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Top Story

August 14, 2017



NY Times’ caricature: inappropriate depiction

Is Pakistan better off today than it was before the judgment of the Supreme Court disqualifying the prime minister? The answer is not in the affirmative when going through the news and views appearing in the international and domestic media. The resultant political uncertainty in the country is testimony to the fact that all is not well and worse may come if the political leadership remained entangled in war of words. The New York Times’ caricature published on 7th of this month grotesquely portraying the terrified Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi holding the placard of bitterly bruised democracy while standing in front of a monster that is holding the seat of government in its jaws ready to crush it into pieces. It was the worst representation of the abstract art almost closer to the plausibility of the conspiracy theory. Seeing is believing as how the highly respected media organisation is carried away by the political developments taking place in this country. Some of those who saw the NY Times caricature have criticised it. 

Also, the photograph released to the newspapers by the Prime Minister House, by design or default, of a meeting reinforces the perception of who is de jure and who is de fecto. The body language is so suggestive. The poor professional judgment, if so, should have not come down this time around.

The coverage of the Supreme Court judgment in the international media was hugely overshadowed by the alleged footprints of the establishment in the proceedings of the high profile case. The facts of the matter may not be so. There was disproportionate mention of the fact that the disqualification of the prime minister was effected as a result of the apex court judgment after the due process of law. But the international opinion as reflected in the multiple media was in a state of disbelieve clamouring the judiciary could not take such an unexpected and ‘disproportionate to justice’ decision without the tacit endorsement of the security establishment. The inclusion of a few institutions in JIT gave credence to the perception. 

Unfortunately, the political instability triggered in the aftermath of the disqualification may further polarize the political environment allegorical to an absurd house. The anti-democratic forces must be watching the brewing political crisis as an opportunity to assume the central stage in the political arena. The forces of extremism and terrorism will be jumping out of skin for joy over the emerging scenario in Pakistan. Majority of politicians are strengthening our enemies at our expense by indulging in infighting stoked by insatiable desire to impose self-righteousness caring less to the dynamics of functioning democracy. The economy also cannot remain unscathed from the spiral of downside of the political situation. The stock exchange has already crashed incurring billions of rupees loss to the country’s economy which was already not in a very good state of health.

Who is responsible for bedeviling the country? The answer may be found in identifying the elements that brought the country to the brink of mayhem. Economic development cannot be attained without political stability as they are intimately interlinked. The resultant political instability in the country may slow down the wheels of the economy despite the resolve of the new prime minister not to let the economy to be eclipsed due to the aftermaths of the judgment. But, the state of affairs may surface beyond his control to the glee of the adversaries. How torturous and painful for the people of this country indeed? We are falling prey to our enemies by throwing ourselves before them, attributed to our back to back blunders. It is mind blowing that the country is at the mercy of such echelon of leaders, administrators and guardians who have neither the road map nor the requisite commitment or vision to lead the nation to salvation. However, their quest for power is egregiously limitless.

The disqualified prime minister is on war path against the judiciary that may result in clash of state institutions drawing the state paralysis type closer. This will be loss-loss situation for all. This road leads to destruction without a shroud of doubt and therefore should be avoided keeping in view the vital interests of the federation. It is surprisingly shocking that the PML-N leadership had been consistently making statements that it would accept the verdict of the apex court, and now their opposition and mass protest were beyond comprehension. It may leave it to the history to judge the judgment. Instead of taking umbrage, the PML-N leaders may move on in saving the country’s political system and thus frustrate the designs of the enemy of democracy and the Constitution. For that it may reach out to the other political forces for “grand dialogue” as stated during the meeting with media personalities in Islamabad recently.

There is ray of hope out of the dark clouds as the deposed prime minister in his statements has underscored the importance of the reiteration to the “Charter of Democracy” to get the country out of the crisis on sustainable basis. He felt the necessity of (COD) when out of power but did not care when he was in power, as stated by Chairman Bilawal Bhutto. His confession of his party’s role in dismissing the PPP government led by Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani is the manifestation of his learning lesson the hard way that may embolden the democratic forces to forget and forgive him to bulwark the anti-democratic forces advance to assume the reign of the country by hook or crook. The PML-N may take bold political initiative after atoning the past mistakes and have a fresh look to defuse the volatile political situation because democracy and the future of the country are at stake. The PML-N may first get out of the myth of invincibility and indispensability and reach out to other political forces while considering it as at the receiving end. Time is the essence.

Two major political parties have been at loggerheads with each other, and are hell bent to sort out the political opponents to the end to the utter disregard of the democratic ethos. The PPP has emerged as a matured party because its leadership never attacked the political opponents below the accepted standards of democratic politics. Its opponents and media also appreciate this singular trait of the PPP. Political opponents’ provocative statements and speeches have failed to provoke PPP leaders to return the compliments in equal measure. It is not surprising because its leadership understands the dangers involved in picking up the fight with novice politicians. One may reject their common sense because the path they are treading on will surely lead to their political redundancy. Yet their unsavory yelling on each other only exhibits their naivety that does not allow them to see beyond their nose. They are only focused to short term gains totally oblivious of the inevitable long term pains. They are giving the benefit of doubt to their pursuit while the history of the country is filled with the lamentable consequences of such political strategies using as cat paw to climb up to grab seat of power. May God help this nation to get rid of this breed because the country and the nation have enough of this type?

Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani’s initiative of inviting the top leadership of the state institutions for dialogue should be welcomed that may help in tackling the internal and external challenges facing the country. The frank and candid discussions may facilitate the nation to get out of the vicious cycle of instability and uncertainty. His thoughtful move of bringing the top representatives face to face to formulate a sort of code of conduct for the smooth functioning of the all the state institutions within the ambit of the Constitution, is commendable. The forum will provide an excellent opportunity to express their reservations and suggestions those may facilitate in removing the boulders lying across the road to circumvent the national progress, prosperity and stability. The direct interaction may address the prevailing mistrust and the apprehensions among the institutions that are directly responsible for one step forward and two steps backward in the process of national development. Dialogue is the only way forward as disengagement is self-defeating that breeds mistrust and misunderstandings. 

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The writer is Head of PPP Media Cell.