In the guise of accountability

The more suitable way to describe it would be political vendetta and revenge.

02:53 PM | 19 Oct, 2017
In the guise of accountability
Those who are cheering on the arrival of accountability in Pakistan are distant from reality. They are not aware of the history of Pakistan and the policies of the establishment. Since independence Pakistan has seen numerous waves of one-sided accountability that has no precedence in the world. The more suitable way to describe it would be political vendetta and revenge. This form of accountability has led Pakistan to lose great leaders such as Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Laiquat Ali Khan and Fatima Jinnah. It is believed by many that even Benazir Bhutto was assassinated directly or indirectly by the same forces. The agenda has always been the same, to maintain the grip of the establishment in all affairs of the county.

It is true, though, that Nawaz Sharif has tasted accountability for the first time. However, as soon as we gained independence the new establishment sprung into action. Instead of introducing a new constitution the nation was gifted the Public and Representative Officer Disqualified (PRODA) ACT of 1949, which enabled the government to start legal proceedings against ministers and members of the assembly on the charges of misconduct or corruption. Under this black law revered politicians and members of the Pakistan Movement were disqualified. Instead of politicians who were sincere and invested with the people, the affairs of the country were handed to dictators and the establishment. This was followed by the Security of Pakistan Act 1952. Field Marshall Ayub Khan took further extreme measures by introducing Elected Bodies Disqualification Order (EBDO) in 1959, which was aimed at the most senior politicians of the time including Hussain Shaheed Suharwardi.

In 1967, Pakistani politics saw a new wave in the form of Pakistan Peoples Party. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had won the hearts of the people of Pakistan and given them new hope. Just as no other party had received such popular support before, the establishment had intensified its effort to remove this new threat. Pakistan’s most popular leader was taken away from the people and fell victim to judicial assassination. Zia ul Haq used the slogan of accountability and issued his White Papers against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Ironically, Zia formed a team of so-called politicians who had no roots in the public and allowed them an open hand to loot the country. Corruption, nepotism and cronyism had peaked under Zia. The most famous product of this era was Nawaz Sharif. Concurrently the leaders and workers of Pakistan Peoples Party faced tremendous hardships and political victimization. However in spite of these threats and the persecution, Benazir Bhutto kept the flames of democracy alight. As they say, every rise has its fall, and soon Zia was no more and once again the people of Pakistan brought back Pakistan Peoples Party. Unfortunately in Pakistan faces change but the system doesn’t. Even though Ayub Khan and Zia were no more, their policies remained intact. The will of the people was bulldozed and successive democratically elected governments were removed. Musharraf enforced another decade of dictatorship coupled with a corrupt kings party. Benazir Bhutto’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, served eleven years in prison without even a single allegation against him being proved. In 1999 Benazir Bhutto was handed down a prison sentence and was disqualified from running for office. She had to spend the last decade of her life in exile physically removed from the people who adored her. When she finally managed to return to her people she was assassinated.

Fast forward to 2017. Nawaz Sharif has been disqualified for life and now the crosshairs is on the PPP leadership. Efforts are being made to bring a new Kings party in place of a truly representative one. After facing eleven years in prison, followed by several more years of judicial proceedings, the last corruption case against Asif Ali Zardari was dismissed recently. This meant that new ammo was required against the PPP. Hence, we saw this whole charade in an attempt to link Asif Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur with Uzair Baloch. Uzair’s alleged claim of indulging in criminal activities on the directions of the PPP leadership is nothing new. Since his apparent arrest in 2016, reports of his alleged confessions in front of a JIT have surfaced several times. However, these allegations carry no weight and did not receive much reaction from the public. I sincerely hope that the non political and undemocratic forces in Pakistan learn to swallow the bitter pill and respect the wishes of the people. In 70 years we have only seen one democratically elected government complete its term. For the sake of stability and betterment of our future generations we need to ensure the cycle continues uninterrupted.