For whom the bell tolls

The bell has tolled and the Sharif clan’s house of cards hangs in mid air.
How Pakistan feels? Sad and jubilant. Sad, because the democratic process has
derailed yet again. Nawaz Sharif was the 13 th prime minister of Pakistan, none of
whom completed their democratic electoral terms. Jubilant, because the values
of democracy have shown some signs of life. The democratic institutions had
become so blunt in the last seven decades that the hope of justice had become no
more than an eyewash. The country had been split between the haves and have-
nots. Those in the latter category could not afford the promise of their rights but
a mere lip service. The corrupt families that Imran Khan dubbed as dacoits
quadrupled their coffers amidst unwarranted fears.

For those optimistic, the Supreme Court’s verdict depicts Pakistan’s
strengthening realpolitik from the previous rudderless rhetorical sailing. By
cutting the proverbial beanstalk of corruption, the giants are expected to meet
their fate, one case after another, the stolen money is hoped to be retrieved and
the accused barred from the corridors of power.

The intelligentsia however is watchful. They remind us of the déjà vu, dampening
the excitement of our popular patriotic drives. They conjure up for us the
impenetrable corridors of power that lay within the labyrinth of our democracy.
They implore us to tolerate and welcome an unhurried democracy: one, which
completes its course. A democracy that nurtures and rises from grassroots:
allowing unions to develop and fortifies the departments of the administration.
And there are also some weary Pakistanis. These are the ones that look beyond
the political parties promotional claims. They question the will, deftness and the
power of the political parties to work out the large issues that plague the
country. The widening gap between development and debt, the deep-seeded
corruption phenomenon, growing international isolation and, multiple internal
and external security threats are just to name a few. It is pivotal that ruling
political parties exhibit the independence and moral righteousness to ensure
national integrity in the new emerging geopolitical landscape.

The Sharif family and their fate is emblematic of the democracy in Pakistan.
Names may be irrelevant however political leaders in developing countries are
pawns often controlled by their marionettists. Greed and crimes of one cannot be
separated from the other. Therefore, if the phoenix were to rise from the ashes of
democracy, the national culture of misappropriation of power and resources will
have to end and wrongdoers brought to justice. The bell may toll for the lot of us
if we fail to learn from past mistakes.

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