The Sharif brothers seem to be in habit of creating unnecessary controversies. And in doing so, they end up exposing their credentials rather baldly. In a press conference on Saturday, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif appeared to be unapologetic over his recent attempt at sabotaging the democratic process. Mr Sharif said that he had no regrets over his alleged u-turn on the constitutional reforms package and he stood by what he said on March 25. To the amazement of everyone, Mr Sharif blamed the PPP for the deadlock over the constitutional amendments by saying that the ruling party is “associating every issue with the 17th Amendment”. Maybe it is time to remind Mr Sharif that it is the PML-N itself that has associated every issue with the 17th Amendment and not any other political party. Being a two-time premier, Mian Nawaz Sharif is the only one who would be affected if that clause is not taken out of the 17th Amendment. Thus it does not make sense for the PML-N to blame this deadlock on the PPP. The PPP-led federal government has done a rather commendable job by forming a Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms, which has representatives of all provinces and political parties in it. The PML-N, being the main opposition party, was no exception.
As for the issue of the judicial reforms, it was at the behest of the PML-N that a seventh member was added to the judicial commission on the appointment of judges. The constitutional reforms committee conceded to that demand but now the PML-N chief has gone further to ask that the prime minister should consult the chief justice (CJ) on judicial matters and that the CJ should be authorised to appoint the seventh member. Mr Raza Rabbani is right in rejecting this proposal because the whole purpose of the judicial commission would be defeated. The logic behind having this commission is to ensure that there is a transparent mechanism in the appointment of judges by taking it out of the purview of any one person. Unfortunately, Mr Sharif’s strategy of escalating demands does not make any sense.
What is equally ironic, if not downright funny, is Mr Sharif’s statement that the age of ‘phone diplomacy’ is over. He was referring to the rumours that his u-turn was the result of a mysterious phone call. If that were the case, then why would British Foreign Secretary David Miliband call him after the March 25 fiasco? According to Mr Sharif, there were no discussions between the two of them on the political deadlock in the country, but on the other hand, Senator Pervaiz Rasheed from the PML-N claimed otherwise. He said that Miliband and Sharif “talked about the deadlock over the constitutional reforms”. What can one make of these contradictory statements?
It seems as if Mian sahib is not only playing politics but some other game is afoot as well. That Mr Sharif is trying to take the nation for a ride with his belligerent disregard for the country’s future cannot be denied. By trying to sabotage the democratic system, Mr Sharif is playing into the hands of the enemies of civilian supremacy. He is not doing the country, its people or the democratic process any favour by creating a fracas. Mr Sharif should take pause and not be part of any dark and sinister conspiracy. It would not only be detrimental for democracy but Mr Sharif’s future would be at stake too.