No escape for Sharif this time

All the king’s men and women are trying to put on a brave face despite knowing that they are supporting a lost cause

No escape for Sharif this time

As they say, a day in politics can do wonders and either elevate you to the highs, or decimate you to the ultimate lows. Those of us who grew up playing chutes and ladders as children can relate to what has just happened to our thrice elected Prime Minister this past week. The Joint Investigations Team (JIT) has come up with a damning report against the PM, his sons and his presumable heir, the first daughter.

The incumbents had gotten the wind of what was about to surface, so they went into a full throttle offensive mode and have not relented one bit. The usual noise presented by the incumbents consists of the usual conspiracy mantra, where everyone in this world is conspiring to oust the very popular Prime Minister.

All this rhetoric would have sold like hot cakes, had it been the eighties and the nineties. The problem is that our incumbents are still stuck in those decades, whereas their electorate has been living in this electronic age. All the king’s men and women are trying to put on a brave face despite knowing that they are supporting a lost cause.

This great debacle has brought many knowledgeable and gifted minds to present their analyses. Many legal and political personalities and experts have weighed in, and from a non-scientific yet realistic poll. The consensus is that the PM should step aside. The PM made some bizarre moves which have brought him to this level. By appearing multiple times on national television and promising and reassuring the nation that he will exonerate himself from these allegations was another poor move on his part.

Considering whatever has surfaced so far, it does not bode well for the chief executive of the country. Where the Prime Minister is truly missing, the boat is, politics is mostly a game of perception. When you go to the rallies and processions and give speeches full of hope and promises, you are moulding, carving and creating public perception.

When you are not able to live up to your words in front of your clients, you lose trust and when you are not trustworthy of a public office, you are supposed to step aside. “Why should the Prime Minister be the first one to go?What about the rest?”This is a circular argument and it will still not erase the fact that Chief Executive of the country comes first. He sets the example for the rest to follow.

Covering one lie with another hundred lies can be very fatal and, sooner or later, brings you to a point of no return

The usual defence of mandate of five years is questionable. What most people overlook is a very simple fact, it is conditional. If I do not perform, my duties per the rules of my organisation, every day, there is a possibility that I can be terminated, by my employer, on any given day with proper warnings, of course. A mandate changes every day, based on your performance and your behaviour. The exercise to execute that response by your true employers is repeated every five years.

We can argue for hours on the checkered past and the tainted history of our country and the ill treatment towards the politicians and the meddling of all powerful security establishment. All of that will not negate or erase the taints that our Prime Minister finds himself in. The alleged omission or misstatements or concealment of assets, alleged tampering of evidence, alleged perjury and alleged obstruction of justice are very serious offenses.

The PM had voluntarily presented himself for investigation and now cannot cry foul if the investigation reveals details he wanted to hide. When these lines are being written, the media has been trumpeting that the PM will not resign and will contest the charges and so on and so forth. From a purely common sense perspective, had the PM or his family members presented irrefutable evidence supportive of their plea, they would not be in this pickle. The wish of political martyrdom by dragging this matter to the inevitable will not work either. The entire exercise was voluntary and PM failed to recognise the seriousness of the whole episode.

It almost seems like he is oblivious to the fact that he has been bitten by a giant python on the board of chutes and ladder at number 97 and has been thrown back to number 2. Wish he had remembered what most mothers teach their children in early childhood: Covering one lie with another hundred lies can be very fatal, and at one point will bring you to a point of no return.


The writer is a Pakistani-US mortgage banker. He can be reached at TW @dasghar



Published in Daily Times, July 17th , 2017.