Pakistan, as a society, is on the brink of collapse. There has never been a time in the history of this young nation that beckoned for a rethinking of how things are done and dealt with.
After almost a decade of dictatorship under General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan finally saw the return of democracy. Shaky at first, the democratic setup has nevertheless proven to be resilient for most of its part.
Politics in Pakistan is never boring; and perhaps so, we saw the first democratically elected prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gillani, to be convicted of contempt by the Supreme Court and sent packing from office. In fact, Pakistan’s Supreme Court is perhaps the only international court to have managed to disqualify and dismiss a serving premier. The prime minister was dismissed following his refusal to follow the court’s order to write a certain letter to the Swiss authorities – a letter that could potentially be harmful to the career of the incumbent president, Asif Ali Zardari (leader of Pakistan People’s Party, the PPP). Before his dismissal, Gillani had managed to become the country’s longest serving prime minister with a tenure of 45 months.
On August 8, the court issued a show-cause notice to Gillani’s successor, Raja Parvez Ashraf, to appear before court and enlighten the court why writing a simple letter – asking the authorities in Switzerland to reopen multimillion dollar corruption probes into Zardari – is so unworthy of the executive office. The court would commence the hearing on 27 August 2012 where Ashraf holds to suffer the same fate as his predecessor.
In this jostling of the executive and the judiciary, the parliament drafted a resolution called the Contempt of Court Act (COCA) 2012 that apparently extended immunity to the prime minister from any contempt of court proceeding thenceforth. The act was later nullified and declared void by a five-member bench at the Supreme Court declaring the right of the court to hold anyone in contempt, regardless of their office and designation.
Thus, it turns out that a single man’s adamant attempts at hiding his corruption might just be the last nail in the coffin for the democratic setup that a whole nation fought for. Not only has this issue given rise to tensions between the judiciary, legislature and the executive office, it has also brought other state institutions such as the armed forces into the mix.
For the People, By the People; Fuck the People
The people now feel betrayed by Zardari’s vain attempts and cannot wait for the man to leave office or be escorted out by any mean. Let the man take his money as well; I don’t care if he has a motherload of loot in his Swiss account. I am only distraught at how this single individual managed to corrupt the very essence, idea and meaning of democracy. You have to understand that democracy is very much a concept that is still not fully understood in Pakistan. It irks me to hear the common man speak ill of democracy and prefer dictatorship over it.
People have begun to associate democracy to a system governed by a growing number of corrupt elites in the government – both in the ruling parties and those in the opposition. And it comes as no surprise that corruption in all its forms has begun to take shape as the leading issue as the elections approach next year. Politicians are all the more merry to chuck dirt over their competitors in the political arena and the national media stands to gain from the spectacle. People however are paying the price for the lack of concern politicians have towards fixing problems at the grassroot levels.