A double-edged weapon - Raoof Hasan - Thursday, April 07, 2011

The manner in which things are being systematically pushed towards an ultimate clash between state institutions looks ominous. The pile of apex court adjudications awaiting implementation is rising as the government apparently seems to be savouring its survival in perpetual affront.

NRO beneficiaries continue to occupy positions of authority. The letter that was to be written to the Swiss court to re-open the case/s against President Zardari has been pending for over one year now as he survives hiding behind the untenable immunity granted to his office. The Supreme Court’s injunction regarding contractual appointments is being blatantly flouted. Presidential pardons have been granted to those who were convicted by the court. Instructions to appoint an honest person as head of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) have not been honoured. The controversial parliamentary committee continues to tamper with the appointment of judges in spite of the apex court’s adjudication to the contrary. And much else!

The government even lives in violation of its own legislations. It has so far failed to constitute an independent election commission. The much-trumpeted empowerment of the state institutions remains a dream as they continue to be ruled by lackeys of the presidency. The downward trend, visible ever since the incumbent aberration took over, gains in speed with every passing day.

But, it is with the SC injunction declaring the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman Deedar Shah’s appointment illegal that a new and self-destructive dimension has been injected into the game plan. The decision was met with calls for protest by the ruling party in Sindh. The province was virtually shut down with large-scale incidents of arson and looting. Over twenty people were reported killed on the day in an environment of fear. When the apex court summoned the two PPP legislators, Sharjil Memon and Taj Haider, who had given a call to protest against the SC decision, practically all the party members of the Sindh Assembly travelled to Islamabad to be present in the court room. After the hearing that gave the two PPP leaders a fortnight to submit their response, it was publicly announced that if the SC proceeded with punishing the two errant party leaders, all the legislators of the provincial assembly would court arrest.

Having lost the battle for winning legitimacy, the ruling party has launched an assault to invoke ethnic feelings. Insinuations are being persistently cast on the partisan role of the superior courts and odious comparisons are being enacted citing decisions made in the past. A persecution syndrome is being fuelled projecting the courts as the principal villains that are out to dismantle a ‘democratic’ government.

The spectre of violence has ripped the country apart. Every day is a witness to a spate of harrowing tales of tragedy and mayhem, but no meaningful remedial measures are in sight to stem the tide. On the contrary, there are further cowardly assurances of pursuing the US-led ‘war on terror’ that was promised in exchange for the ‘right to rule’ vide the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).

As people die in scores, more funds are provisioned for enhancing the security mechanism and implements of the ruling elite. All this comes at a cost to the state – a state that was founded to provide relief and protection to the poor people reeling under the tutelage of dominant exploitative forces. The ruling faces may have changed, but the perverse policies have persevered – now also garbed as ‘democracy’.

The gulf separating the rich and the poor is widening. While those endowed with the right to rule have conveniently claimed the prerogative to divide among themselves the riches of the state that are in abundance, the poor are being deprived of the basic essentials of life. There is no water, no electricity, no gas, no healthcare facilities and no education infrastructure. A poor man’s two meals a day have been reduced to one, even none. The underprivileged have been literally flung to the wolves to devour of them to the last bit and drop. No one stirs – not among the ruling elite! Only their appetite increases.

The principal organ of the state, the legislature, has abdicated its responsibility to the whims of the ruling few. It is manoeuvred to suit their gory cravings. The executive has corrupted itself out of function. It only works to satiate its corpulent abdomen. The political elite are busy in their trademark Machiavellian tricks to render the electorate abysmally dependent on their largesse that they would dole out against the promise of continuing support at the elections. The tentacles of economic bondage are digging deeper into the poor people’s flesh causing incurable haemorrhage.

The judiciary, the only organ of the state that is functional, is being continually indicted to render it inoperative. There is a villainous intent to it – this being the only way for the incumbent aberration to complete its tenure, even go beyond. Every directive emanating from the apex court is being dubbed as a challenge to the ‘supremacy of the legislature’. The edifice of the state rests on inducing a fear syndrome of some invisible forces.

The reference filed by the president asking the SC to revisit the death sentence awarded to Z A Bhutto, later executed by tyrant Zia, is a double-edged weapon. While the SC may proceed with speed to undo an ‘historical wrong’, it would instantly deprive the PPP leadership of the relevance of the ‘Sindh card’ that it has been brandishing wantonly since taking charge more than three years ago.

The injection of the ethnic vaccine in the conundrum is bound to add further bite to the exploits of the ruling elite. Their ravages have depleted the poor of their ability to survive. Weaving further webs of deceit would soon deprive them of their right to life.

The writer is a political analyst.

Email: raoofhasan@hotmail.com

Source : http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=40394&Cat=9

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