onfucius is remembered as a philosopher par excellence in history. Born in 550 B.C in China Confucius was blesses with innate intellectual depth, and he was not a graduate of Oxford or Berkeley university. The sagacious rulers were enlightened by his maxims. Once some ruler asked Confucius, “what of the justice, economy and defense could be disregarded in the first instance under some compelling circumstances”? Confucius replied without giving it a thought: “defense at first, then comes economy”. Wondered at his response the questioner said that this would cause people die of hunger, and the enemy would attack and destroy country if defense is ignored! “No, this will not happen”, Confucius confidently said, “rather if merely justice system is sustained with rule of law, masses would repose complete confidence in government and judiciary. This will encourage people to withstand hunger to counter enemy”, maintained Confucius.
The fact remains that an egalitarian justice system for haves and have-nots warrants concrete protection of a country against external as well as internal enemies despite a feeble economy and weak defense. The history testifies this fact as is evident from Muslims’ triumph in Jang-e- Khandaq (Battle of the trench site) wherein digging ditch by Muslims coincided with near to famine. The largely outnumbered defenders- only 3000 against 10000-, mainly Muslims led by Holy Last Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), dug a trench to block advancement of enemy nonbelievers riding horses and camels.
The major factor behind this incredible victory of Muslim of State of Medina was a just system governing Medina treating equally the moneyed and the moneyless, and dealing tribes with sources and those without clout without a discrimination. The State of Medina had the greatest judge of the world and final Prophet of Allah Mohammad (PBUH). A saying of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) sheds light on evils of injustice and its consequence.
As per the saying the previous nation were doomed because the sin of the powerful would be spared, whereas, the poor would be punished forthwith for an identical wrongdoing. Here is to see whether our country is afflicted with the same evil of dual justice system? If there is a partisan order governing our society? No, this is not the case as we repose unwavering confidence in our courts and judges. We cordially trust in honorable Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa’s words when he says that a silent revolution in judicial history is in the offing. However, a few recent happenings have caused people to have a change of heart. Prime Minister (PM) in his recent statement has said that Pakistan would have been purged of scourge of money laundering had General (retired) Pervaiz Musharraf not granted an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) to the Sharif family and that had the case against them been decided on merit. The surprising statement has caused ripples among masses.
On the one hand, a transparent accountability under the law is talk of the town while the corrupt and black sheep are enjoying escape from punishment by relying upon law itself on the other. The dilemma has left people in a state of despair. The influential looters are mocking out laws rather than being held accountable. The following quotation of Greek philosopher Plato sounds true here: “Written laws are like spiders’ webs; they will catch, it is true, the weak and poor, but would be torn in pieces by the rich and powerful”. Despite having this feel I have total trust in law and relevant institutions responsible for dispensation of justice. But, what about the bail granted to Hamza Shehbaz by Lahore High Court (LHC) that too on a holiday in a corruption case against him. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) carrying Hamza’s arrest warrants outside his Model Town residence had to return empty handed rendering nation stunned at the astonishing development. The development came the day PM had issued above mentioned statement on NRO in Hudaibya Paper Mills case against Shehbaz Sharif. The PM’s statement and grant of bail to Hamza created a different scenario in the country.
Masses raising voice against corruption are impatiently awaiting punishment for the culprits. People have high expectations from those at helm of justice system amid government’s weaknesses and the speculations. Upon this very guesswork former CJP Saqib Nisar had to issue statement in order to dismiss the impression of political motives behind legal cases instituted against Nawaz Sahrif. We believe that Nawaz Sharif was convicted for his financial crimes. The people had thanked the Almighty as well as expressing gratitude for the apex court that an example was set out of a black sheep, though the looted money has not been retrieved from him as yet.
Presently, people are agitated at the extraordinary relief being given to Nawaz Sharif on medical grounds by the courts, making them realize a discrimination against the poor. Moreover, the bail given to nephew of Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif’s son Hamza has generated a strange ambience.
Hamza will enjoy his bail till 17th April to the utter helplessness of masses. The way Hamza avoided his arrest has shocked whole country raising questions about the relief being provided to the Sharifs in a clandestine manner. If someone has surrendered to “pressure”? The law is supposed to uphold its authority with total disregard to any pressures come what may. The justice should be straightforward, transparent and above a bias. As a poet says:
Maroob kisi daway se hota nahi qanoon
Insaf ki awaz mein luknat nahi hoti!!!
(Law never reels under any pressure
Justice makes its way against all
Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza have been indicted in Ramzan Sugar Mills case by an accountability court, and interestingly have also been granted bails. People are protesting that the indicted Shehbaz Sharif has flown to London. What a peculiar example of accountability! Are the father and the son misusing their positions as Opposition leaders in National and Punjab Assemblies respectively? Observing all this irony people wonder how the powerful circles and media would have behaved if Sindh and Balochistan politics had such a scenario? Meanwhile, Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan has resigned as senior LHC judge and has made eye opening revelations in a letter to the President of Pakistan.
A sentence of the letter published in the print media, I think, should have been expunged. Observing sanctity of judiciary the line by the judge has not been quoted here. In his missive he has remarked about the Supreme Judicial Council which has recently decided a case against him. During the course of events, the LHC has also suspended sentence of PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi in Ephedrine quota case. The successive instances of relief granted to convicted leaders of PML-N are making PM Imran Khan a nervous wreck.
This spree has, indeed, caused immense confusion for PTI government. Furthermore, British Government has declined Pakistan’s request for extradition of Hassan and Husain Nawaz through Interpol. Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) attempts to arrest them went futile. People are, in fact, persistently plagued by the question whether the looted national money would ever be retrieved from them? PM Khan is also, probably, upset to see all this which is in a flat contradiction to his narrative of recovering the plundered money. In his 8-month stint in office of PM not a single penny has been retrieved. This sorrow state of affairs has rendered people’s plaints loud with frustration and disappointment pervading the society.
This has afforded Imran Khan’s adversaries an opportunity to criticize him. PTI’s defense line on media seems to have been gradually dwindling to a trickle. The Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary is staying at a distance with the senior journalists, which is actually more detrimental to PM Khan than Chaudhary himself. Former finance minister Ishaq Dar’s continuous appearance on news channels for analysis on economic situation is actually a point of concern. It is reminded here that named in corruption cases Ishaq Dar is presently living in London after fleeing country. What irks more is the indifference of PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) and Information minister to this turpitude.
Adding to the woes of Government, the British authorities have again refused role in Dar’s repatriation through Interpol citing a want of cogent evidence in cases against him. It causes wonder that the incumbent Finance Minister Asad Umar, whose rhetoric on country’s economy during Nawaz Sharif’s last government would be worth seeing, is now shrugging off his predecessor’s commentary on current economic conditions, and he is avoiding media. Ishaq Dar has exploited Asad Umar’s recent statement that “country’s economy has been weaned off ventilator and shifted to the ward”.
The statement has also added to confusion of the already bemused Pakistanis. Federal Minister Faisal Vawda is second to none in adding to exaggeration that “rain of new jobs is on the cards in a few weeks”. This claim has invited wrath of his opponents as such a promise was also made by PM during his interaction with senior journalists last month. The PM worded his claim that: “a big good news is coming in three -week time”. The promise still remains to be fulfilled even after lapse of four weeks. I did not mean to embarrass anyone. The question arises here as to how long will masses be befooled with hollow promises? One ought to uphold truth, thus, It never shudders me to speak straightforward and pointblank even before the PM. As the Poet says:
Her zulam kay moonh par humein
sach kehnay ki lat hai
Hum log to zalim ki bhi gheebat
nahi kartay (I am used to plain-speaking against
I even do not back bite about the cruel)
For the sake of plain-speaking I want to mention here that PM, Finance Minister, Federral Minister Faisal Vawda’s promises have coincided with IMF report that Pakistan will have to face a surge in unemployment and decelerated progress until 2021. If the IMF report is a propaganda against Pakistan, the monetary body should be taken to the task to satisfaction of PTI voters and supporters. In case the IMF’s projection is founded on facts, the Government should confidently respond to people’s queries and divulge the truth. For this purpose, I believe, the Government needs to sit with veteran journalists and editors and keep them abreast of the facts. This will help government as the better informed journalists will be able to mould public opinion in favor of PTI Government. If information minister is not ready to come out of his ministerial office, who would help the Government?
Note: This Column is being published simultaneously in daily Taqat, weekly AZM (Urdu) and daily Business World, weekly Economic World (English).