If the political class did not get earlier it should do so now. The target of the campaign set in motion last year was not just Asif Zardari. It was the political system as a whole, all in the name of fighting corruption, the slogan with which every road leading to hell has been paved in Pakistan since 1947.
Zardari was just a metaphor and a symbol. The wheels of intrigue, with a band of media jehadis in the lead, would not have stopped with him. They would have gone on to Nawaz Sharif, ending eventually in that dream of most retired senior mandarins, an ‘interim’ government on the Bangladesh model.
Once upon a time appeals for change were made to General Headquarters, the politically disinherited bending the knee before army chiefs and supplicating them to save the country. The court of appeal this time was the Supreme Court, restored not once but twice by the lawyers’ movement and the prayers of a hopeful nation.
Behind everyone of Pakistan’s four martial laws stood a combination of generals, judges and a section of the press (there was no media as such then). Justice Ramday is not wholly right in saying that whereas the higher judiciary gave a temporary reprieve to military rulers, parliaments gave them permanent relief. As Nazir Naji (with whom I seldom agree) point outs in one of his columns, that whereas the parliaments which sanctified the actions of military dictators were the creatures of those dictators, shaped by them, the judges who legitimised military takeovers laboured under no such compulsion. They were on their benches before those takeovers.
There is thus little room for too much self-righteousness in the broad spaces of the Republic. All who matter are tainted, not one institution which has not sinned, not one tribune which can claim baptism in holy water. This should teach us humility. Instead we see arrogance in a variety of bewildering colours.
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