwhile action on the apex court’s decision was delayed on the excuse that a written verdict had yet not been received. It was given out that even after receiving the verdict, the government might challenge it. Defying SC is something unheard of in a democracy.
This has led some to conclude that Imran Khan must have been directed by some higher entity which does not entertain appeals against its orders to let Shahbaz Sharif be elected chairman PAC, a decision that Khan was most unwilling to take but then suddenly yielded.