We take our hats off to the Interior Minister. Admittedly, this is not something we thought we would ever say. But credit where credit is due. For he appears to be the only one of all the King’s men who is talking sense.
He alone has had reportedly the ‘courage’ — or opportunistic insubordination — to tell Nawaz to go. Hashtag. And without any back-stage manoeuvring he has seemingly put all his cards on the table. The trump one being that Prime Minister Nawaz should remove his blinkers and see once and for all: the writing is the wall. And we don’t need no education or dark sarcasm to see that it’s true.
Except that he rejects claims that he said what we reported he said.
We know, however, that this denial is mere showmanship.
We also know that this is the case when it comes to Prime Minister Nawaz and his talking tough about not kowtowing to those pesky “anti-democracy conspirators” who want nothing more than his head on a stick. Were it not so — he wouldn’t have rebuked his temperamental ‘confidante’ for daring to say in front of everyone what they were all thinking: only a miracle can save the PM. Yet insisting that such censure should have happened privately, instead of in front of members of a democratic forum of elected parliamentarians with portfolios — Nawaz has unfortunately recast himself in the role of anti-democracy conspirator extraordinaire.
Nevertheless, there is some credence to his claim that resigning would rob him of the chance of clarifying his position before the Supreme Court when hearings resume next week. But this is likely too little too late. The opposition is united in its calls for the PM’s head. Where the divisions appear is in the fate of the cabinet, with some quarters dismissing the idea that only the head of the snake be cut off in order that the civilian set-up complete its five-year term. They want to stick it to the entire ruling body politic. Which may explain why most cabinet members are rallying round their embattled leader.
Yet the PM is right to feel the heat.
Because even this is not a given. With some weighing up their options, including the possibility of jumping ship to the PMLQ. For many, this would be a return voyage. Yet Pervaiz Elahi remains steadfast in his vow to not let Nawaz become a political martyr. We have to agree, the country has suffered enough vengeful democracy.
Speaking of which, there is one thing we are quite sure about. Nawaz is likely regretting ever having been filmed back in 2012, when he was demanding that another sitting PM be disqualified over contempt of court charges. That Nisar hasn’t instructed his faithful social media policing force to try and ban this footage suggests that what he says is true: the writing really is on the wall. And even a firewall can’t save the PM. At least in terms of political credibility. *
Published in Daily Times, July 15th , 2017.