EDITORIAL: Now that former Rawalpindi commissioner Liaquat Ali Chattha’s bombshell has done the rounds and stoked confusion and controversy – that is, greatly added to the volatility and instability in the country – surely it’s time for the voice of his conscience to be accompanied with some hard evidence as well.

A sitting commissioner holds a position of considerable importance in the bureaucratic machinery, of course, no matter how far removed the rules require him to be from the direct conduct of elections.

But to make such explosive accusations, and point the finger not just at the CEC (Chief Election Commissioner) but also the CJP (Chief Justice of Pakistan), and then not present compelling proof risks making a mockery of the civil service’s credibility and plunging the country even deeper into its existential crisis.

Now there is far more uncertainty. Not just about who will form the next government but also about the fate of the entire election exercise. It’s unfortunate that the delayed urge to do the right thing did not prompt Chattha to begin his confession with proof – which he must possess otherwise he would not have singled out the CEC and CJP – and then move to the more touching part about the responsibility to right wrongs, etc.

Because, as people wait for top institutions to conduct thorough inquiries, those pillars of state must also consider whether they are required to set the precedent of putting everything on hold every time a wild accusation, without proof, is made.

Of course it’s also not right to leave such toxicity unattended on the fire too long. That it has exploded on the heels of a very controversial election, just when the country needed stability for which it was depending on the vote, substantially adds to the urgency. Yet it’s equally true that the ‘system’, already stretched to the limit, will not be able to handle this level of turbulence for much longer.

Capital markets are gyrating, investors are rushing away, and the country is getting extremely bad press all over the world. Should this paralysis go on to influence the next IMF programme, then all bets are off, and Pakistan will certainly fall headfirst into sovereign default.

Whichever way the Chattha case is investigated will have to begin with gathering evidence from him. That shouldn’t be too hard, especially from a man going to such lengths, even offering his head, for justice. But if he still offers nothing, and not much falls out when they shake him, then this case will take a completely different, perhaps far more ominous course.

Let’s not forget that it is ordinary people that suffer most from such instability. That is why they deserve to know, in the clearest way and shortest time possible, exactly what is going on.

Their everyday lives, the economy, and the fate of the federation itself might rest on what comes out. The last thing that should happen now is for this investigation to linger endlessly, stirring even more uncertainty.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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KU Feb 21, 2024 11:01am
The only reality is that we are under the dark clouds of unfair play and injustice, especially in the hands of opportunist who are not concerned about people and taking us towards anarchy.
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