Reflections and Lessons

Reflections and Lessons
PTI Chief Imran Khan’s decision to postpone the lockdown of federal capital Islamabad on November 2 is a welcome step. The Supreme Court of Pakistan earlier gave PTI the much needed face-saving and the government a respite today after it asked the councils of the two parties to submit TORs for the formation of the commission before November 3 or else it will decide on them itself. The nation at large will also find itself at ease at last as the final outcome of PTI’s stubbornness to hold and the government’s strong resolve to stop the Dharna could be devastating for economy and democracy in the country.
Now that tension has subsided for the time being and the law is likely to take its course, there should be a reflection on what was being, and what needs to be, done for the last few weeks. That the Panama Leaks issue and corruption needed to have been addressed earnestly, quickly and comprehensively, no one could deny. A wayout between the opposing viewpoints of the government and opposition on the TORs and modalities of the investigation for the purpose would have been possible if there had been a genuine desire to do that. Unfortunately, the government opted for delaying tactics while the opposition wanted to make it PM-specific which was both immoral and unjust. The important issue of fighting, investigating and eradicating corruption justly and fairly was thus forgotten and made into an issue to settle scores against one’s political opponent (s).
And while the PM and his government could have enacted legislation and sent its own TORs for the commission or written again to the CJP to expedite the process for the formation of the commission, it played its own part in vitiating the political atmosphere by unleashing its media tigers on the equally resolute PTI leadership which had decided to hold a dharna in Islamabad neglecting the security threats facing the country as well as the norms of genuine democratic political struggle
The political leadership of the country will do extreme good to the country’s stability, prosperity and future if it decides to take care of a few principles. One, democracy demands more restraint, respect and sobriety when it comes to human rights. Two, there should be no more repetition of any unsubstantiated accusations. Three, no person can be punished or condemned unless proven guilty. Fourth, no one can be allowed to become an accuser and judge himself. Fifth, in a polity and democracy, it is the judiciary and not street power that is the ultimate third umpire between a plaintiff and an accused. Sixth, decisions of the judiciary must be respected even if it is against one’s expectations. Seventh, democratic forces need to talk in parliament and media and never take to dharnas for a few years to come.
TAHIR ALI

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