What happened in the Supreme Court of Pakistan on the 24th and 25th May 2010 was some brilliant politics by President Zardari, which despite my avid support of PPP I had never expected of him. It was cunning yet simple. In fact what he did was a nine year old's trick that resulted in the judges and media getting caught in public unaware, with their pants down. Here is what happened, in full view:
A couple of weeks before 24th, the judges coincidently decide to hear the following cases one after another,
1: NRO review petion
2: Review of 18th amendment
3: NRO implementation case
What a mighty display of strength would it be?! The judges will set an example and show these crooks their rightful place, they will be mocked about in broad daylight. We will ridicule their arguments, which shall make headlines. On rhetoric not reason we shall decide but decisions will be made, it matters not who is being punished as long as some one is being punished. So what if our blatant disregard for law in convicting Rehman Malik was spoiled by Zardari, we will show them who's the boss.
Statements are made, from the two towers of Lahore and Islamabad under the shadow casted from the heart of Pindi. "If heavens fall, so be it; justice shall be served," roars Islamabad, "we are with you, your soldiers! united under your command" retorts Lahore (right now on some brief excursion to another of those petty bar associations). Enough fodder is provided to the media, armor is strapped on, judges assembled and orders from the pit of doom in Pindi in hand, countdown to May 24th begins!
"Hail thou mighty, thee is our only saviour." I am not praying to God but that is what is going on or rather was going on until a few days back in the media. Every statement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and LHC is the first headline. All the six major Urdu channels go into a trance, not unlike that of Shoaib and Sania's wedding (duh don't you get it?! It is the eighteenth amendment, yes, happening for the eighteenth time where as Shoaib-Sania's wedding is a first). So yes it will be the first headline on the news, on the newspapers and the most frequented piece on the newsticker that runs on the bottom of your screen.
All columnists write about the magnamity of the Chief Justice and his pure intentions. How the Pakistan Peoples Party under Zardari is being stubborn and if BB was alive she would have done things differently (that is why we were talking ill about her until the day she died)? How Zardari is mistaken in trusting Babar Awan and Rehman Malik when he should be trusting maybe Hamid Mir and Shaheen Sehbai? The daily batch of two dozen programs start airing war chants, predicting an impending clash which shall finally call it a day for the current setup. With dearth of people with integrity available to support their cause, non-representatives like Qazi Anwar, Imran Khan and a long list of the PML-Q members are invited to comment on the government's unacceptable attitude towards the judiciary. The matters pertaining to ordinary citizens are forgotten, this jive by judges is what matters, or so the boss said.
To the annoyance of many, PPP personnel on talkshows remain a mood kill. There are sporadic accusations against the obvious bias by that Abidi guy and Ms Wahab but nothing concrete, nothing tangible. Then what? Media prays hard and their prayers are answered, Babar Awan delivers a defiant speech in support of the President lambasting his critics with Maula Bakhsh Chandio joining in the frenzy to defend the Presdient. Everything makes headlines and the discourse of talk shows that air eight o'clock onwards. PPP though keeps playing dumb and it starts getting annoying for all including many in their own ranks I'm certain.
As the day nears, Prime minister calls up Chief Justice, to assure him of full cooperation. The media is immediately divided, half the channels consider his inappropriate behaviour on the part of the PM and the other half resort to the old rebellion against Zardari mantra.
Day 1: The beginning
24th of May is here, the government lawyers are not prepared. They request withdrawl of their plea, then eventually ask time to reconsider. Similar proceedings take place in the sitting on Eighteenth Constitutional amendment. The lawyers representing the Federation seek refuge under some article which requires that they be officially informed about the need to file a reply, which according to all legal minds was not required in this case. Either way, the judges are forced to give time to the Federation's lawyers who are now dubbed by all lawyers coming on tv as complete morons for over looking such an obvious legal clause. Still tomorrow is another day, in fact the real showdown, fireworks may still happen.
Day 2: The (anti)climax
The judges are in the courts, the lawyers, the media and anyone else who can be there is there. Cameras roll as the cars pull into the driveway. Babar Awan flanked by a dozen ministers, walks in. The judges are all ready to bat, they jump a couple of times,
stretch out their muscles, the grip is straightened out, gloves are restrained and tightened, helmet is positioned, this ball will be a six, they huddle up to nervous their oppponents, the crowd begins cheering as Awan paces to deliver, the crowds cheer harder, commentators blabber, momentum peaks as the bowler approaches to deliver and when he does, he delivers a wide ball. The climax is an anti-climax, there are more balls to come but these batsmen are no Bradman, with the momentum gone, the media discredited and judiciary effectively disgraced by themselves tomorrow may now be another day but it surely will not be this one!