The wrath of the state

Bail and re-arrest seems to be carrying the joke too far

Former Punjab CM Ch Pervaiz Elahi seems to be living out a Kafka novel if one is to follow what is happening to him after his arrest. His attest, release on bail, re-arrest, release on bail in that case, and then his third arrest, make it almost seem that the purpose of the whole exercise is not to punish him for any malfeasances or crimes he may committed as Chief Minister, as to keep him in jail, come what may. Ch Pervaiz’s extreme age, 78, and his having been twice Speaker, twice CM, do not count. Indeed, those are the offices he held which enabled the corruption of which he is accused. What should count is his being a citizen of Pakistan. The sort of cat-and-mouse game being played with him does not indicate a desire to prosecute as much as persecute. In a tired reiteration of a much-too-familiar script, the purpose is not so much to bring him to account for his offences, as to make him abjure the Pakistan Tehrik Insaf, which recently made him ts President in exchange for his joining it along with the 10 PML(Q) MPAs at the head of whom Ch Pervaiz became CM with PTI support (and an all-PTI Cabinet).

Ch Pervaiz is living out a nightmare which is used as a threat, that of being arrested in some other case as soon as he gets bail in one, as soon as he leaves that courtroom. He has suffered that Kafka-esque fate often enough for him to feel quite the Sisyphean figure. Camus had delineated the fate of Sisyphus, condemned by the gods to spend a whole day rolling an immense rock up a hill, only for it to roll down at the end of the day, leaving him to perform the task yet again the next day.

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Ch Pervaiz has ruled out deserting the PTI, though there is much speculation that his politics has always depended on his being in good with the authorities, which may make difficult for him to remain in a party with so close an association with the May 9 attacks on military installations. While the magistrate’s court may have overreached itself by acquitting him when he had only applied for bail, it seems inefficient for him to have to obtain bail in various cases one by one, rather than have all cases brought at once, and bail decided at the same time.

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


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