It’s finally happened. The worst prime minister in the history of Pakistan has been turfed out. A vaulting ambition and compromised morality has finally been nipped in the bud. Yousaf Raza Gilani will finally stumble off like the Flying Dutchman. There are a lot of long faces and unfathomable gloom in the PPP camp. But then, as the great Roman orator Cicero would have put it … Volucres pinnam confluent. Birds of the same feather flock together. In saner quarters, there is a certain amount of … not jubilation, but relief. This might not be a crenellated epic. That’s probably why press coverage in the papers has not been stoked by self-righteous pleasure or indulgent joyous malevolence. The situation has been treated as a demonstration of the truism that people who don’t play by the rules will eventually be punished by the rules.
The thinking man has watched with considerable disbelief as the edifice of defiance was slowly built up, brick by brick, like the great Temple of the Moon at Teotihuacan, with finishing touches provided by the speaker of the national assembly. Each time the prime minister cocked a snook at the apex Court, he returned in triumph like General Emiliano Zapata Salazar of Morelos, beaming and garlanded. His great attribute was that he always contrived to suggest a life of unruffled serenity. His fault was that he was terminally hampered by his profound sense of loyalty. It wasn’t a case of Perfidious Albion. My country right or wrong. It was a case of my Leader right or wrong. The big question that the thinking man is now asking is, how long is the leader going to survive?
The champions of peoples’ rule are probably disappointed that an elected government was not allowed to complete its term and are spewing out the usual clichés about democracy being in danger. But if the party has succeeded in anything, it is in conveying the impression that the leaders are selfish and think only of themselves and not the country. The ‘great achievements’ that the PPP has trumpeted at regular intervals, with excoriating provincial primness were, in actual fact, designed to achieve popularity in certain sections of the country and not to help the people at large. Besides, the PPP has done precious little in trying to change the country’s unfortunate image abroad.
Their Lordships have instructed the president to continue the parliamentary system and to find a replacement for the disqualified prime minister. Imran Khan has stated with characteristic aplomb that the judgment has marked the supremacy of law. Mushahid Hussain, who was once Nawaz Sharif’s right hand man and deserted him to join the opportunists in the turncoat party established by Pervez Musharraf, is purported to have made this astonishing statement: “Gilani’s era was historic for the various achievements made during his tenure”! The only realistic comment appears to have been made by the Amir of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Syed Munawar Hasan, who said that the president should order fresh elections and put an interim government in its place. It must have occurred to him that there was no point in continuing with another yahoo destined for a half life in the outreaches of a government that has been besmirched by dishonour. Nobody in his right mind is expecting any tsunamis of change even if they are accompanied by the whip. But let’s hope that the election provides us with somebody who can clean the Aegean Stables and who has an O level in economics.