When the only loser is politics

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Gone are the days when good old drum-beating of corruption charges thundered in Islamabad. Welcome to a much darker, much dirtier season of political mudslinging where magic and genies are the new black in town. In her recent scathing attack on Imran Khan’s government, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz has uncovered a rather terrifying tale: that the PM office relies on mysterious supernatural entities for crucial appointments. The sharp-tongued Special Assistant (Political Communication) Shahbaz Gill has, in turn, spilt the beans about the “jinn” she allegedly used to “launder money abroad.” These baseless claims may sound like a newly acquired passion but the lines were always just as murky. Apparently Maryam has had her share of gambling with witchcraft. During her appearances before a JIT, a well-known journalist (probably believing in the high-octane, blood-and-thunder brand of reporting) accused her of conniving with “Bengali Jaadugars” to confuse the team leader Wajid Zia. Who can forget the constant trumpeting of “Modi k Yaars” and the ever-in-vogue traitor card?
We Pakistanis are especially blessed to enjoy a never-ending comedy of errors that adorns our hallways to power.
So what, if the constant temptation by those in the inner circle to hit below the belt reserves politics as a tainted, sullied arena; definitely, not a game for the remotest of gentlemen. With every passing day, the round of allegations is becoming even viler. And as adversaries decide whether they have gained an upper hand this time, they might be in for a big surprise: they are all winning for the only loser is politics.
The ongoing standoff between the prime minister and the establishment is a sad commentary on the present political setup. That the opposition and government should have joined hands to diffuse the tension is out-of-question. The country’s decades-long record is a repeated eyewitness to politicians prioritising their petty agendas over protecting the supremacy of the very democracy they claim to hold so dear. Add that to the deeply polarised culture where we are all sitting on a keg of kerosene and the slightest of flame can trigger an uncontrollable explosion.
The implications of this sad juncture aside, none of the parties trying to grab electoral power on the shoulders of moral policing are any better. The war of words that had sensationally started in the campaign season has wormed its way to the utmost top of the hill. Predicting which station the angry discourse would depart for next is an immensely hard job. It can only be hoped that some middle ground would miraculously appear wherein opponents would start seeing politics as just politics, not a Gladiator’s battleground!