As someone who has supported and criticized Khan in the past, the recent decision by the Supreme Court of Pakistan comes as a dilemma. It is somewhat a matter of relief that the Supreme Court found the actions of the deputy speaker unconstitutional. Why, you ask? It is because had the Supreme Court accepted the speaker’s ruling, it would have effectively shut off anyway to remove a sitting prime minister, no matter how corrupt they are. Imagine a future with the worst possible prime minister there could be; someone who might be selling off the country; someone who might be purposefully taking the economy towards disaster. Then imagine that the opposition brings a no-confidence motion to remove him, and the speaker again rejects the motion, citing any kind of arbitrary reasons.
Some might argue here that the current reason cited by the speaker is not arbitrary, and I will address it, but giving away to the speaker to just outright reject the no-confidence motion means that no prime minister will ever be removed from the office. We cannot expect constitutional safeguards to be subverted just because we like or dislike a leader. Law is only the law because it is for everyone, as much as ridiculous that sounds in our country.
The relief, however, ends there. There are many elephants in the room that those who are celebrating constitutional supremacy are ignoring, the biggest being foreign intervention. Some might think it is just another conspiracy theory akin to the “Yahoodi Sazish” narratives; however, attempts at regime change by the United States government aren’t inconceivable, given the past. The Biden administration has repeatedly snubbed Khan, probably starting from the famous “Absolutely not” statement. We then observed a constant cold shoulder by the Biden government towards Pakistan. There was also apparently a phone call due from Biden, which never came. So, US’s interest in changing the reigns in Pakistan is probably not the most far-off idea.
Having said this, it is troubling that there was not even a mention of this aspect of the case in the Supreme Court decision, and it was completely ignored. Although, as stated in the first paragraph, the decision was better for the constitution, was it wise or in the interest of the country to pay no heed to any such interests, or does the constitution and the laws exist in a bubble where the facts of the real world do not apply. While the supremacy of the constitution is essential, is it not possible that the decision to ignore any such influences might have set the country on a path to an even bigger crisis? Only the future will answer this question.
Coming to the opposition’s bid to install Khan back as the prime minister, as funny as that sounds, it is like most of their supporters have no idea why they are opposing breaking up the assemblies so much. If they just wanted to remove the “corrupt” and “incompetent” Imran Khan, mission accomplished, right?! To anyone having a little sense, it is no revelation that they want to come to power to get rid of EVMs and the right to vote for overseas Pakistanis.
These moves being advertised as election reforms are nothing more than a struggle to keep the status quo. As someone who watched the recent local government elections in KP very closely, our election procedure is far from being fair and transparent. The amount of bogus votes polled is mind-boggling, and the united opposition is doing everything in its might to prevent any step from moving away from such a system. Electronic voting machines, although not perfect, could have been a step forward towards a new system of better, more transparent elections. Not to mention that there would still have been a double check on the EVMs in physical form.
The right to vote for overseas Pakistanis is another contentious topic. The united opposition seems to think that the group of Pakistanis, which sent over $29 billion in remittances, which is even more than our exports and covers over half of our import bill, should not matter in the matters of this country. What a great injustice! And these are not the rich, pompous, entitled people that most people envision when thinking about overseas Pakistanis. These are people with families in Pakistan who are making immense sacrifices just to feed their families. They live in really miserable environments just to send money back to their homes. So it is of paramount importance to them how the future of their country is shaped, and taking this right away from them will disregard the hard work of those people who are forced to live away from their families and homes.
To cap off all this, I would call myself a reluctant Imran Khan supporter. He made many bad decisions, ignored the pleas of vulnerable groups, partnered with wicked people just to win elections, and most importantly, made a motion to reject the no-confidence motion. However, his battle with the mafia is still something worth rooting for. The mafias make the opposition, and the mafias are what hanged this no-confidence motion over Imran Khan’s head, i.e., Jahangir Tareen and Aleem Khan. We have seen Khan grappling with many mafias during these past years. We need to realize that the sugar mafia, petrol mafia, wheat mafias, all these don’t exist in their bubbles. They are part of our political system. They are part of our opposition as well as the ruling party. These mafias are thus actively trying to bring down someone who dared take control from them by both opposing him in opposition as well as by eating PTI from inside. With all this said, PTI still seems like the only political party not directly controlled by them.
If I am choosing evil, then I do so knowing that it is the lesser one. Countries do not change in months; they do not change in years; hell, they do not change in decades. However, it is these little steps that would compound over hundreds of years and might one day turn this country for the better. The world is so grey. It has lost all color. However, it is still upon us to choose the lighter side. Perhaps the tiny thin layers of the lighter colored matter in all this grey will make the future a little brighter. We can only try.