How many more removals to have politicians united for democracy?

By Fawad Hasan

The storm has now receded that started with formation of a joint investigation team probing Panama Papers leak. The final judgment is here. A lesson has been learnt, taught very clearly by the powerful: Act as and be subservient to who holds the reins – whose name cannot be taken publicly – or face the wrath that every single prime minister in this country went through in its 70-year history.

Hailed as the historic verdict, the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif has opened yet another Pandora box for days to come and it will be debated further by the masses, politicians and the media. Many have been exhausted by dancing on the tunes of ‘beagles’ played to celebrate the ‘homegoing’ of a sitting prime minister.

It is puzzling to note that why we are not already fed up of such drama since it was not the first time a PM was denotified, and sent home – actually all were deposed as we know now of the history – and this unshakeable pattern shows Nawaz may not be the last one either. Others will be elected, but sent home packing if they dare think they are the real heads of the government.

Let us first try to critically analyze the glorified ‘efficiency’ of the top court and judges who gave the verdict against a chief executive of the state. Is this just a coincidence that the lionized five-member SC bench which disqualified Nawaz consists of four judges who took oath under the draconian Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) which paved way for a full-fledged military rule?

How come we fail to understand that the same court has in past removed others from holding premiership by blatantly playing with the constitution. (Read history of military intervention in 1958, 1977 and 1999 and SC’s moves to legalise it unabashedly)

If the case against Nawaz and his family was so strong why was his corruption not proved beofe the most powerful court in the country and eventually the Supreme Court had to find a reason in a mere Iqamah, disqualifying him for not showing his receivables worth a few hundred thousand rupees. What happened to the allegation of billions of dollars?

Why a judge of the said bench asked the flag-bearer of deseating-PM-Nawaz movement Imran Khan, as he claims so, to approach the Supreme Court over Panamagate controversy? Is it too hard to connect the dots? Nay, now!

Done and dusted. The damage is done. Democracy has been tainted. We were just short of a few more months to create a record of not getting a PM removed. All hope gone now.

Let us now see another common pattern in removal of governments that are frequent in Pakistan’s short history and that seems like a sole reason why elected representatives are so weak when it comes to fighting against the pressuring boots.

It’s solely the lack of trust in democracy that weakens the political parties, ending their tenure well before the due time. This lacking has turned the political leaders into cowards who then pull each other’s legs to win the favors of the ‘undisputed masters’ of the country.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto undermined Mujeeb ur Rehman on the behest of military rulers to win a coveted seat for himself. Her daughter, Benazir Bhutto, let go off the authority on foreign policy and started an operation in Karachi against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). Then came Nawaz who allied with the ‘cadres’ to overthrow Benazir. Even founder of MQM – who has been facing the wrath for so long now – in his speeches invited the ‘honest generals to take over the country’ and dethrone Asif Ali Zardari, the then president. The self-proclaimed vanguard of democracy, Pakistan Peoples Party, did not lose the chance of cashing out the situation recently and stood against the incumbent government, covertly supporting the establishment to make grounds for the next elections.

Nawaz had a chance to give them a fight but that too has gone now. We are beleaguered again.

It’s a cycle and it will keep on running this way until politicians today realize that they have a common enemy in this struggle that has used them, disposed them off in its fight against democracy. We as a people, and the politicians as our representatives have failed to register this phenomenon as yet. So, dare we ask, how many more overt coups and removals and interim setups to get us united in favor of democracy and against continuous intervention of anti-democratic forces?