I have been watching the rise and rise of Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on political scene since 1985. In spite of ruthlessly sticking to clique-building practices that our politicians have to follow for surviving, he is mostly straight and honest. Friday, he disappointed me however by repeatedly wailing over the “loss of respect for this parliament.” He went on narrating various events, examples and practices to eventually declare the National Assembly he sits in as the opposition leader, as ‘dysfunctional’ before leaving the house. Make no mistake; he did not walk out in protest, nor did he express the intent of resigning. He only left to join the Jumma prayer in time.
It is time for a seasoned politician like Nisar to candidly admit that by forcing the Supreme Court to find out the whole truth regarding ‘Memogate,’ none other than the leader of this straight-talking Rajput from Chakri, Nawaz Shairf, exposed the real or presumed limitations of the parliament that we have these days.
It is doubly intriguing that despite being a weighty member of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, Senator Ishaq Dar of the PML-N preferred to join the crowd of petitioners that went to the Supreme Court.
Since Monday, the court has been diligently finding ways to help resolve the mysteries of ‘Memogate.’ It has yet to reach anywhere near the whole truth. While I write this column, a crowd of journalists and lawyers is swelling in the Supreme Court building to find out whether honorable judges found the matter admissible for their consideration. Yet, Parliamentary Committee on National Security did not opt to wait. Raza Rabbani, chairman of the said committee, has already told a big crowd of reporters on camera that all three main characters of the ‘Memogate’; DG ISI, Hussain Haqqani and Mansoor Ejaz had been summoned before this committee on Jan 10.
Both the legislature and the judiciary, in short, continue chasing the same issue simultaneously. All this keep providing sensational breaking news to our stuff-starved media and no one has any time to ponder over a question: what would happen if two pillars of our republic end up discovering conflicting sets of nothing but whole truth on a “grave development related to national security?”
The utterly confusing and often absurd happenings that ‘Memogate’ triggered can only surface in a polity, dominated by a vicious elite that is so obsessed to split people between friends and foes. Stakeholders of our state have no time for consensus-building and yet no one among them showed the courage to checkmate ‘the other.’
Chaudhry Nisar and his party would have appeared very justified if more than ninety of its members sitting in a ‘dysfunctional house’ had resigned from their seats before approaching the Supreme Court on ‘Memogate.’ After seeking intervention from an extra-parliamentary forum, the likes of Nisar have lost the right to wail over the ‘loss of respect for this parliament.’ They should also not complain if diehard loyalists and eternal rebels like Javed Hashmi leave them in anger and join Imran Khan. With all its faults and apparent contradictions, the PTI is at least clear on one point: the democratic façade invented through the elections of 2008 miserably failed to deliver. It is time to replace it through another election.
Nawaz Sharif and his party continue to look and act confused on this question. The PML-N is reluctant to enforce new elections by resigning from the national and provincial assemblies. It does not trust ‘the establishment’ and strongly fears that invisible game setters of power plays now prefer to promote new faces on our political scene. With the clear intent of winning their hearts, Mian Sahib and his party hastened to put the government on mat regarding ‘Memogate’ by approaching the Supreme Court. The desperate step had not helped to appease the concerned quarters. Javed Hashmi was still pursued to leave the PML-N. Still, a full-throttled process is on to bring back the prodigal son of Rawalpindi, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, into the PML-N camp. Nawaz Sharif keeps resisting. For how long, though, remains the question.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 31st, 2011.