A zero-sum game


A continuance of loss
While the politics and opportunism pounds, the country slips into disarray. The country’s Prime Minister gets convicted and refuses to step down on moral grounds. The leading opposition party starts campaigning against the incumbent and wants him to be out. To set the scores right, the PPP has started to hold the rallies, using government’s exchequer, to show solidarity with its convicted PM and the PML(N) too is using government’s machinery in Punjab to bash the incumbent and to woo the Honourable Supreme Court. Mian sb jumped the gun by calling for the resignation of the PM and the explanation which he and his confidants give is far from being reasonable.
Mian sb fears that his voters would turn against him if he doesn’t take on the PM and to top it all off it’s the paranoia that Imran Khan would score the points before him. Firstly, I agree to the extent that the PM should have stepped down on moral grounds. But if he has decided to relegate the morals then no one has the right to deprive him of his legal right to file an appeal against the constitutional process of disqualification. Secondly, PML(N)’s voter did not leave the party for the principled positions taken by Mian Nawaz Sharif in the past four years, the one that exposed him to the criticism of being a friendly opposition.
The PML(N) was hailed for its pro democracy stance it took so far. In my humble opinion, Mian Nawaz Sharif is being ill-advised over the issue of PM’s disqualification. Mian Nawaz Sharif is a veteran politician and knows more than I that morality has very little or, at times, no role to play in power politics. I think Mian sb very conveniently forgot that embracing PML(Q)’s unification block had no legal and moral justification at all. Taking Musharaff’s old aide Ameer Muqam had no moral justification. Making Saba Sadiq, an MPA, defect from PML(Q) to PML(N) had no legal and moral justification. Signing a historic electoral alliance with PML(Like Minded), which has no legal status, had no legal or moral justification.
All of this has no moral justification but it is politically justified. Mian Nawaz Sharif, being a national Leader, should realise that we are plagued with the issues of governance, energy, foreign policy, poverty, illiteracy and the rest of all. The energies should be spent on addressing these issues rather than on rallies and jalsas. Moreover, there is no need to side with the Superior Judiciary as it gives the impression that PML(N) cannot do politics without having a nexus with any of the institutions. Mian sb should be mindful of the fact that earlier it was GHQ and that it should not be the Supreme Court this time.
Truth be told, it’s not only these political parties who are doing the damage but it’s people amongst us, who have somehow become the bastions of righteousness in this country. I am referring to the learned and prudent commentators who have developed their writing and analytical skills over decades but who have miserably failed to learn to extricate emotions from facts and facts from wishes. Immediately after the short order against the PM and when the detailed verdict was released by the Honourable Supreme Court, these commentators were writing their opinion pieces as if they had the best jurisprudential knowledge to understand the operative part of the short order and the detailed verdict. As the order was announced, these pundits started saying in their orgasmic mono tones that the PM stood disqualified hence he could not retain the office. I am no apologist for the PM and neither do I defend him for his government’s dismal performance on many issues but what puts me at rage is as to how can we have a right to form or manipulate people’s opinion when we can’t narrate a simple and unambiguous fact.
I was categorically told that your opinion on this matter is utterly wrong and ill founded. I sniggered in my heart every time because those who said this to me had never spent a day in a law school. I so wished that somehow God Almighty vindicates me on this principled position I had taken as a student of law and at the very formative stage of career as a TV journalist. I can say it with humility that I stand vindicated on this issue so far. In a reply to a petition filed for Mr Gilani’s disqualification at Islamabad High Court, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui observed that the Honourable Supreme Court has not disqualified Mr Gilani in the contempt of court case. It was further added that the matter has been referred by the Supreme Court to other constitutional forums. This observation has left many hawks disappointed who once screamed over the rooftops that the PM was disqualified. I humbly suggest that they shouldn’t turn their guns blazing without having the right information as to who to shoot at. I urge the commentators to filter wishes from the facts. I urge the political leaders not to confuse power politics with legal and constitutional propositions. I urge them not to bring morality into politics as it has some really tough prerequisites to fulfill. I urge everyone not to make it a zero-sum game for all.
The writer hosts a prime time talk show. He can be contacted at [email protected]


  1. Mr Muneeb Farooq, admittedly your know-how in law, though you consider yourself a student, is more than enough and the veteran commentators who jump at the conclusion with a bound, without having any second thought, fail to make out the intricacies of low but, sir, one thing you too have forgotten to focus… it is not the issue that the Apex Court has not disqualified PM but merely convicted him. You, with all your 'humble' knowledge has consented that he is convicted and, please let us know if a convicted can hold the office in the government.

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