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EDITORIAL: That Pakistan’s apex court has successfully ended a day of high drama in the country is a fact. That the court has successfully taken the theatricality out of this drama is also a fact. The happenings on this day that were preceded by the removal of Punjab governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar ‘at late night’ had added to the uncertainty that characterizes normal life enormously, to say the least.

According to CJP Umar Ata Bandial, all orders and actions initiated by the prime minister and President regarding the dissolution of the National Assembly (NA) “will be subject to the court’s order”. In other words, the chief justice has indicated that these actions are subject to a thorough judicial scrutiny to determine whether or not these are backed by the required constitutional propriety and substance.

Earlier, President Dr Arif Alvi dissolved National Assembly on the advice of prime minister Imran Khan; and the federal cabinet also stood dissolved. “The president of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi, has approved the advice of the prime minister of Pakistan to dissolve the National Assembly under Article 58 (1) read with Article 48 (1) of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” according to a statement issued by the President’s Secretariat.

The premier moved the Presidency with an advice for the dissolution of the lower house of parliament minutes after NA Speaker Qasim Suri dismissed the no-confidence motion against the PM, terming it a contradiction of Article 5 of the Constitution, which says loyalty to the state is the basic duty of every citizen. “No foreign power shall be allowed to topple an elected government through a conspiracy,” he remarked, terming the objections raised by information and law minister Fawad Chaudhry “valid”. Suri’s conduct, however, gave birth to a legitimate question: was it fitting or appropriate? Not only was the deputy speaker demonstrating that he had accepted the ‘threat letter’ as a gospel truth, his body language clearly showed as if he was one of the salespersons who has been given a written script to read to each prospect.

Earlier in his address to the nation yesterday, the ‘prime minister’ while congratulating the nation for the no-trust motion being dismissed said that the deputy speaker had ‘’rejected the attempt to changing the regime [and] the foreign policy’’. A careful analysis of the situation, however, shows that ‘prime minister’s’ strategy is clearly aimed at denying Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif an opportunity to become prime minister and then call fresh elections.

Be that as it may, ‘Uncertainty and fear grip Pakistan’ was the headline of Business Recorder’s ‘Lead-1’ news item of its yesterday’s edition. Yes, there was ever-deepening uncertainty about what is happening, intended, or required. Although prime minister Imran Khan’s ouster was very imminent since the government’s key allies, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), had crossed over to the opposition, the question whether or not he would survive the vote of no-confidence against him still had no clear answer mainly because of growing confusion the government’s announcement that the “opposition must be ready for a rude shock” had caused.

Indeed, the entire opposition in particular was taken by surprise yesterday. There existed the complete loss or absence of hope until the apex court assembled in response to an action (suo motu) taken by it on its own accord on a Sunday and began to take stock of the situation with a view to bringing to an end the current political/constitutional impasse in the country.

Last but not least, in this newspaper’s view, however, yesterday’s events constitute nothing but a theatre in which standard or naturalistic convention of plot, characterization, and thematic structures were ignored or distorted in order to convey the irrational nature of reality and essential isolation of humanity in a meaningless world. It is said, and rightly so, that so long as someone is alive, there is hope for recovery. It is, therefore, expected that the country would come out of the woods very soon, although our faces now bear the expression of utter hopelessness.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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