Good and bad news?


Waheed Hussain

Day in day out, the crisis remains on the political horizon of Pakistan. I wish I could have been writing about the establishment of new industrial zones, local and foreign investment in the advance Information Technology or other sectors, creation of jobs, increase in exports, demand for the Pakistani products in the foreign markets, end to budget and current account deficit, no more loans and finally saying goodbye to IMF.

But dear, it’s unfortunately not happening in our country in the coming days and months. Such good news is still far away from us, we will continue reporting-analyzing the bad news.

Bad news is that the Supreme Court of Pakistan is divided, unable to implement its orders regarding the elections in the two provinces within the 90 days deadline given in the constitution, which has already expired. Honorable judges of the supreme court had been moving into different directions on the issue of article 184 (3) jurisdiction of Suo Moto regarding decision on the Punjab and KPK elections, as four judges of the supreme court had recorded dissenting note which the government’s legal team claim as 4/3 judgement/decision.

On issue of Suo Moto and formation of benches in Supreme Court, the government has passed a Supreme Court of Pakistan Practice and Procedural Act 2023, with the view that Suo Moto and supreme court benches formation powers should not be exercised by a single judge (Honorable Chief Justice) rather be decided by three senior most judges’ committee headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan. The implementation of the new legislation is stopped by an 8-memebr larger bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice under the review jurisdiction. The address of Justice Qazi Faiz Essa in the National Assembly was taken as a surprise by many as the judges are supposed to avoid such political gatherings they always speak through their judgements.

On the other hand, the PDM government, particularly the PML (N) bitterly criticized the Chief Justice of Pakistan Umer Atta Bandial and some other judges for favoring PTI chairman Imran Khan. The phrase “good to see you” is being regularly used by the Nawaz League leadership on all public platforms to castigate and taunt the CJP and his other like minded colleagues.

There is a background to PML (N) bitterness about judges who served in the past and some of them are still sitting in the superior judiciary. Former PM Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryum Nawaz were punished to keep them out of the 2018 elections process and give free hand to Imran Khan who became the prime minister. The PML (N) leadership believes that there was a preconceived plan by some powerful people in the country who used the judiciary against Nawaz Sharif and his daughter in 2018. With this mindset the present government has launched an open confrontation with the Judiciary, bringing them under pressure to delay the elections and get relief for Nawaz Sharif. Recently, the government has passed a review law to end the lifelong disqualification of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. One thing must be brought on the record that Nawaz was sidelined by certain forces for personal reasons. Lifelong disqualification is unjustified, he must be given a chance to play a role in parliamentary politics. The fight between the Government and the superior Judiciary is less for rule of law and more for personal interests and inner satisfaction.

The bad news is the government has refused to hold talks with Imran. As the PM Shahbaz and his cabinet ministers knew that Imran Khan is in great trouble after May 9 violent protests by his party workers and leaders, dozens have left him and hundreds of others in the pipeline to disconnect with Khan. The irony of the situation is that in the recent past Khan has been refusing to speak with PDM leadership declaring them thieves and dacoits. So, the message is very clear that there will be no talks, but just a fight.

The bad news is that Imran is still in the mood to fight with the establishment. The leaders take decisions, the next step, according to the circumstances or situation, Imran does not want to learn anything from his past conduct and approach, he wants to clash-fight-and keep on blaming others for his miseries and failures.

The bad news is that political instability is continuously damaging the economy. Our political and other powerful players have made mockery of themselves. They don’t want to learn from the past. The country total debts are over 68 thousand billions rupees, every day the government adds to loans, IMF is reluctant to release further loans, industries are being shut down, millions losing jobs, energy crisis still there, government owned organizations like PIA-Railways bleeding, people are leaving the country, the brain-drain, resources and money is being shifted to other countries for better future, in short the nation is disappointed and confused.

What might have been the circumstances, the honorable Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahbaz Sharif, known as a good administrator and efficient politician, unluckily could not deliver. The Finance Minister Senator Ishaq has been struggling to manage the economy. In short, if we really want good news to come we must bring a permanent stable government after holding free and transparent elections providing all political parties and leaders an equal opportunity.