NationalVOLUME 15 ISSUE # 16

The power of darkness

Sifting through the mountain of garbage routinely on offer on daily television shows, one was struck by a chance remark by two senior anchors in a talk show. They said that on his return from the White House, Prime Minister Imran Khan had not yet issued any instructions for the removal of air-conditioners from former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s cell, when by accident there was a power failure and the prison block lunged into darkness for two days in a row.

Immediately, Nawaz Sharif contacted the authorities and begged for a meeting, saying that he was prepared to make a “deal”. This proves the thin veneer of the resistance possessed by the Sharifs to any pressure. Just two nights without lights and Nawaz Sharif was prepared for a deal. Of such mettle is the modicum of the Sharif ability to withstand pressures and the weakness therein.

What is not understandable is the manner of protection that has been accorded to the Sharifs by the entire setup. Coupled with loopholes in the judicial system, Nawaz Sharif is indeed enjoying a blessed live now free from any restrictions that should be his due. The manner in which Prime Minister Imran Khan is being hamstrung and is unable to carry out any meaningful reforms clearly shows that he is not in charge of the affairs and the forces of sabotage are succeeding in their designs.

This sabotage is also used in damaging the credibility of Imran Khan, creating an impression of his inaptitude. So far, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz machine is highly successful and the whole setup appears to be in the grip of Nawaz Sharif and his party.

Imran Khan must recognise his power and act accordingly. He cannot wait for long. His enemy is clever. He needs to understand its tactics and act immediately now, or the evil will survive and multiply, becoming more dangerous and difficult to conquer.

This is a sad reflection of the failure to address and correct the lopsided and weird system that is running the country. The distortions are worse than the looking glass of “Alice in Wonderland,” all images are not what they seem and abrasions are the norm. It is hard to believe that charges of transporting heroin against former Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah flopped for lack of evidence. It is a truly remarkable achievement for someone whose exoneration was managed while in custody on a charge of transporting a large amount of heroin. The vanishing of the evidence from the police custody is a truly remarkable example of the system still under the control of Sanaullah in his jail cell.

Imran Khan can never hope to achieve a satisfactory level of governance unless he destroys the present system for it cannot be fixed and must be destroyed. This system is working to destabilise and handicap him. The nights of darkness which resulted in the “deal” were a Godsend for Pakistani politics. For it is the solution to the return of the looted money. Knowing the shallow threshold of Nawaz Sharif’s resistance, he should be given an ultimatum to return the looted wealth. No torture will be necessary. Just the resolve of Imran Khan will be enough.

If all the PML-N support is taken away, then Nawaz Sharif himself, once convinced of the resolve, will return the loot. There will be no need for torture. The grandson of Gama Pehlwan could not withstand two nights in the dark.

Imran Khan must realise the efficiency of his government will only improve if he stamps his authority on the system. If his orders are not carried out, then the officers concerned should be made OSD. This was Bhutto’s answer to any civil servant that did not obey his orders. An officer could not be punished because the rules protected him. But the suspension of his perks was enough to bring him to heal. Imran Khan should go this route.

All the senior bureaucrats would fall over themselves in a rush to demonstrate who would be the most efficient and most loyal. Mr Imran, this is the way to go. The money will only come back if Nawaz Sharif is convinced of your resolve.

Another aspect to be examined carefully is the allowance of residency of Nawaz Sharif in the UK, who is allegedly under investigation in a huge amount of money stolen from the people of Pakistan. What should be realised by the British government is that Her Majesty’s Government has zero tolerance for even a mundane crime of shoplifting. The perpetrator would be immediately caught and punished before he had taken ten steps away from the shop door.

In Nawaz Sharif, they are giving shelter to a family that has stolen billions from the poor people of Pakistan. This analogy should be important to a nation of shopkeepers.