Saturday, December 12, 2009
Is democracy all about a plethora of documents whose authenticity remains doubtful for more than 13 years now, on many counts and in the backdrop of the PML-N Quaid’s own statement that the accountability process was wrong and that it was initiated against Benazir Bhutto on others’ instigation.
This startling disclosure and the 11-year-long incarceration of President Asif Ali Zardari in cases that remained unsubstantiated in the courts give a benefit of doubt to the two main victims of this so-called accountability process bulldozed by Sharif’s confidant, Saifur Rehman of the Ehtesab (Accountability) Bureau. But what to talk of exoneration in media trials or malicious campaigns, certain quarters are unwilling to give even this benefit of doubt to President Zardari and his deceased spouse in sheer disregard for the undeniable fact that their party is still the biggest repository of the majority votes of the people of Pakistan.
Isn’t all this indicative of some elements’ unflinching war on Bhuttos and Zardaris or on the most popular democratic party, the Pakistan People’s Party, that they are trying all the workable and imaginary options to subdue democracy under documentary machinations.
Yes, they were democratic machinations and nothing more than that. It was none other than the high-profile and dependable figure of Mian Nawaz Sharif who blew the gaff during his interview to renowned journalist Suhail Waraich whose book is very much available at national and international bookshops. In this interview, while pronouncing the accountability process, ie Saifur Rehman’s accountability process, as wrong, Mian Nawaz Sharif has unequivocally stated that they (the Sharifs and the PML-N) were pushed to do so. To quote Sharif further, “there was pressure on us from the armed forces and the ISI. We were made to take such steps, by design, so as to deal a big blow to the politicians’ credibility.”
Now, these disclosures amount to serious undercurrents that have gone a long way to malign Mohtarama Benazir Bhutto and her spouse, Asif Ali Zardari. And everyone within the legal fraternity and even in the intelligentsia knows fully well that under the rules of natural justice or under the laws in force in majority of advanced, successful democracies, any case instituted under pressure or with negative designs, is deemed a case of mala fide intentions and is, thus, liable to be struck down by the courts. But that was an era when even the judicial forums have been conducting their affairs in a strange manner. On one day, Bhutto and Zardari would be ordered to appear in a Rawalpindi court and on the next day, they would be directed to appear in Karachi. This in itself speaks volumes of the anti-Bhutto and anti-Zardari conspiracies that would be pursued for years (rather for more than a decade) with ‘enthusiasm’ and exceptional shrewdness. Dates of appearance would be stage-managed, prosecutors would be given specific advice and material and the entire might of the governmental machinery and agency networks would be employed to make sure that Bhutto and Zardari remain in prison, if not as convicts, then as under-trials.
A study of Bhutto and Zardari cases reveals that they were case of poor, inadequate and questionable evidence, still these two leaders have been subjected to treatment that not even convicts of heinous offences would be meted out.Is this justice? Is this democracy? And how far is it justified highlighting heaps of rubbish again and again and projecting it as documents of incriminating evidence?
The fact is the same that Nawaz Sharif has already been exposed as a leader committed sincerely to the cause of democracy. It is unfortunate that cases sans evidence were instituted during his tenure, but it is heartening that he (Nawaz Sharif) has revealed the truth without any fear or reluctance.
Just have a look at some other words of Nawaz Sharif in the same interview. Sharif says: “I was not in favour of arresting Benazir Bhutto, but Saifur Rehman would insist upon her arrest. Ch Shujaat Hussain is witness to this fact that I wanted Benazir Bhutto to go abroad before being sentenced. In fact, I never wanted her to go to jail.”
Exposing other follies and foibles of Saifur Rehman, Nawaz Sharif further revealed that Saifur Rehman was the main mover behind the move that was aimed at getting 14 journalists dismissed from service.
This interview suffices to reveal the malice involved in the indictment of Bhutto and Zardari that led to the preparation of heaps of (questionable) evidence. But to democracy’s sheer bad luck, those heaps are being given too much display as if with the only objective of derailing the democratic system once again despite the fact that it (the democratic set-up) has come into being with the blessings of the masses.
It also reveals the under-the-table functions and structures whose guns are directed at the PPP. Now, the time has come for the national institutions, which stand transformed under clean personalities like Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and COAS General Ashfaq Parvaz Kayani, to come forward and hit at these anti-Pakistan and anti-democracy moves with the power of the people entrusted through public confidence in these institutions. Otherwise, allow us for fighting yet another war that is against these sustained moves, against democracy and against the people of Pakistan.