Who is Pushing Pakistan to Become a Banana Republic?
By Karamatullah K. Ghori
Toronto, Canada

He was spewing vitriolic, pure and simple. It was a sight to behold. Minister of Interior Ehsan Iqbal was livid, seething, with rage with his eyes popping out of their sockets.
Ehsan Iqbal’s rage was prompted by the ban imposed in the Accountability Court by its presiding judge against Nawaz’ courtesans, the so-called cabinet ministers, who are so beholden to their ‘master’ so much that they must all turn up in the court to manifest their loyalty.
However, Iqbal’s wrath was directed not at the judge who’d ordered the ministerial ban but at the Rangers who were there to put teeth into the court’s order. That’s when he poured venom at the ‘state within the state’ and posed the question whether Pakistan was heading in the direction of becoming a ‘banana republic.’
What a strange spectacle it was to see an otherwise quite urbane Ehsan Iqbal—one of the very few minions of Nawaz with a dash of dignity—raging mad like a bully. But equally strange was his ire likening Pakistan to a ‘banana republic.’
One should have asked Ehsan Iqbal. Then and there, who, in the galaxy of Pakistan’s colourful politicos, has lately been pushing hard to make Pakistan into a veritable ‘banana republic.’
What was so typical of banana republics of yore?
They were run, invariably by thugs. In mufti or in a soldier’s uniform, hogging their country’s fortunes as their personal fief and, invariably too, serving the interests of their foreign masters at the cost of the nation’s.
Now let’s see who among the Pakistani ‘leaders’ comes close to this stereotype of a banana republic’s thug?
Zardari and Nawaz are the two principal proponents of home-grown ‘leaders’ fitting the above description. Zardari is the cleverer of the two, by any yardstick, and therefore has, so far, managed to elude the reach of the law in Pakistan. He has, thus far, been scot-free because he’s a street-smart thug with a canny insight into evading the law and going under the radar.
Nawaz, a dull and uninspiring gambol, is greedier than Zardari but not as savvy in coming to terms with the ambience or compromising with it.
In simple words, Zardari is a master-thief who couldn’t be caught. Nawaz, by contrast, isn’t a smart thief and got caught.
The whole trajectory of Nawaz’ rise to the top, from the day he was foisted on Pakistani politics by his mentors-in-uniform, Generals Ziaul Haq and Ghulam Gillani, is marked by his and his clan’s crass weakness to make money as much as possible, by any means using their political status and office of power. The business ‘empire’ Nawaz has erected in more than three decades of active and aggressive politics puts to shame his abysmal track record as a leader.
What could be a more damning assessment of Nawaz’ poor leadership calibre—not to mention his pitifully low intellectual quantum—than the fact that in each of his three stints in power he was snuffed out without ever completing his term.
But now that he has been found wanting, not only in as far as the basic requirements of a leader are concerned, but also the fundamental need for a leader to be honest, upright and uncompromised in basic ethics and probity.
Nawaz has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar not by an individual or a rival politician out to nab him. He has been found guilty of not meeting the basic requirements of a member of the parliament by the highest court of justice in the land of Pakistan.
But instead of humbly accepting the verdict of the country’s apex court, Nawaz, from the morning after the July 28 verdict of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, has gone on the offensive against the court and its judgment.
The apex court’s bench that heard the case against him was so right in likening his conduct to the Sicilian Mafioso. How damn right was the court in using the metaphor of a ‘godfather’ for Nawaz has been amply borne by the guilty in his public pronouncements, in his venomous addresses to the crowds gathered by his minions, on his provocative journey from Rawalpindi to Lahore, his bastion of power.
The supreme court deserves all praise for its remarkable restraint in the face of a constant barrage of invectives from Nawaz and his scum-of-the-earth cohorts, like that insufferable Rana Sanaullah, the uncouth loud-mouth going around by the title of Punjab’s Law Minister.
The offensive from the Nawaz cabal has been growing by the day. The cries of ‘injustice’ done to their ‘leader,’ becoming shrill by the hour have venom pouring from every decibel. It’s a well-organised campaign to paint the apex court as biased against Nawaz.
What is being conveniently forgotten in this deranged offensive is that the same court had been accused by Nawaz’ political detractors in the past for being traditionally ‘kind’ to him because of his Punjab provenance. But now that the boot is on the other leg, it’s Nawaz and his attack-dogs who are being provocatively critical of the court’s verdict, with he himself asking innocently what wrong had he done to deserve such a denouement?
There’s mischief aplenty, no doubt, behind the snide campaign the ‘god-father’ has been presiding over to denounce the court. Little, if any at all, concern seems to be given to the great dis-service done to the institution of accountability and justice. Nawaz is playing the victim card and his minions, partners-in-crime with him, are brazenly egging him on to keep the offensive going.
Open defiance of the court is the name of the game with Nawaz. It started with his theatrical road journey down the GT Road. It hasn’t stopped.
The next act of nose-thumbing was Nawaz nominating his ailing wife to fill the NA seat he was forced to vacate upon his disqualification. It didn’t matter to him that an ailing Kulsoom Nawaz romped home by a whisker; he’s too thick, viscerally, to fathom the nuance of a low voter-approbation for him and his clan.
But the ultimate offensive is the passage of Election Law 2017 rammed through the NA on brute force of the N League’s numbers. This legerdemain has enabled Nawaz to spring back at the helm of his supine party and claim for himself the title of a people’s leader and hero of Punjab.
It doesn’t take expertise in rocket science to infer that the black bill passed by NA on October 2, and quickly signed into law by an obliging President Mamnoon Hussain, is a virtual declaration of war by the Legislature against the august institution of Judiciary. Ehsan Iqbal is perhaps the most learned among the uncouth rabble-rousers around Nawaz and should know that moulding the law to favour an individual—in this case a politician found wanting in basic requirements of leadership by the top court in the land—is what threatens to morph Pakistan into a banana republic.
The war-path analogy isn’t a figment of imagination, or fatuous, in what the N- League attack-dogs and court-jesters, together, are deliberately intent on doing. They are stoking unrest against the two non-political pillars of the State of Pakistan: the judiciary and the armed forces. It’s a deadly game that must best be stopped in its tracks before it ignites a major mishap.
That, fomenting a confrontation with the army and the judiciary, is a dangerous ploy. No state, even the most stable one, can survive with two of its pillars of strength being deliberately targeted only to settle personal scores. What Ehsan Iqbal uttered against the guardians of law and order, the armed forces of Pakistan, like a fire-belching dragon wasn’t kid stuff. He was challenging the army to take him on and his master.
That, in their incontinent urge to drag the apex court of the country into dirt, Nawaz’ purblind partisans are treading a dangerous, combustible, course is beyond question. Their game plan seems to be none other than provoking a non-constitutional backlash against them and their puerile shenanigans, so they may add heft to their claim of being ‘victimised.’ Little do they seem to understand that their mad act is reminiscent of Samson, in his blind fury, taking down the temple with him; in this case, it could well be the democracy citadel.
The old Greek sages had it so right in saying that those whom gods wished to destroy were made mad first. Here, in the Pakistani version of things, the apex court was also so right in likening Nawaz to a Sicilian Mafia don. It’d be no exaggeration to say that the likes of Ehsan Iqbal have enough cunning to give a lesson or two to a Sicilian Mafioso. - K_K_ghori@hotmail.com

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