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Nawaz “The Eager” Shareef: A Tale of Monumental Failure

Recent uproar on the establishment of military courts hasn’t subsided yet. Human rights activists, lawyers and sensible citizen from all fields of life are protesting and giving voice to their objections regarding the forced consensus on the issue of 21st Amendment, subjugation of democracy by “the boys” and government’s eagerness to take dictation from non democratic elements. Even though objections are right, to an extent, people don’t realize that establishment of Military Courts was far more important to Nawaz Sharif’s democracy than it was to the other Sharif.

Not so long ago, in the February of yesteryear, Interior Minister Mr. Nisar Ali presented the new security policy before the cabinet for approval. That security policy was about countering the increasing terrorism in the state by establishing a joint intelligence directorate – so that 26 intelligence agencies of Pakistan may actually, “share” the information; which at that time, they weren’t. The new security policy also advocated establishing a Rapid Response Team – a suggestion which wasn’t as innovative as it was practical. The policy also advised for improving existing system of judiciary in order to better the methods of prosecution and dispensation of justice.

At that time, Finance Minister Mr. Ishaq Dar argued against the implementation of said policy because of scarcity of resources. According to Mr. Dar, there wasn’t enough money to be spared on a pursuit like this. Mr. Nisar took this personally and news about certain grievances that both Mr. Nisar and Mr. Dar had been harboring for each other came into limelight. Mr. Dar may have voted against the new policy; Premier of Pakistan, who doesn’t bother appearing in the National Assembly and yet rules the country, could have gotten the security policy approved and implemented only if he wanted to, but apparently that wasn’t the priority at that time.

According to the confirmed, conservative estimates, 903 isolated incidents of terrorism took place in Pakistan in the year 2014 by the insurgents of TTP and others of their ilk. The one that took place on December 16, 2014 was the one which shook the nation to its very core and forced the politicians to take action, any action for that matter. Mr. Nawaz Shareef sprang up to action, he actually seemed to work for the first time since “winning” the elections in 2013 (jury is still out on this one). Nation saw Mr. Nawaz moving from one meeting to the other, advocating in the meetings the importance of military courts, doing his best to convince then non-agreeing parties, utilizing the famous “breakfast diplomacy” (which failed to bring desired results but that is besides the point). He even asked the “6%” fame, Mr. Zardari to give him a hand (which he totally did, against the wishes of the young co-chairman of PPP).

Military Courts were the need of the hour and all the leaders needed to transcend the mortal barrier of selfishness – was the underlying message of all the efforts done by premier. The message was understood by most, it was shoved down the throats of the rest who opposed. 21st Amendment was proposed and almost unanimously approved. At this point, the fans of PML-N gave a round of applause to the PM for playing a crucial role in the process, while others stood up – after voting in the favour – against it.

Real question though is what made the PM work so hard in the favour of military courts, sacrificing the so called democracy in the process?

First of all, establishing military courts at the will of COAS saved Mr. Nawaz from Army’s wrath. The backlash-that thankfully didn’t happen – could have been very severe, as severe as living (again) in a 6 ft x 6 ft cubic cell.

Secondly, focusing on the issue of attaining the consensus of all parties, allowed Mr. Nawaz to safely put PTI’s cacophony about rigging in elections, in the background. In that situation PTI‘s harp about investigation would have seemed selfish. By the time consensus was achieved it would have been very late for the movement to regain its luster anyway.

Thirdly, by allowing Military Courts to operate within the country, Mr. Nawaz without saying anything put the burden of failure successfully on the system of judiciary, its ability to prosecute and convict terrorists; saving himself from the criticism on his inefficiencies as a leader and his lack of foresight.

In a system where sacrosanct of politics is self preservation, people can’t hope to see politicians taking decisions for the welfare of state. Whether establishment of Military Courts is right or wrong remains yet to be seen but the culture of self serving politics should end in Pakistan’s political scene.

“Extra ordinary measures”, no matter democratic or not, must be taken after careful assessment of “extraordinary times” and not out of selfishness and personal gains.

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