The reformer tried sabotage
Although Pakistan’s political history is replete with criminal indiscretions committed by men in power, but the misadventure unfurled by Imran Khan, a self-styled reformer, on April 3 to sabotage the no-confidence motion filed against him by the PDM, was an unprecedented act of skullduggery. The move not only stunned the opposition but also left all those who understood the implications of that ‘Maula Jat’ -like action for the political future of the country, extremely distraught and flabbergasted.
However, the diehard supporters of Imran Khan, hired pseudo-intellectuals and all the carpetbaggers and turncoats who had their vested interests linked to the survival of PTI regime, hailed it as a master stroke and an act of unprecedented bravery by a man who thought differently and acted differently, making him stand out as a rare breed wedded to the cause of changing the society.
One of the hired intellectuals who writes weekly column in a national daily and has been fulfilling his assignment of heaping scorn on the opposition and extolling virtues of his paymaster, while dilating on the rejection of no-confidence motion wrote “His recent innings in parliament has not been any different; the impact was literally inscribed on the faces of his adversaries who all sat there looking unbelievingly at what was unfurling in front of them. So with one stroke he not only dismantled the opposition’s narrative he also garnered further support and strengthened his position.”
Without delving into the narrative that was built to justify this unprecedented action— on which a lot has been already written in the media— I do agree that there is nothing wrong with thinking differently, acting differently and orchestrating a change because societies and nations cannot remain static or stuck into their past. But the question is whether the change for the sake of change or change for the better is a much needed and preferred option. No one in his right mind can differ with the second option.
Change for betterment of the society and the nation cannot occur without respect for the constitution and rule of law. Unfortunately that has been missing for the last seven decades pushing the country off the track. Imran Khan has proved even worse than the previous rulers as far as respect for internationally recognized democratic norms and constitution is concerned. Only fools can give credence to the narrative that change for the better was possible only by thinking differently and acting differently, without being subservient to the constitution and ensuring rule of law in the country. The history of developed nations which are now ruling the world amply proves that contention. We are living in this world and if we want to progress as a nation, destined to earn respect among the comity of nations, we have to adopt the constitutional way of doing things and practicing politics. Disrespect for the constitution and rule of law has been the bane of our socio-economic development.
The nation bewilderingly saw the enactment of thinking differently and acting differently by Imran Khan on April 3. Within two to three minutes the deputy speaker plunged the country into a constitutional and political crisis by giving the ruling on a point of order by the federal law minister. Within minutes, the Prime Minister, in his brief address which was pre-recorded, congratulated the nation and said that he had advised the President for the dissolution of the National Assembly. A minute later a report came that the President had dissolved the National Assembly and asked Imran Khan to remain in office until a new Prime Minister was elected and also initiated a process for installation of the care-taker government and elections in 90 days. The haste with which things happened itself told the story of sinister designs of the PTI government led by Imran Khan and backed and supported by the President.
All the constitutional experts and distinguished lawyers and representative bodies of the legal fraternity immediately condemned the move by Imran Khan as unconstitutional. The Supreme Court which had been keeping an eye on the political developments in the country immediately took suo motu notice of what happened in the National Assembly and issued notices to all the stake-holders. The Supreme Court heard the lawyers of all the concerned parties and even the political leaders for well over three days and finally delivered its verdict on the evening of April 7, declaring the ruling of the deputy speaker as well all the steps taken as a consequence of that ruling to be unconstitutional, restored the national assembly and ordered the speaker to hold the no-confidence proceedings not later than 10.30 am on April 9.
The SC decision, unanimously delivered by a five-member larger bench, has surely changed the course of our political and legal history. It is for the first time that the judiciary has played a true role as protector of the Constitution and blocked the way for any adventurer to pummel the Constitution through his criminal indiscretions to reap political advantage. It is indeed a day of great rejoicing for all those who believe in running the state affairs strictly according to the Constitution and prevalence of rule of law in the country. The judges have surely erased the unenviable history of playing into the hands of the powers that be and chosen the option to stand by the Constitution. The decision is a true reflection of responding to voice of the conscience. The misadventure by Imran Khan has backfired.
I am sure, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan who himself was a staunch believer in the sanctity and ascendency of the constitution, must also have felt elated in his grave that an auspicious beginning has been made to put the country on constitutional path.
Though the Supreme Court decision would discourage any future adventurers from playing with the Constitution, it would not eliminate the culture of political confrontation and polarization that has marred the political landscape of the country. This phenomenon has become even more worrisome since Imran’s advent on the political scene. Instead of accepting the verdict of the apex court he and his party have started throwing flak at the judiciary and also unleashed a smear campaign against the Army. He is also inciting the youth to attack and humiliate the PTI members who switched loyalties during the no-confidence motion. Media has already reported a number of ugly incidents in this regard. We are fast moving towards chaos and anarchy. He is better advised to retract and do politics in accordance with the rules of the game.
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