Former Prime Minister of this Republic, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, has been disqualified by the current de facto Supreme Court of Pakistan. Along with him the axe has fallen on his younger brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, held by many to be the best ruler Punjab has seen since the good ol’ Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Here in Islamabad, spontaneous protests have broken out. This could only mean more political instability for a country already at war. The ruling came on the basis of a 1999 conviction made by Judges ruling under the Provisional Constitutional Order then.
Frankly I am stumped. I thought the PPP government and President Zardari were more astute than this. By allowing this to go through, they have called forth a flood vis a vis the Lawyer’s Movement and this time around it would be the civilian government of liberal and democratic PPP intead of the Military regime. I wonder who will gain from this ? My guess is that Pakistan’s entrenched establishment is the clear winner in this situation. Somehow or the other they have convinced Zardari to shoot himself in the foot and Zardari now increasingly looks like Iskandar Mira re-born.
Where will the country head now? Direct military rule? Probably not. But if PPP’s constitutional civilian government gets swept away, thanks to the lack of statesmanship shown by Zardari in whom we had placed our hopes, Pakistan might not be able to muster the will to fight back. It remains an open question – and I ask this question as a Punjabi – why leaders- prime ministers to boot- of smaller provinces, can be shot, killed, hanged and things are swept under the carpet but when a Punjabi ex-PM- who it must be remembered was a product and a gift of military dictatorship- gets disqualified, the whole country is brought to its knees.