In the Oxford Dictionary, narrative means a spoken or written account of connected events; a plot or a story. However, the word narrative has been given a new meaning recently. Professor Robert Scholes of Brown said: “Right now there are competing narratives of actual events that go on. It’s what we call ‘spin’ and ‘spin doctoring.’ After an event, there are people who want to control the perception of that event, and the way they do that is by intervening with a narrative.”In Pakistan, this word is being overused by the political parties, by the commentariat, and also by the religious zealots to convey their stance, version, opinion, invariably by distorting the facts to prove them right. Certainly, there are competing narratives, and everyone claims that his narrative is acceptable to the people of Pakistan. For example, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says that he has been disqualified on flimsy grounds. He says that none of the prime ministers was allowed to complete his tenure. But his opponents say that he was part of political engineering in the past and had cooperated with the establishment in dismissal at least three prime ministers including Muhammad Khan Junejo and twice Benazir Bhutto by the then presidents under 58-2B, which was removed through an amendment to the Constitution by the Parliament.Day in and day out, we listen to the narratives by the leaders of the political parties. The legislative halls, the media studios, the political chambers, civil society offices, and coffee cafes may be rocking controversies over whether the Parliament is supreme or judiciary. But nobody talks about the common man, who suffers from a rise in prices of essential items, galloping unemployment and unbridled crime wave. Once again military and agencies are accused of interfering in politics. Of course, they have no business whatsoever to meddle in politics, as Constitution forbids them from it, and so does the law. But it is equally important that the politicians should also not become part of their political engineering.Imagine for a moment, would there have been an IJI, had no politicians fallen to the bait of generals engaged in cobbling up of the entity to influence the 1990 election against the PPP. Indisputably, it would not have been. The IJI came into being simply because some politicians were out there ready to board that gravy train. Nobody put guns to their heads and bullied them into this adventurist contrivance of the establishment. They hopped on to the IJI bandwagon willingly and volitionally. If indeed a politician is so weak-willed as to easily succumb to any coercive pressures, he verily is not fit to be a leader. And if he gets tempted or enticed by the allurements of power and pelf, he is bereft of even the probity and integrity that are essentials of a true leader. If our chequered history is replete with Bonapartist and praetorian adventurism, isn’t it blemished with the ignoble falls of the politicians as well? How often have they joined hands with the incoming military rulers to give a civilian face to their repressive regimes? And how often they celebrated joyously when their political adversaries’ governments were sacked by the authoritative presidents? All this is on record. It isn’t rare that those abusing and vilifying the military in the sunshine of the day had felt no qualms in meeting the people in the garrisons in the thick darkness of night. So, how Bonapartism or praetorian adventurism will come to an end when some politicos are always out there to sell their souls?Now PML-N has launched a vicious campaign against judiciary openly and also insinuates military. Nawaz Sharif admits that he made a mistake in not removing articles 62 and 63 from the Constitution. The PPP had been asking Nawaz Sharif to get rid of the article 62 and 63, but PML-N did not amend those articles perhaps to appease the religious right or to use them against its opponents. But there has to be some mechanism whereby the corrupt are indicted. The problem is that when NAB goes after corrupt politicians, they protest that generals and the judiciary should also face the same kind of accountabilityNow the problem is that when NAB or any other authority goes after the corruption-tainted elements that amassed wealth illegally taking advantage of their position, the suspects protest that the accountability should be across the board. They demand that judges and generals should also be held accountable stating they are not holy cows. Of course, there is no holy cow that cannot be touched or talked about.All pillars of the state and institutions have both bright and dark spots, but as the military is one of the most organised institution, having a credible in-built system of accountability, the incidence of dark spots is minimal. Yet there could be suggestions to make it foolproof. Some analysts and panelists have a penchant to criticise military to prove they are bold and independent, but they would not accept logic or understand the ground realities that it intervenes to fill the void.The writer is a freelance columnist. He can be reached at email@example.comPublished in Daily Times, May 10th 2018.