November 25, 2017

The Streets of Intimidation

Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification has a much larger impact beyond him and his family, a challenge not only to the judges but to all people of Pakistan about how they want to live their lives and to run their state.

Posted on 09/8/17
By Ikram Sehgal | Via ViewsWeek
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif addressing his supporters near Rawalpindi during his journey to Lahore after being disqualified by Pakistan Supreme Court on corruption charges.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif addressing his supporters near Rawalpindi during his journey to Lahore after being disqualified by Pakistan Supreme Court on corruption charges.

Expecting a whitewash from the SC, former PM Nawaz Sharif literally went berserk on being “blackwashed” as untrustworthy and untruthful by the PanamaGate verdict.  Furiously attacking the Supreme Court (SC) judges, he and his supporters claim that the SC verdict had reversed the vote of the Pakistani people. Involving the streets of Punjab besides the media in condemning the superior judiciary confirms no change in his mindset (or character) since the physical attack on the SC by his supporters doing “Bhangra” inside the SC, particularly Courtroom No. 1, in 1998 almost twenty years ago. The proposal to limit the effect of Articles 62 and 63 to five years or less is absurd.

 

The moral characteristics whether one is truthful and trustworthy or not are lasting, once a crook always a crook’. Putting the judiciary and the judgement up against democracy, Nawaz Sharif implies that an elected (in a political position) or selected (in a public office) person is above accountability and cannot be questioned any more. Is that what democracy is all about? Is that consonant with Islam where rulers are to be held as accountable as those whom they ruled?

 

Driven not by political intentions but by the desire to detect fraud and plunder and punish it, exposing the real face of Nawaz Sharif is the first successful attempt at the accountability of politicians and public office holders in Pakistan’s history. The PanamaGate verdict has shaken and frightened many others who fear being held accountable as well. Sharif is using this street support to intimidate the SC verdict into silence. The judges who convicted Mumtaz Qadri had to face similar intimidation as do people in all walks of life who are ready to tell the truth or act as witness in a case. Even developed countries have “Witness Protection Programs”. Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification has a much larger impact beyond him and his family, a challenge not only to the judges but to all people of Pakistan about how they want to live their lives and to run their state.

 

The deliberate anarchy let loose by the Sharifs motivating the lawyer community against the superior judiciary is despicable and dangerous. Lawyers symbolize rule of law, not by contempt of court and breaking down the gates of the Lahore High Court. With 90% of the Nawaz Sharif family assets outside the country, do they care if we descend into anarchy? This dangerous instigation to the laws of the jungle has enormous consequences for not only civil but civilized society. Incidentally most respected senior SC Judge Nisar Khosa has had an heart operation. Coincidence maybe but imagine what psychological pressure has been put on this outstanding individual in line to be the next Chief Justice?

 

Democracy as a political system stipulates the equality of all citizens of a state but it also made men the judge of right and wrong, effectively ousting God. With the ideological newly founded Pakistan needing much more, our elders adopted the Objectives Resolution as part of our Constitution, “Sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to Allah Almighty alone and the authority which He has delegated to the state of Pakistan, through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust.” While in a western democracy one is accountable to the voters – thus humans only – in Pakistan we all are accountable to God. He is the Sovereign who rules us all elected, selected or just citizen and when the Day comes His judgement will be final. He is the one who put the limits on us that keep us on the straight path. Our Constitution stipulating all of us have to live and act within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust for all of us. Anyone not believing in this is not a Muslim and certainly not a bona fide citizen of Pakistan.

 

When we ponder how to be good Muslims and to create an Islamic state and society it seems that holding ourselves to that sacred trust is a moral obligation and in order to make this moral obligation assessable Articles 62 and 63 have been inserted into the Constitution. They make the moral character of a person that stands for public office – to be truthful and thus trustworthy – a precondition for his or her eligibility. Western democracy does not know such a combination of legality and morality. Over there it is enough not to violate any law to be a bona fide citizen. But as Muslims in an Islamic Republic our morality rightfully becomes a legal issue because we are not only accountable to law in this world but to God on the Day of Judgement.

 

At the end of the day it is between the individual and God about the way one follows as an individual. But this is only half of the truth. Gods want me not only to be “Sadiq and Ameen” only in my personal capacity, he gave each and every Muslim also the task to build an Islamic Community where good is enjoined and evil forbidden and discouraged. So it is not only about me and my personal behavior, it is also about how I and my actions have contributed to build an Islamic community, to enjoin good and forbid (or at least point out) evil. Central to this endeavor, the idea of Jihad in its full meaning implies not only war against an enemy of Islam but striving to keep myself and my community morally on the straight path. Qur’an has many verses to this end and there are several Hadiths to this – all of them implying that I have to at least speak out against wrong if I can’t change it by writing articles and speaking out in the media about the burning problems of our society.

 

Those who have smelt cordite and braved death are not afraid for oneself but for one’s country.  We are at a crossroads going down the road towards the rule of corruption or the stony road leading towards betterment. Standing fast and alone among a diehard minority, convictions can never be abandoned despite severe intimidation by the wretched corrupt, in or out of power in or out of uniform. Those who accept (or even support) corruption, lies and fraud because either they are involved in the same or out of misplaced loyalty to despicable individuals are not only damaging this country and this society but more importantly the values that are enshrined in our Constitution and in Islam.

 

The writer is a defense and security analyst.


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Pakistan

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