Monday June 17, 2024

We need Nawabzada Nasrullah

By Azam Khalil
April 23, 2016

The time may have come when Pakistan’s political establishment is in dire need of another Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan to create a congenial atmosphere, not only for the institution of democracy but to instil some semblance of sanity in the various political parties of this country.

At present, the opposition parties and those who are sitting on the fringes present a pathetic picture to the people of this country. The opposition parties are not only fractured, but are also pursuing selfish agendas, which can be very harmful for the future of democracy in Pakistan. The opposition parties should rinse their ranks and try to find someone who has the stature and persuasive abilities of the late Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, so that he or she can play a productive and positive role for the institution of democracy in this country.

The present scenario has indirectly helped the incumbent but incompetent government of the PML-N, which has continued without any sense of direction or purpose. This has only increased the problems of the poor masses of the country, who continue to reel under oppressive laws and the burden of heavy taxation. If a person of the stature of the late Nawabzada emerged from the ranks of the opposition parties, at least they could sing the same tune and present a viable and effective alternative to the current government.

After the Panama leaks, it was expected that both the Sharif brothers would shed the deadwood from their ranks and at least try to present a leaner but effective government to the people of this country. It would have been much better if before leaving for his medical check-up, the prime minister had reshuffled his cabinet to send out a loud message that he meant business and would not tolerate incompetence or ministers whose names have been tainted with allegations of corruption.

However, since not even cosmetic steps were put in place by the prime minister before he left the country, it has become more urgent for the opposition parties to forge a common agenda for taking on the current government through democratic principles.

The ANP could play such a role and try to create a united opposition that will not only check the incumbent government but also provide a viable alternative to it. There are politicians who command a lot of respect because of their integrity and political astuteness and who could play the role of the late Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan.

The claim of the PPP that it will not allow any damage to the institution of democracy now holds no water, because none of them can blame the late Nawabzada of being responsible for doing any damage to the institution of democracy in Pakistan.

On the other hand, every politician is ever-ready to admit the role of Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan in the service of democracy in the country. Therefore, there would be no harm if the PPP, along with parties like the PTI, JUI, ANP, MQM and some others, created a consensus and looked for a solution that would steer the country out of the present political impasse. The sooner this initiative is taken by the politicians, the better it will be for this country and for the institution of democracy.

If there is an inordinate delay and the situation is allowed to deteriorate at its present speed, there is every likelihood that events could snowball and create their own momentum, which would make it all but impossible for anyone to stop another critical blow to democracy in this country. There are so many issues that are slowly overtaking the country. No single force, perhaps not even the army, will then have the capability to arrest the deteriorating situation, which may lead to unforeseen and dangerous consequences for the country.

It is, therefore, hoped that either someone steps forward or the saner elements of various political parties depute this task to any statesman they feel will be able to build a consensus, which will provide a viable alternative for the people of Pakistan.

One hopes that this proposal is taken in the same spirit in which it has been given, and it will be embraced by a wide spectrum of political elements who remain committed to democratic norms and principles.

Since this issue should not be mixed with politics, it would be quite feasible if the honourable justices of the judicial commission were to take up this issue and announce a judgement according to their thinking and wisdom. The government, for its part, should provide all the tools, including a forensic audit, to the judicial commission. That would make it easier for them to adjudicate the matter and a cleaning-up process could begin.

If all of the monetary transactions that have surfaced due to the Panama leaks are justified, then the justices would not hesitate to declare that and the present furore would be put to rest, which would be for the betterment of Pakistan.