When politicians lose moral high ground


Media trials and the public opinion

When mainstream leaders take recourse to constitutional immunity to dodge  accountability, they lose moral  high ground  even if they  get away with the excuse. Accusations by political opponents or media trial by governments, both civil and  military,  did not hurt the PPP’s standing with the common man as much as  did the posture that Zardari  could not to be made to appear in a Swiss court because  this amounted to demeaning the President  of Pakistan or because Zardari enjoyed constitutional immunity. Yousuf Raza Gilani lost neither public sympathy nor  political support  when he was sentenced  for five years in jail with hard labour by an Accountability Court in 2002. On getting free he not only won the 2008 election but was also  appointed Prime Minister. He lost his office and later his constituency when  he pleaded for Zardari’s immunity. Zardari was saved but the party faced a historic defeat in the polls.

Legal nitpicking or  constitutional fiats  employed to obstruct the ongoing accountability of  Nawaz Sharif might save the PML-N chief.  But these moves, particularly the recourse to immunity, would damage  his   moral standing.   A public representative has to fight  his case   both in the court of law and the  court of public opinion. In case he wants to remain in politics, the most important  thing  for him  is to ensure that he also wins the case in the latter court also. If he succeeds in that  any punishment by a court if law would be  perceived by his supporters as a politically motivated act. The sentenced leader would be  considered a martyr as Gilani was in 2002.  

The contradictions in the statements of the PM and his scions  have already raised questions among the general public. They require   straightforward answers supported by documentary evidence. Questions have also been  raised by the sudden and unexpected entry of a  Qatari prince to provide relief to the Prime Minister because his name was never mentioned  in earlier accounts  of the money trail given by  Nawaz Sharif and his scions.  The reference to the  immunity enjoyed by the parliamentarians would give birth to more  doubts and damage the defendant’s credibility.


  1. This Pakistan nation does not understand moral, these money lauders and crooks will rule on this nation forever.  

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