Strangely, we are going through the same situations that usually we come across in the worst dictatorial regimes. In my opinion, Pakistan Tahreek e Insaf (PTI) government would be mentioned in Pakistan’s political history as a nondemocratic civil government that came into power with the backing of ‘third empire’ and with the undue support of the media. Secondly, for all the U-turns it has taken on its manifesto and slogans of social and legal justice, accountability, economic development policy approaches, and on foreign affairs.
I will restrict myself to only accountability madness against the media and opposition. Several cases have been registered against media persons for their fair opinion on many unfair and maneuvered policies and actions. Some have been arrested for pointing out disorder in the functioning of the institutions or damages done by them. Some of the journalists have been put off from the TV screens for their rationale and objective analysis of the government policies and actions. Strange and condemnable act of wiping off the dissenting voices. The unwise live for their vested interest in the present day while history and people keep on cursing them for ages. Do we see anyone around who cares about it?
After unjustifiably grilling opposition and provinces, the media is the new target of accountability madness by those who should face legal action for their irrational and illegal actions. Arrests and harassment would serve no objective of the government or anyone else but to enhance hatred against them. Unfortunately, they are axing their own repute and honour that would weaken the state ultimately.
The Jang group chief Mir Shakilur Rehman is in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) custody for more than 190 days. Despite submitting all the estate-deal documents, according to the counsel of the accused, NAB is not granting bail. Even the countrywide protests against the unwarranted arrest of Mir Shakilur Rehman could not help in getting him out of the NAB custody for an interim relief.
All the top legal experts have given their opinion that interim bail is the right of the accused. The superior courts have also observed that NAB cannot keep the accused in its custody for an unlimited period, if appearing in the court when required. Keeping in custody is only allowed if the court believes that the accused would flee away or not cooperate in the case or influence the case if bailed out. In Mir Shakilur Rehman’s case, all terms go in his favour.
All the proceedings in this case so far show the NAB is acting on someone’s behalf, and the made-up case is not the actual reason for his arrest. Then, what could be the possible reasons. The foremost factor that comes to mind is the bold and blunt news reporting, political and strategic analysis that face off the realities and actualities of what is being taken up apparently by the government. The strategic decisions of the state institutions have always been conflicting with the public aspirations. Public sentiment and experts’ opinion on the strategic issues is always considered rebellious, seditious and anti-state, and subject to severe action. That is why no one speaks up of his heart and soul. Many prefer to remain silent or offer their opinion with many ifs and buts, where the actual argument is lost.
In recent years, we have seen intolerance peaking up to madness in every segment of society. Killings in the name of faith or abduction and killing of ‘anti-state’ elements. The long list of missing people is evidence to what the state institutions have been doing with the persons having differently framed opinions. We have also seen elimination of ‘strategic human assets’ used in different ‘state objectives’ ruthlessly. We have also seen uniformed persons distributing ‘envelopes’ after midnight to disperse the Maulvi Khadim Hussain dharna (sit-in) at Faizabad blocking the entrance road to the federal capital after the superior courts ordered it to clear immediately.
Just a flash back to the emergence of Pakistan Tahreek e Insaf container politics supported by Tahir ul Qadri and others, a rational and objective analysis would reveal the role of ‘third empire’, explicitly and proudly shared by the PTI chief with the fistful protestors remained around the container till the end of the non-democratic drama against the democratic government. The insiders know the actual reasons for the building up the ‘container drama’ and using the politically powerless but power-monger PTI chief who used to say ‘mian sab jaandeo, saadi waaria andeo’. For him, it was the case of his term as prime minister. Other reasons and resources were fed to him by the elements who disliked three-time Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif saying ‘accountability for all (including state institutions)’.
Strangely, only the media, democratic forces and politicians are being ‘corrupt’ in Pakistan. Member National Assembly Riaz Fatiana while speaking at a seminar in Islamabad said that only two per cent are the cases against politicians. But they are projected as the only ‘corrupt’ elements. Rest are angels and innocent souls.
No one fairly talks about the stories of mega corruption in three hierarchies, civil and military bureaucracy and multilateral organizations. Soon, Pakistan would have a law prohibiting any word against armed forces and their personnel. Civil bureaucracy is self-sufficient already in protecting itself, and elaborately knows how to commit corruption and embezzle money in the PSDP projects and misuse its powers and the annual budgets that are simply described as ‘white collar crimes’. I know many bureaucrats who have turned filthy rich in the last three decades from scratch.
During their last leg in the service, they shifted their families to US, Canada, UK or to any EU country. The day they got their dues cleared from the government, they flew away. Their modus operandi is to unduly favour their lords quite transparently for their corrupt practices by providing the procedural cover. Their services are not free. They come with many additional bonuses. Often, bureaucracy leaks out the details of ‘cases’ against their political lords to hide their own corruption. So the malpractices accumulate against the politicians. The white collar crime masterminds check out unchecked and flee away while only politicians especially in the opposition are nabbed and trialed even for the crimes they never committed. The other one is the media. God bless the state and citizens from the unaccountable accountability madness.