Focus on Friday’s NA session is natural
ALL eyes are focused, naturally now on Friday’s session of the National Assembly, and conduct of the prime minister will probably determine the future course of politics in Pakistan.
The kind of uncertainty in the country is too vivid now to ignore. The Panama Leaks issue has affected a number of other countries, for the simple reason that accumulated by individuals or families need to be laid bare to the public eye.
Else, it will always be surrounded by controversies and suffer from lack of conviction, which is hardly desirable for a society or State worth the name.
For five weeks now, the country has seen a crisis of a grim magnitude. Those dismissing it lightly are either too naïve to see reason, or are incapable of understanding of State affairs. Reports that army chief General Raheel Sharif, during one-onone meeting with the premier in Islamabad, advised him to get his name cleared, remains unconfirmed. But some of the eminent print and electronic media stand by their respective versions of the stories. Seen logically, some amount of truth does hint at factors peculiar to Pakistan which had tasted direct or indirect military control over civilian set ups from time to time.
But Raheel is different from the rest. His deeds speak louder than the words. He has tried to lend strength to democratic dispensation, which is also evident from his refusal to interfere with the accepted norms that elected representatives of the people, alone had the right to govern the State. But governance also carries loads of responsibilities, and has per force to be transparent and readily acceptable to all and sundry.
Army, after all, is part and parcel of the Pakistani nation. It has not descended from the skies. It would naturally feel perturbed over instability caused by non-seriousness of those legally allowed to manage the administration. Our history, unfortunately, has been a victim of deliberate or unwitting behaviours which could only be categorized as irresponsible, or non-serious, to say the least.
Corruption, although a worldwide phenomenon, has been. somehow of an undesirable level in Pakistan. Kickbacks and commissions, money laundering, should not be checked effectively, for erasing it completely, will be well-nigh impossible.
Looking at the events of the last five weeks, it seems crystal clear that while the prime minister had tried to sit over an issue, highly sensitive for him and his family. But the opposition too instead of picking a sensible course, went haywire.
Raising voice against a menace, capable of affecting the very vitals of our Statehood, falls within the ambit of national obligation. The opposition parties, which saw strange bed-fellows like PTI and PPP, coming together (even for selfish motives) trained their guns on the government, for that what was they were supposed to.
But the viewpoint that the premier and his colleagues in the government, instead of smelling the rat, allowed the opposition to wrest back the initiative, too is profound in its place. Delayed judgements often cause embarrassment, which in this has proven 100 percent true.
However now that the government, and the opposition seem to have locked horns, each sticking to its guns over the terms of reference (TOR), a resolution through dialogue alone seems to be the answer. The government has wasted time in announcing its negotiation team for talks with the opposition, which in turn, allowed them to harden their position.
Now when the prime minister comes to the national assembly Friday, he will have to face a barrage of questions from stalwarts like Syed Khursheed Shah, Imran Khan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Luckily the premier has refrained from plans of going to the Senate, for there he must have been facing a robust Aitzaz Ahsan.
It is also a fact that the ruling party members have often been non-serious in attending to their parliamentary responsibilities. The house has often been run without quorum. The opposition has been providing the needed strength of the members to enable the two Houses to remain in session.
It is true that parliamentary practices prohibit duets or cross talks, for it can only be a “tamasha” then. But on a serious matter of Panama Leaks issue, the premier must answer the opposition questions. Whether he really will, remains to be seen.
Advices from destructive minds from within like that of Rana Sanaullah who announced that the prime minister will not answer any question from the opposition, can only vitiate the atmosphere further, and give a new twist and twist to an already complex crisis.
The premier must apply his own. Exploit his cool temperament, which has been high mark so far, and try to carry the day for him, and his party. Picking unnecessary quarrel, or stretching the crisis too far, is not in the interest of the government.
That is a general statement, but does apply to this peculiar situation here perfectly, and therefore, needs to be avoided at all cost. Let us see what happens coming Friday, and wait for the turn of the events to unfold themselves.