Vital issues neglected


Careening towards a precipice

Despite the final verdict on PM Gilani yet to be announced, the PML(N) has initiated protests aimed at removing the prime minister which are to be followed by a march on Islamabad. Meanwhile, Gilani is meeting international delegations and army leadership. The Acting Chief Election Commissioner who is also a senior judge of the SC has declined to take action against Gilani on the ground that this could not be done before the SC’s detailed verdict. This has led critics to maintain that the PML(N) is acting less out of the avowed motive of safeguarding the court’s prestige and more in pursuit of its political agenda of removing the government before the budget session.

Meanwhile the formation of a nine member bench to hear Gilani’s appeal may take longer than being envisaged. The opposition by the PBC and the government to the appointment of two ad hoc judges is likely to array three members of the JCP against the move. With the prime minister’s special assistant on political affairs objecting to the two names on grounds of bias, another dimension has been added to the issue. The parliamentary committee on judges’ appointments would also be divided. This would both deepen and prolong the crisis which has been created after the short order issued by a bench of the SC.

With the PM fully focused on preserving his job, vital issues that need his full attention are likely to remain unattended. These include the ongoing crucial talks with India and moves to iron out Pak-US differences. There are other issues impacting the lives of millions like shortages that need an urgent resolution. In Sindh, blasts targeting ATMs in various cities by a secessionist organisation have created another security issue while there is still no end to the Lyari violence or the killings in Balochistan. The government and the opposition leaders need to realise the dangers posed to the system. They have to find a way out of instead of continuing an eyeball to eyeball confrontation. Everyone in the end needs to abide by the SC’s decision. Meanwhile, the apex court too has to take note of the legal objections raised by prominent lawyers to the short order and reconsider if the removal of the PM is the best way to strengthen the system.