Money, lies, video tapes and real estate. Facts, speculation and incomplete evidence. This drama has it all – actors, a stage, audience and a purpose. The same theatre, over the past couple of years, has seen a prime minister plus his minister and a dozen other nerve-wracking dramas. Stakes, this time around, are higher than the Himalayas – trillions of rupees, the longevity of a ruling coalition or the monopoly over terror of the deep state.
There are at least five facts. One: there are powerful, powerful interests out there dying to malign the Chief Justice of Pakistan. Two: a scripted drama revolving around two central characters – Arsalan Chaudhry and Malik Riaz – is being played out. Three: one of the central characters happens to be the son of the sitting chief justice of Pakistan. Four: there hasn’t been a single allegation – not one – against the person of the CJ. Five: there is no public money involved (at least no so far).
Next; a whole host of ‘messages expressing opinions based on incomplete evidence’ are echoing all around the theatre. There is speculation that those powerful, powerful interests are being successful in their evil designs – at least partially successful. There is speculation that the drama is being played out based on a pre-written script. There is speculation about who the real authors of the script are – civilian, uniformed or a joint venture (the Arsalan-Riaz engagement allegedly began in 2010 while the ‘missing persons case’ is only a year old).
The two things that are missing from this drama are dance and music. The real purpose of the script must have been to bring down the CJ on his knees making forces that are bent upon remaining above the law dance to the beat of their bank accounts. But there is neither dance nor music because real life stagecraft is a social science and in social sciences there exists the ‘theory of unintended consequences’.
Unintended consequences in this drama can be of two types. One: a windfall that wasn’t even expected by the script writer(s). Two: a “perverse effect contrary to what was originally intended” by the author(s). For example, the CJ becoming even more aggressive after this drama.
First sons have always been protected by our presidents and prime ministers. This is a first – history in the making. Shakespeare said, “It is a wise father that knows his own child.” An unwise father? Perhaps. An unwise judge? Not a hint of that – not so far.
There are three players on the stage – political parties, the judiciary and the GHQs. On a stage where political parties stand discredited, a tarnished judiciary will make the GHQs even more powerful – and that may or may not have been the intention of the script writer(s).
The king cobra of our real estate cobras has played his king. Is there someone who has an ace? Remember; the authors of the script are still holding back cards that they haven’t shown.
Who will eventually sing: “I fall and I rise, with the fire still in my eyes; My scars and my stripes, You know I will survive; The strength that I find when I dig down deep inside; Got me still in this fight, and I’ll be the last man standing.”
The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org