The matter of the letter which is to be written to the Swiss authorities continues to linger on. It has already consumed a great deal of national energy, in terms of the drain on the people, the sense of uncertainty generated and the amount of time the government has wasted on this. While the matter is undoubtedly a significant one, involving key cases, initially shelved under General (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance, we have to wonder if the time taken up by the whole affair could have been better spent elsewhere, given that we still see no definite results, while the threat of institutional discord remains. We have lived with this state of affairs for months.
The issue — which could lead to yet another prime minister being shown the door — hangs now on the question of quite what the letter should say. An initial draft was rejected by the Supreme Court and the new one presented on October 5, the latest deadline that was set by the Court, also, does not completely live up to its expectations. While the law minister has been able to win another five days of reprieve for the prime minister, by stating that he would attempt to have the offending third paragraph amended, he has made no absolute promise that this will be possible. The clash we have been warned about for months, between the executive and the judiciary, is therefore, still possible. We do not know where and when this tussle will end. The contested contents of the letter have not been made public, so we do not quite know what the entire debate is about or what the main issues at hand are.
Nonetheless, we are reaching a point where it is important that the issue is resolved as soon as possible. It has created instability that has persisted for a very long time indeed, and has already seen one prime minister make an exit. We need things to settle down so that the affairs of the country receive no further jolts. This is not the time to foster even more political uncertainty when the country can ill-afford it.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2012.
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