Optimism runs in my blood and I always believed and history bears testimony to the fact that this nation of 160 million has the inherent strength and time-tested resilience to keep itself afloat despite all odds and hostile factors. It is often said that this country had been passing through crisis after crisis ever since its inception in 1947 but it could be said without fear of contradiction that now it was really facing a crisis of serious magnitude, which, God forbid, may ultimately turn this country of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah into a banana republic. At least, this is what the vast majority of people of Pakistan feel.
Every patriotic Pakistani received shock of his life and had utter disappointment over the fruitless outcome of London talks between the top leadership of the coalition partners over the issue of reinstatement of the deposed judges of the superior courts. I still hope and pray that political leadership of the country particularly PML(N) Quaid Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, who has suffered a lot during the last eight years in exile, may display a sense of accommodation and rise above personal and party politics to take the country out of a prolonged period of uncertainty nay paralysis of all sorts. One thing is quite clear that even if the coalition partners manage to overcome their differences over the issue and find a way out, the cracks that have already surfaced would make it difficult to forge a dependable and sustainable relationship.
It is evident that lines are now clearly drawn and given the prevailing situation it seems highly unlikely that the judges’ issue would see a closure in the near future. This is because the PML(N) is not expected to recede further than it did during Islamabad, Dubai and London rounds of talks and had there been any room to go further it would have done so during parleys to keep the coalition intact. Therefore, the issue is likely to persist for an indefinite period prolonging at the same time the period of agony of the people, rendering as day dreams the aspirations of the masses about their progress and development.
Under these circumstances, when all stakeholders and players in the arena have failed to deliver, the only personality that could salvage the situation is, in my considered opinion, the deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary. Though, unfortunately, he has become somewhat controversial on account of various factors yet one thing is fully established that he is a man of vision, courage and has God-gifted qualities to rise above personal comfort or discomfort for the same principles and supremacy of law. The way he said a big ‘No’ on March 9 amply demonstrated that Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary has the guts to withstand pressures of all sorts. It is a fact that while saying no he relayed a strong message across the length and breadth of the country about the need for independence of judiciary, strengthening of the institutions and supremacy of the constitution. Justice Iftikhar has, therefore, carved out immortal position in the chequered history of the country and would serve as a beacon of light for others to believe in rule of law and constitution. In this backdrop, I would suggest that the former Chief Justice should once again muster courage and this time he should say ‘Yes”. By this I mean that for the sake of bringing agonies of the people of Pakistan to an end he may explain his point of view and then announce his disassociation from the controversy for the sake of the nation. It means following the footsteps of Mr Nelson Mandela who displayed rare characteristics of forget and forgive for the greater good of South Africa. That is why he is rightly respected as the most revered, humble and humane personality worldwide. Similarly, the former CJ can carve out an enviable and unmatched position in Pakistan for all times to come by showing flexibility for a greater cause. In that case he would earn far more respect than in case his restoration in one way or the other. I apprehend that some vested interests around him might make it difficult to happen but the former Chief Justice must follow a wiser course and I am sure he would arrive at the same conclusion if he meditates in solitude.
The country has already suffered a lot due to unending controversy and it is the moment to devote time to issues that really matter for the common man. All political parties and players should develop a consensus against politics of victimization and revenge and help promote genuine national reconciliation. This can be done by taking all the national institutions along including the institution of the President. I say so because President Pervez Musharraf has rich, varied and worldwide exposure and experience to help the Government tackle the challenges ahead.
Dear readers! Pakistan is a gift of the Nature and let us rise above every other consideration to take the country forward, which has all the potential to blossom into a fully developed State of the world.
Courtesy: Pakistan Observer, 13/5/2008