Many interesting, important, intriguing, game-changing and epoch-making incidents have taken place in Pakistan during the last two weeks. The PTI Chairman Imran Khan publically named and shamed 20 lawmakers for participating in horsetrading during the Senate elections. Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar clearly rubbished the idea of a “judicial martial law”. The PTM held its rallies in Peshawar and Lahore. The PM of Pakistan, Shahid Haqan Abbasi, held a meeting with three declared absconders in London along with Nawaz Sharif, an ousted prime minister. The HRCP came under fire. Meesha Shafi, a singer-actress, accused superstar Ali Zafar of sexual harassment.
On 18th April, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan announced that the party was taking action against 20 lawmakers for “participating in horse trading” during the Senate elections last month.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Imran Khan said that “the party will give the accused a chance to explain before their names are forwarded to the National Accountability Bureau. Khan claimed that the PTI, by expelling nearly “30 per cent of its leaders”, was “truly protecting the sanctity of the vote” and wondered if other political parties would follow suit. “This is not the first time lawmakers have taken part in horsetrading,” Khan said. “This has been happening for the past 30 or 40 years.” The PTI chief said that the accused lawmakers had received as much as Rs40 million each and added that the party would issue a show-cause notice to them.
By taking such drastic action against the party and the KP government members, in fact, Imran Khan has put the sanctity of the vote above party ambitions, politics and government. Without any fear of losing the majority in the house, Imran Khan has taken such a bold and exemplary step which is commendable. The PTI has also set a new example in politics. No political party has adopted such a strategy in the history of Pakistan. But the PTI has taken the risk of antagonising the party as a whole, provoking desertion and dissent right before the 2018 elections. This is a laudable undertaking and other political parties should also follow this example and purge their parties of all the corrupt members.
There are some politicians and analysts who are blaming Imran Khan for having a double standard against the corruption of the party leaders. Imran Khan has not included Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar,the former British parliamentarian,who swept to the Senate from the Punjab despite of having a strength of the PTI’s 30 seats, on the list of suspect votes. Khan’s critics are rightfully asking how is alleged selling of votes different from “buying”? Horse-trading is, after all, a two-way process.
Then, Jahangir Tareen, the former party secretary general who disqualified by the Apex court for financial misdeeds, still holds importance in the party and decision-making. Another leader Aleem Khan is also facing corruption cases in the NAB court. Azam Sawati and Ayoob Afridi, who have won the Senate seats, are also not honest people. Imran Khan has not expelled them from the party. Rather, he is applying a different standard when it comes to these party leaders. Moreover, Imran Khan has also taken many other corrupt but electable leaders like Mustafa Khar, Dr. Ferdose Ashiq Awan and Amir Liaqat Hussain, etc., from other political parties. He has forgotten his ideology and, now, just wants to win the coming elections. It is a sad reality that Imran Khan is doing politics like Nawaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari and Maulana Fazlul Rehman.
On the other hand, the apex court is not only trying to protect the fundamental rights of the people but also expose the bad governance in the country, especially in the Punjab. The PML-N government has launched a propaganda campaign against the apex court after the Panama verdict. The party is spreading rumours about an impending “judicial martial law”. The Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar scotched the rumour on 21 April.
“This could be someone’s heart’s desire, but people should not think that we are doing anything to usher in ‘judicial martial law’ in the country,” the chief justice said while addressing an event at Lahore’s Aiwan-i-Iqbal. “There is no such thing in the Constitution, and we will not do anything that is not by the book,” the CJP said, before adding that no one in the country would let the judges do such a thing. “I earlier said that if any such move is made, I will leave my post. Today, I am saying that if anyone tries to harm this country, all 17 judges of the Supreme Court will no longer continue in their posts.”
“This country is a democratic state. Allama Iqbal and the Quaid-i-Azam dreamt of it as a democratic state, and so it shall remain,” he said. “We will fight for the nation’s rights and the day we feel that the country does not stand with us, we will give our posts up,” Justice Nisar stated. “I promise this nation that I will do whatever is in my power for this country,” he added.
“Nations with no countries of their own are unfortunate. We should thank the Almighty that we have a country to call our own, which the Quaid [Muhammad Ali Jinnah] and Iqbal fought for us to get,” Justice Nisar said. “We did not get Pakistan as charity. We had to fight hard and sacrifice blood, sweat and tears to build this country. However, this country today is not being given its due importance.”
“In my eyes, education is the most important issue of all. Those nations which have educated their youth are leading the world today. We, on the other hand, are shutting educational institutions down instead of creating new ones to cater to our needs,” the chief justice said. Referring to the Punjab University case he had ruled on earlier in the day, Justice Nisar said, “80 canals of land from a university were taken away to build a grid station. How will this nation flourish until we give our youth the education they need to excel.”
The apex court under the leadership of Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has given a new hope to the people of Pakistan. But, the ruling elite, especially the PML-N leaders Nawaz Sharif,Maryam Nawaz and Shehbaz Sharif, etc., are very unhappy with the judiciary. They are seeing their fall which is written on the wall.
Meawhile, the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) has emerged in the country. On 22 April, the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) held a rally at Lahore’s Mochi Gate, despite the Punjab government’s refusal to issue a permit for the event. PTM’s central leader Ali Wazir said, “The movement has come to Lahore so that if something [untoward] happens in the future, nobody can say ‘You never reached out to us’.”
Manzoor Pashteen said the whole country had seen the result of the PTM’s first demand: the arrest of former SSP Malik Rao Anwar. “Now even the court is saying Anwar is a terrorist and Waziristan native Naqeebullah Mehsud, who was shot dead in a police encounter, has been declared innocent.”
“When they can sell 4,000 people, they can do a lot more,” Pashteen said, referring to a recent claim by Justice Javed Iqbal, the head of the missing persons commission, who had accused former president Pervez Musharraf of handing over 4,000 Pakistanis to the United States.
“We demand that we should be told the amount for which they [missing persons] were sold. We will collect that money and give it to you so you can bring them back. Do not release them, just give them to the courts if they have committed a crime.”
He also demanded that first information reports against students in Lahore, who are PTM supporters, should be withdrawn. “We are very peaceful but do not forget that we are young, and young people do not have a lot of patience.” “Now that we have risen up against oppression, we do not fear for our heads,” the PTM leader asserted.
The PTM phenomena is unique in many ways. It is not a political party but the JUI-F,the ANP, Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, are supporting and sponsoring it just to protect their own partisan interests in FATA and other tribal areas. These parties have lost their popularity due to corruption. To check the popularity of the PTI, they are supporting the PTM. It wants to protect the fundamental rights of the people guaranteed in the constitution.
According to some reports, the CIA, RAW and the NDS have created this just to halt the CPEC and destabilise the country.
The state should try to pacify the anger of the PTM youth by solving their problems and fulfilling their legal and constitutional demands immediately. It should not allow the enemy to take advantage of this situation.