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Let sanity prevail, before its too late

September 01, 2014

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Protesters hold sticks and chant slogans after intruding the state television building in Islamabad, Sept. 1, 2014. —AP photo
Protesters hold sticks and chant slogans after intruding the state television building in Islamabad, Sept. 1, 2014. —AP photo

Before any Khanista showers me with provocative and obscene profanities, let me urgently clear out that I am not a PML-N supporter, voter or even Mian Sahab's admirer.

But today, when the Premier is going through a vulnerable period of his tenure (and arguably one of the most challenging times of his politics), many proclaimed and self-proclaimed political pundits are predicting the end of Nawaz's third stint as Prime Minister.

Please allow me to express some words in defense of the King of Raiwind.

1. Nawaz has already accepted the opposition's demands

They asked for the investigation of four seats. Though questionably late, Nawaz Sharif is giving a complete probe of entire elections under supervision from the Supreme Court. What more can the opposition ask for? They're getting a probe by four judges working under a deadline for 30 days, with extensive media coverage on the day-to-day developments on the issue; not to forget, backed with the guarantor of an institution which the opposition party chief is known to be fond of.

You demanded a cake. He is giving you an entire bakery.

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2. Electoral Reforms — He is on it

Granted, the elections were certainly never transparent. However, the point of contention does not rest on the authenticity of the polls, but rather the process and framework to reform it.

While Mighty Khan believes in the abrupt dismissal of the government, and Tahirul Qadir in rolling back the entire system, the premier puts his weight behind reforming the elections through democratic procedures laid out in the Constitution of Pakistan.

To that end, an electoral reforms committee had been formed. Sure, there may have been a better candidate to head it than Ishaq Dar; perhaps a PTI representative should be chairing it. But it was still a representation of all parliamentary parties and it was jet-set-go until, unfortunately, Azadi and Inqilab overshadowed all.

What the opposition can’t see or deliberately doesn’t want to see is that in order to bring electoral reforms in the country — a genuine demand — with or without Nawaz in power, they would inevitably have to actualise their demands by going through the system. Rejecting it purely on the basis of not-as-long-as-Nawaz-is-in-power mantra is not only undemocratic but ludicrous.

Take the quiz: How well do you know Pakistan's military coups?

3. If Nawaz resigns — the state must brace itself for the consequences

The demand for his resignation is much more than stupid — it’s dangerous. Just think for a moment: What precedent would Nawaz set if he resigned?

Next time, just about anyone could arrange 5000 people; entertain them with free concerts; exploit them with baseless analogies and explanations of just/unjust, good/evil, and then storm parliament. And there you have it, the state has crumbled, the premier has no other option than to resign. You win, but at the cost of stability of Pakistan.

Every single month, there would be groups marching towards Islamabad in an attempt to besiege the capital through enforcing their nuisance value. Today it is Khan and Qadri, tomorrow it would be the far right sectarian pseudo-political parties demanding who knows what? Who on earth could govern in such precarious political circumstances?

It’s frightening, Indeed it is.

Also read: Political crisis must end through political means, Army says

Politics is an art of flexibility. Nawaz may have proven hard to budge, and there is no question that his government has been late to address the issue; indeed the Model Town FIR was a basic right and the rigging probe a legitimate demand, too.

But what he has on the table right now are good deals for both the aggrieved parties. It is instead the eccentric, maximalist political rhetoric coming from the Khan-Qadri duo which is inviting mockery on the state of Pakistan.

Yesterday`s clash resulted in three tragic deaths. Today, the protesters stormed the PTV. Denouncing the act is not enough. Had the opposition appeased themselves through cooperative negotiations, this havoc could have been easily avoided.

The Constitution sets a state order: anything contrary to it invites anarchy. Undoubtedly, the state of Pakistan has persistently struggled, but it's still not as bad as the sort of chaos which Iraq and Syria are imbued with, today.

Take a look: PTI, govt should return to talks: Sirajul Haq

However, if the mobs succeed today, then every Pakistani — including the current crop of inqilabis — will soon be forced to live the brutality which the above countries are suffering from.

Standing with Nawaz today does not necessarily make one a PML-N supporter; it could be borne of a nationalist democratic consciousness which stands with the state of Pakistan.

The system has been achieved after countless sacrifices of political workers all across the board. Before it gets even more late, can Mighty Khan and Molvi Sahab please accept the package and move on?