The Battle for Pakistan’s Soul!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

This story perhaps describes best what’s happening in Pakistan today….

……A grandfather tells his grandson there are two wolves inside us, always at war with each other. One is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery, love, honesty and good. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like dishonesty, evil, greed, hatred and fear. The grandson thinks for a second and then asks his grandfather, “Grandfather, which one wins?”

“The one we feed!” says the grandfather, gently!

One couldn’t help but think of this story, as the reaction, both for and against The Supreme Court decision, disqualifying Nawaz from holding party office, set social media ablaze.

Many who represent the so-called thinking intelligentsia poured scorn on the Judgement. Some calling it a Judicial coup. Others sarcastically and highy inflammably, questioning if Nawaz’s appointment of the Army Chief was also null and void. Many said this would further strengthen Nawaz. Some went as far as to say that this handed Nawaz the 2018 election on a platter.

But none of these good people of Pakistan for a second reflected and said that it was the absolutely right legal decision and it was the only morally correct decision.

None of these good people said. Bravo! Thank God, for once our courts had the spine and the guts and the chutzpah and the courage to stand up to the highest and the mightiest in our land, and say enough is enough and no more!

They did not say that thank God, even the most powerful in the land are finally getting their comeuppance.

They did not say that being elected to public office is not a license to loot and plunder at will, for over 35 years.

They did not say that a person who wilfully, consciously and deliberately, destroyed every institution in this country, except the Army and the Supreme Court, was finally being held accountable!

They did not say, thank God this man is being put away and we will be spared the possibility of his daughter being foisted on us.

They did not say that we are happy that the evil committed by our spineless, prostituted parliament to save a crook and a criminal, has been overturned.

They did not say that our high and mighty cannot get away scot-free, as they have done in the past. They did not say that finally Nawaz will be held accountable even if he was legally elected.

But what they did say embarrasses, humiliates and insults not just them or their so-called intellect and their families and the names they carry and the legacies they will leave, they also tarnish the name of other people of good sense.

But more importantly they blacken the Soul of Pakistani by feeding their wolf of evil, dishonesty and greed.

In their mindless, irrational insanity and anger for the Army, who they think is behind Nawaz’s ouster, they will support a criminal and a looter and a plunderer. And they will tarnish the Army, the Supreme Court and attempt to destroy Imran. His third marriage becomes a nuclear option. His Lodhran loss the devil’s dance around a sacrifice.

How low have they fallen?

What has happened to this society? What has happened to our sense of right and wrong? What has happened to our ability to differentiate good from evil?

By what value system can the good thinking people of this country support the loot and plunder of Nawaz and his rampant and wholescale destruction of all our institutions?

By what logic can people question the decision of the Supreme Court in disqualifying a person to hold party office if he or she is disqualified to hold public office?

While I admired Salman Akram Raja’s masterful defence beautifully articulating Nawaz’s fundamental rights, it was appalling to see how the whole moral edifice was being destroyed by this man! How Western concepts of fundamental rights were being offered to upend the highest moral code of all times. Truth and Honesty!

Pakistan’s battle for its Soul is as much a Moral one as it is a Legal one. If the law subverts morality, integrity, ethics, then throw that law into the garbage heap. Burn the building and the people who enact laws which honours crooks and imprisons morality.

Burn them who will legislate to defend a thief and make it easier for other criminals to be elected to public office, but are deaf and blind to the tens of millions of our poor and exploited and hungry, bereft of health care, education, employment opportunities and even Hope!

Burn those who exploit the helplessness of these poor wretched people, held ransom to a system of patronage, to get elected again and again.

But one doesn’t blame the poor and the helpless. For to them all that matters is sheer survival. But those who stand with Nawaz and against the Supreme Court, with full stomachs and education and awareness, they are the real evil that has prostituted the Soul of Pakistan.

Whatever perverted logic they may espouse to support this evil man, their inability to stand for good against evil, for truth against dishonesty is inexcusable!!

We must reflect deeply before this evil wolf devouring others, devours Pakistan!

-Haider Mehdi

“Alea iacta est” Your Lordships, The Die is Cast!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

With these famous words Julius Caesar on January 10, 49 B.C, crossed the Rubicon river in Northern Italy in defiance of the Senate and began his long civil war.

Today both phrases, “the die is cast” and “crossing the Rubicon” symbolically represent “a point of no return”.

Has the Supreme Court cast the die and crossed the Rubicon in convicting Nehal Hashmi? To many they have. To others, more skeptical, this may be just a more serious and threatening warning shot across Nawaz’s bows to desist him and his daughter and other courtiers like Talal etc from further criticism and just stop short of awarding a similar judgement as Nehal’s!

Just for context.

Our Superior Judiciary doesn’t boast a very glorious and honourable past of courageous acts or stands against tyrants and crooks. Time and again it has bowed, bended, swayed, sometimes willingly, sometimes unwillingly, at times being bought, at times threatened and cowed into submission. And always given the OK to our Men on Horseback!

It has the dishonorable honour of turning against its own in the infamous case of the Supreme Court coup lead by a Nawaz minion Saeed uz Zaman Siddiqui, who turned against his own sitting Chief Justice, that most honourable and dignified personage Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah. History records their legacies very differently.

Then we have had the PCO and non PCO judges, the Iftikhar Chaudhry episode, the Dogar Supreme Court etc etc.

Sufficeth to say that this institution has had its days of running with the hares and hunting with the hounds, meekly acquiesing to the powerful and the mighty.

Justice Khosa quoted from The Godfather in his earlier minority judgement in the Panama case. But we must also remember that there existed and still exists a very tight close and evil mafia like nexus between the bench and the bar in Pakistan. It’s like a club where both scratch each other’s backs, suck the money and blood from the poor and the hapless, unfortunate enough to fall prey to the judicial system. Judges who were partners with lawyers from the same chambers stage a macabre hypocrtical drama in the courtrooms everyday. For a drama it is, while the hapless public looks on trying to make a sense of the never ending stay orders, the endless dates, the 15 minute rushed hearings, the hearings that never take place, and the lawyers and the court staff milking the litigants. Ask me. I know. Having run from pillar to post, as have many others reading this, completely helpless, held hostage by the Judicial Mafia!

But in recent times the Supreme Court has redeemed it’s honour in ways that one couldn’t even contemplate, let alone expect. CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry, to his everlasting credit, and perhaps his only real credit, was able to snatch away the administrative power of the EXECUTIVE to appoint judges to the Superior Judiciary, and in that one act he has changed the destiny of this Institution. And for this the legal fraternity owes him an everlasting debt for conjuring this miracle!

Thank God for this miracle, that we have witnessed, perhaps for the first time in our history, the crooked and the corrupt occupying our highest office being caught by the scruff of their necks, while in office, and meted justice for their crimes.

The Supreme Court judges clearly have a spine that I for one didnt think existed. But the events of the past year or so has changed all that. This dramatic change has shocked everbody. Some with joy others devastated! Especially their fraternity in the bar and many others used to the spineless lot of the past.

In a strange way the Supreme Court has rebelled against their own community in asserting their independence and the bar is incensed at what they consider a “betrayal”.

The shocked silence and failure of all the bar councils across the length and breadth of Pakistan in standing up for the bench against the daily slander by Nawaz and co is testimony to this deduction.

This silence of the Bar councils who should be celebrating this “born again Supreme Court” speaks volumes of their professional integrity and values and where their loyalties lie.

And the one council that spoke up, the Karachi Bar Council, is actually planning to go on strike to protest Nehal Hashmi’s conviction and sentencing. Subhan Allah!

And this is where the Supreme Court must display its spine again, without fear or favour, without being blackmailed or being threatened. We cannot afford to give in now and compromise or be again browbeaten into submission.

Your Lordships! Now that the die has been cast and the Rubicon crossed with Nehal’s conviction and sentencing, the Nation and Justice expects you to complete the job you started with him.

Not convicting Nawaz, Maryam, Talal and Saad Rafiq and others guilty of the same crime of defaming the Court, would be a travesty of justice. There are already voices, not mine, saying that Nehal got this harsh punishment because he is a Muhajir and Urdu speaking! And the others being Punjabis will be spared and let off with a gentle wrap on the knuckles “in the interest of the State and public order” etc etc.

Well, Your Lordships, in all humility, since I have no intentions to join Nehal, either the Honourable Court shouldn’t have convicted him, which I and the vast majority think you should have, and thereby set the precedent which then leaves the Honourable Court very little room to forgive the others.

Howrver, if for some unearthly reason and in your wisdom your Honourable Lordships were to let Nawaz and company off the hook, it’ll be a resounding slap on your own faces, on the Court, on Pakistan and on Justice.

Nawaz, Maryam, Talal, Danyal, Saad Rafiq and others must also be punished as has Nehal.

If you do not, Pakistan will face the serious consequences of this abject surrender by the Honourable Court, however beautifully or artfully your Lordships may pen your poetic travesty.

The Nation is watching, Your Lordships!

You have done much to redeem the honour of this your institution and of this nation. Much more remains to be done!

-Haider Mehdi