Islamabad: Three years on, our fresh-deal-ridden democratic dispensation has seen so many storms in the cup of tea that finding Chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and an un-elected opposition leader Nawaz Sharif hoping for a bureaucratic coup against the present mixture of Que-PPP set up was considered just another desperate attempt by the struggling lot.
If previous fixtures between judiciary and the executive (where most of the time Mian Nawaz Sharif was seen dormant at best) has resulted in vindicating President Zardari (remember NRO case hype) than this one is heading towards yet another back paddling of judiciary on the buildup it had generated in the past couple of weeks over the issue of bureaucratic shuffling thus adding more loses in its credibility bank.
Though the role of Chief Justice of Pakistan on the one side and Babar Awan on the other side carries many interesting episodes but let’s not forget the expertise of our C-Leaguers (Chaudhrys’ of Gujrat) because without them the latest show with the judiciary would have remained colourless. After C-Leaguers’ two point agenda—one to save Moonis Elahi from land grabbing scam and second to avenge Sharifs’ (especially Shahbaz) and ensure their relevance in political battleground of Punjab–it was just a matter of letting Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi run-amok through the judicial cavalry thus leaving them exasperated and a bit jolted as well.
Giving the due to the devil, one cannot take the credit away from Chaudhrys for planning everything in such a way that neither they let Altaf Bhai down nor they disappointed President Zardari with their gimmickry and one after the other they kept turning the decisions of the Chief Justice on its head. Then be it NICL or Hajj Scandal, the latest hand was masterly played by Chaudhrys thus leaving the judicial compound with handful of TV Hosts, a particular media group and some aspiring lawyers (who want to mimic the heroes of the last movement (2007) in making billions by selling their good connections with the Supreme judicial officials to all potential clients.
Whether it will bring any change in the country or will it further strengthen the Que-PPP setup is something being discussed with more curiosity amongst the power corridors these days? No matter how we look at it, things are neither anywhere close to 2007 nor have Chief Justice and topsy-turvy opposition got the same kind of public support which they seem to have become addicted to since those days. So far all their covert messages, be it through some self-acclaimed middle-men, personal appearances or through well-fed columnists, have fell on deaf ears of Khakis because they may remain as a proverbial (dog-tired) bear in the room who is still revered (or should we say feared) by all but always remain an object of interest for the opposition or by new aspirants living in judicial colonies these days. Knowing well that the ambitious nature of this bear seems to have gone for a hike or at least gone into summer-hibernation and that’s why it has displayed a prominent ‘busy’ sign hanging by its chest to avoid any unwanted invitations—especially when it is busy in dealing with much bigger issue of internal fragmentation or even existence from poachers.
Finding a handful of lawyers staging a show on the staircase of the Supreme Court palace and watching Mian Nawaz Sharif taking over from his (as many party insider claim a stubborn) deputy (Ch. Nisar) at the parliament building was enough to understand the writing on the wall. Yet the storm in the cup will continue to rise because both the aspiring parties to the present dispensation does not want to lose heart nor they have got any other option to redeem their dented political pride and aspirations.
May be for this very reason bureaucrats are being summoned to the SC Palace every day for private meetings. But when this ploy was considered weak enough, it was no surprise that Premier Gilani withheld the presentation of (as many call it another damning) resolution in the parliament to remind all and sundry that no matter what parliament is, it still is supreme than many mighty and noisy black robes or Raiwind Lions. Since the Supreme court had skillfully backtracked on its puffed up stance on a bureaucrat named Sohail Ahmed by agreeing to the dictum that premier can use his prerogative to shuffle the bureaucracy, Mr. Gilani stopped this resolution from being presented and instead decided to break away from his usual cool demeanor to announce that the next political drama will be staged nowhere else but in Punjab.
But then riding on its B plan, we saw that within four days of filing of a petition, Chief Justice announced to take it up because it was regarding Benazir Bhutto’s murder case in which FIRs are requested to be filed against Rehman Malik, Babar Awan and many others for conspiring to assassin the PPP chairperson in December 2007. Will that lure some disgruntled elements of PPP towards handful of loyalists outside supreme court or will it be considered as just another attempt to provide enough ammunition to the battered and bruised (but unashamed) anchors who need something to not only run their (rating conscious) shows but also to nurse their egos?
On the other side Mian Nawaz Sharif is desperately looking for a shoulder to fire his salvo knowing very well that not only his policies have left him high and dry in the political arena but his summersaults have badly damaged his repute as well. By digging himself into the fray, if he has given a message to Ch. Nisar, he has also tried to salvage some of his lost pride by silencing those who of late have been considering him a drawing-room or at best travelling-abroad politician. How consistent will he remain this time is yet to be seen especially when neo-moderates like Pervaiz Rashid and hardliners like Ch. Nisar will no more be hammering his mind? Since he has picked up the likes of Sardar Mehtab, Khawaja Asif and to some extent the reasonable face of the party Ehsan Iqbal for listening only, therefore, one can only hope that see-saw game-plan will continue to grip Mian sahib for the time to come.
Whether Mian sahib has garnered anything else from this latest rush of Amratsari-Kashmiri blood or not but one thing is for sure that he has given an open invitation to Que-PPP mixture to come and have a go at his younger brother’s domain in Punjab in the coming weeks. With MQM all set to join the federal government, thanks again to Chaudhrys’ diplomacy, rest assure that the next round in Punjab will be something to talk about. After winning the accolades for saving Moonis Elahi from Supreme Court and saving commotion to Premier Gilani in Hajj scam, Chaudhrys are going to make sure that they level not only scores with Shahbaz but also dent their vote bank further by indulging in typical gerrymandering game of 1990s. How will courts be called into this and how the issue of a Seriaki province will rise its head in the coming weeks is smoothing to look for. So sit tight and enjoy the turbulent ride till the upcoming elections for Senate.