An unfortunate focus

It’s not as if the country has no worries but one man’s being arrested

The drama on Tuesday at Lahore’s Zaman Park was probably avoidable. Perhaps more relevant is the fact it proved a needless distraction from the very many problems that Pakistan faces. The after-effects of record floods have been pushed into the background by the economic crisis, which has been worsened by the collapse of the rupee and the continuing of the inflationary spiral, with a global recession about to compound problems already made worse by the failure to negotiate resumption of the IMF package. Then there is the political crisis, with a polarized society, and partisan rivalry at its height. In the midst of all this, the nation is held hostage with all television channels blazing the struggle of PTI chief Imran Khan not to be arrested.

The most regrettable aspect of the whole affair is that it could have easily been avoided, if Mr Khan had followed the example of all political leaders and workers before him, of being arrested. The example of this opponents of his arrested when he was PM was different: they went tamely enough, and were released only when they obtained bail from the courts. It may be noted that while none were brought to trial, his arrest has been ordered by a court, where he has been avoiding appearance. It should not be forgotten that, is his cricketing days, he initiated the concept of neutral umpires, obviously because as a bowler his appeals were unfairly turned down by home team umpires. However, he never disagreed with such decisions.

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Mr Khan has found the judiciary bending over backwards to accommodate him, to the extent that the PML(N) has begun accusing some of its members of partiality. Mr Khan may be dealt with scurvily, but his refusal to accept court orders is a defiance he cannot expect to be ignored. He may not have realized it, but by refusing to accede to an arrest that is court-ordered, he is weakening those superior courts he is looking towards. It said that the accused is the law’s favourite child. However, to reach that status, it is necessary to become an accused; to be taken into custody. Mr Khan should remember that many others have been down that path before. He should also take heart from the fact that all (except one, who was executed) survived, several to make a political return.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]


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