Saturday March 02, 2024

The wrath of blood

April 28, 2023

It is difficult to make much sense of what is happening around us within the precincts of logic and reason. But not only is this enactment of desertion and desecration of human conscience unfurling with monotonous rapidity, it is also becoming increasingly macabre and loathsome. Apparently, no remedy is visible regarding how to arrest this perpetual bartering of values and principles on which the pillars of a nation should rest.

The moral degradation of society can be gauged from the fact that the news that finds most currency and comment relate to video and audio leaks, stocks of which are, self-confessedly, available with a certain key leader of a political party who also keeps threatening to release them whenever such a need may arise.

But we understand that there are other sources of both recording and making public of such despicable vehicles for coercion and exploitation involving those who may dare disagree with the commands of the powerful and \influential. Deep fake is the mechanism usually employed to put together a verily incriminating enactment that would shame people to the point of docile submission before the traditional centres of power and their varying cohorts in the country.

The unfathomable corruption of leaders of all dimensions and descriptions is apparent from boundless piles of pelf deposited in safe havens and countless palatial properties spread throughout the world. The one who enquires about the sources of such assets is immediately dubbed an agent of crime and the one who persists in pursuit of truth is hunted through the use of all draconian instruments of the state. This happens while the justice system – bruised, battered and divided at the hands of actors within its fold as well as those outside –remains in deep slumber.

After all, we nurture a tradition where our political leaders have successfully bought entire courts by dispatching briefcases stacked with goodies of the most current form in amounts that would make many mouths water. And if the matter would remain unresolved, goons were let loose by political parties to attack the apex court. In the current times, the judiciary is faced with a monumental constitutional challenge. A decision thereof may either prove to be a panacea for its past crimes, or it may add to its bloated bag of unsavoury derelictions not limited to the enactment of doctrine of necessity alone.

Virtually all other institutions vested with powers to bear multifaceted responsibilities of a functional state look more like the debris of what they should be, and how they should be operating. Highly politicized and partisan, they have made a sordid mess of their responsibilities and mostly act in fulfilment of the commands addressed to them which are self-serving in the context of financial gratifications and advancement of career prospects. Beyond that, their minds are rendered numb, and their characters compromised irremediably. It is Macbeth who moans: “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood/ Clean from my hand?”

Soiled in crime and corruption, the institutional mass trudges along, completely oblivious of the countless times they have deserted their tasks to serve personal myopic interests and those of their superiors. In the process, they have inflicted gruesome damage upon the state, its hapless people and their inalienable interests which are tied with timely, efficient and honest delivery of tasks assigned to these institutions.

Notwithstanding the good intentions which filtered through the early protestations of the apex court, it appears that it has since digressed from the constitutional path and has instead opted for a role to forge consensus among political players regarding when to hold elections to a dissolved provincial assembly – a task which is clearly mandated in the constitution and which it is the core responsibility of the judiciary to execute. Instead, it has inordinately delayed its adjudication in the matter and given unnecessary time to the ruling political parties to come to an understanding with the opposition.

It would not be out of place to mention here that all the parties in the ruling concoction have already announced their combined resolve that, irrespective of judicial orders and commands, they will not hold elections either on a date which is stipulated in the constitution, or May 14 which has been ordered by the court. Instead, they want to do so if and when it would suit their own interests.

Furthermore, they have already displayed open defiance to the court injunction and have even launched a vituperative campaign against it and its judges to tarnish their characters, thus their ability to be part of the bench to adjudicate. Is the court not aware why the incumbent criminal cabal does not want the elections to be held anytime soon? It is no Hobson’s choice that the court cannot fathom. So, in an act reflecting weakness, why is it intent on giving them time to create more uncertainties about the prospect of elections?

Upon the reconvening of the court on April 27, any further time allowed to the government for building consensus with the opposition would not only be a violation of the constitution; it will irremediably tarnish whatever credibility the judiciary may still be left with, as also its moral fibre to command respect.

The country has been virtually turned into a slaughterhouse with everything lined up to be culled – be it its moral mass, the credibility of its parliament to legislate, the transparency of its judiciary to adjudicate, and the character and resolve of its institutions vested with the powers and responsibility to administer. It has all been meshed into an unmanageable and sticky pulp which is tarnishing the state’s credentials with every day that escapes the espousal of a remedial plan to put it back on course.

The downhill avalanche is gaining in speed and the destructive mass that it carries with it will likely wash away everything that comes in its way. A befitting denouement it will be for the horrible mess that we have so laboriously piled up over decades by becoming victims of elevating personal advancement to an unassailable position at the helm, dictating policies and priorities for the state to follow in preference to its own intrinsic and inviolable interests.

The wrath of blood is upon us. Deceit, deception and an infatuation with crime and corruption make for damnation that we are wreaking upon ourselves. There is no easy cure. It is a long haul. The challenge is where to begin and how to escape the monstrous consequences of our gruesome failures and unabating indulgences. Having gravely damaged our credentials and compromised our intentions, we appear ill-equipped and ill-prepared to combat this all-consuming onslaught: “I am faint, my gashes cry for help”!

The writer is a political andsecurity strategist, former

special assistant to former PM Imran Khan, and currently a

fellow at King’s College London. He tweets @RaoofHasan