May 052008

The Great Decision has been taken. By May 12, we should be privileged and blessed. No, the Millennium has not arrived, but the judges will be restored. And with the help of a committee which has as one of its prominent members Abdul Hafeez Pirzada. It all rests now with Pirzada. If anyone can prevent the President from being unduly embarrassed, it is Pirazada, and not Sharifuddin this time. If the President does not escape embarrassment, and Iftikhar comes back, then Pirzada has not been worth all the fees he has been paid over the years. But if he returns despite Pirzada, then the President will have to think very hard how to preserve himself from harm. Such as a stay order by the Supreme Court as it is, whose judges are to remain as they are. After all, there must be no interference by the judiciary in the work of the executive. And the executive heartily endorses this, so it will follow the President, and only the President, in whatever step he chooses to take. After all, there is a War On Terror to be fought. And not just us, but especially the American administration, must ask how much has Chief Justice Iftikhar been helpful in the War? Apart from taking suo motu action about disappeared people who have actually been arrested, and needlessly pointing out that this is against the law, and getting (well, threatening to get) the heads of agencies in Court, how has he helped? If one contrasts this with the clear action taken by the President, in allowing everything, even the killing by Americans of Pakistani citizens on Pakistani soil, there is no comparison.
Another point which seems to have escaped general notice has been the prices of—well, everything. How many people think that the restoration of the judges will lead to a reduction in load-shedding? Or a reduction in the price of petrol? Even at the next ‘fix’ by OGRA, around the middle of the month? Or at the end of the month? Or ever? Or does anyone feel that the courts will suddenly start dispensing cheap and true justice? Then there is the chance that the President might feel embarrassed, because the judges he removed so many months ago, returned to office? He might feel embarrassed enough to leave office, which we know will prove disastrous to the continued killing of Pakistani citizens on Pakistani soil, which has become an essential component of the War On Terror. So he must never be allowed to leave the Presidency, at least not for a bunch of judges who have never played any role in the defence of the country. The PPP should not think it can only depend on the PML-N if it wants to form the government. There is the PML-Q, which is always loitering around when it is within sniffing distance of a ministry, like these days. So stop speculating how the Q was least interested in a deal between the PPP and the PML(N) on the judges, and just imagine the fun it will have when the N ministries are inherited by it to be shared out among the much smaller parliamentary party. They will not only pray hard for the War On Terror, but invite the Americans to kill as many Pakistanis as they want, preferably, but not necessarily, on Pakistani soil. After all, they have to prove their spy chief right, who accused Pakistan of being behind the attack on President Karzai. Maybe they’re right, because no Pakistani has replied that if it had been our operation, we would have got him. Instead, we’re busy making sure that Sarabjit doesn’t die, even though his family has gone back to India, presumably with the compulsory watercooler. One can just imagine them going back and saying, “well, we didn’t bring back Sarabjit, but we got the watercooler you recommended.” As a matter of fact, there is a tectonic shift taking place in the cooling market. As people turn away from window-type air-conditioners, they are also turning back to the good old-fashioned watercooler. This, apart from their ever-present burden because of the judges. It does seem that the people of Pakistan were as devoted to every single twist and turn of the judges’ issue as if it was an Indo-Pak one-day final.
What does seem to have been played as a one-day final is the clash at Dyal Singh College. Dyal Singh College has gained more fame after Partition than before, when it was just another Khalsa College, as the headquarters of the MSF. The MSF is, if possible, even more opportunistic than the PML-Q, and all those have entered it who see their ideal as Kh Saad Rafiq, who is now a central minister, and who do not see a place for themselves either in the IJT or the PSF. In short, when they are short on ideology, but long on hormones. From the MSF, they land up in some criminal activity or the other, and are usually ended in some police encounter. This has been the first students firing in so long a time that I don’t remember when last it happened. Maybe in the time of the unions, which were banned just over 20 years ago, in the first Nawaz ministry. The latest violence took place after the ban on unions was lifted. Or rather the lifting announced, as it was before. So someone out there doesn’t want the ban lifted, just as the judges mustn’t be restored. Or else we will cause somebody embarrassment abroad, where it matters, but it doesn’t matter at all at home, where only we Pakistanis are watching, who do not understand the intricacies of our image abroad.

Source: The Nation, 5/5/2008

 Posted by at 6:40 am

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