Iftikhar Chaudhry has brought democracy into a cul-de-sac, through his unconstitutional persistence forcing the Prime Minister to write a letter to the Swiss authorities. Why is he silent on the Shaukat Khanum issue? I believe this silence isn't unintentional; rather, it's a simple manifestation of the balance of power in Pakistan.
|(from left to right) Imran Khan, Iftikhar Chaudry, and Nawaaz Shareef|
Mr. Khawaja's Asif allegations against Mr. Imran Khan are making a headline. The pro-PTI youth, especially in Punjab, has taken these allegations with unconcealed disgust. Caricatures have been made in order to belittle Mr. Nawaz Shareef's personality. The PTI youth is also preoccupied with senseless sloganeering against Mr. Asif.
It seems as if Imran Khan will try to use these corruption allegations as a weapon against PML(N). Khawaja Asif has oft-repeatedly said that his allegations were not against Shukat Khanoom Hospital; he wanted to underscore Imran Khan's illegal use of donation funds abroad. On the other hand, Imran Khan with the support of Pakistani electronic media has totally distorted Khawaja's argument to gain political benefits.
With this entire story aside, there is another important aspect to this issue that isn't being questioned. This unquestioned aspect might help in understanding the power nexus between military, judiciary, and punjab's ruling party.
The prime question which an "unbiased" media should ask is, "Why isn't Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry taking a Suo Motto action on such serious allegations?" We all know that he took a Suo Motto notice on two alcohol bottles. He took another one against PEMRA, as according to his view, fashion shows are unethical. He has brought democracy into a cul-de-sac, through his unconstitutional persistence forcing the Prime Minister to write a letter to the Swiss authorities. Why is he silent on this issue? This issue is on the media screen for the last eight days. I believe this silence isn't unintentional; rather, it's a simple manifestation of the balance of power in Pakistan.
If Mr. Chaudhry jumps into this 'Shaukat Khanum issue', he'll have to play a very delicate balancing.
On the one hand is Imran Khan, he has a complete support of Pakistan Army and the Islamic right that is extremely active nowadays. Moreover, speaking against Imran Khan means to upset the Punjabi speaking PTI youth. The Chief Justice will never put his publicity on the line in order to carry on his "Justice Job".
On the other hand is Nawaz Shareef. How can Mr. Chaudhry upset him?! He has never done this before. He bailed him in the hijacking issue, he never talks about Hudabiyya paper mills, he never questions Mr. Shareef alleged corruption of six billion rupees, the Mehran bank scandal has moved into oblivion. Iftikhar Chaudhry has never brought Mr. Shareef into his court. Furthermore, what history proves is that he decided a case that was put forward by Mr. Shareef against President Zardari just in a few hours. CJP never wants to upset the rulers of Punjab, as Punjab holds the power to control Pakistan.
In brief, Chaudhry Shaib is now in an imbroglio. He can neither go against Imran Khan nor against Nawaz Shareef. Following are the possibles option in his bag:
1) Take No Suo Motto — just remain quiet
This is the very strategy Iftikhar Chaudhry is following. The media isn't questioning him as he is the strongest man in the town. Yet, at the same time, his power rests on the very pillars against whom he should take a Suo Motto notice.
Iftikhar Chaudhry will remain quiet unless someone files in a case. Whoever files this case will be putting Iftikhar Chaudhry into a very difficult situation.
2) A case is filed — kill the weakest bird!
Let's assume someone else files a case. Now what? Iftikhar Chaudhry will try to solve the power equation in a way that no major power centre feels the pain. Hence, my prediction is neither Imran nor Nawaz will be called into the court. In the worst case scenario, it will be Khawaja Asif who'll have to face the court's anger.
3) Iftikhar Chaudhry does the unexpected
If Mr. Chaudhry decides against Mr. Khan or Nawaz Shareef — he'll never do this — it will be a beginning of an end for him. He will not be able to handle the public outcry. Large parts of Sindh aren't happy with him, as he goes on his anti-PPP marathon.
Sometimes back, Mazhar Abbas wrote a poem on Pakistan's judicial history. Here are a few proses from it:
Pity the judges, who not only gave a usurper the power to amend the constitution but also gave him power which he had not asked for.
Pity the judges who never invoked Article 6 of the Constitution.
So let's see what Chaudry Shaib decides.
Article published on Let Us Build Pakistan
Article published on Let Us Build Pakistan