By Humayun Gauhar
Last week, my mood was foul. This week, I’m laughing. Why shouldn’t I? Exactly what I said would happen is happening, not because I am privy to the pedestrian ‘scripts’ written by silly superpowers themselves in terminal decline but because I can read the script written in the genes of human societies by the DNA of societal evolution. One can if one is lucky enough to have led a life that teaches one to read the map of the societal genome. “On the infinite stage of space, matter is giving a performance and its dance is called ‘time’.”
We always tend to confuse the system with the state. Look, it is the system that is unraveling, not the state. All this system needed to expose its unviability was to be allowed to work unhindered. So don’t waste time looking for scriptwriters and orchestra conductors. They are part of the script. I don’t take superpower scripts seriously because they are mostly pie in the sky – wishful thinking about how they would like the world to be rather than what it is. Scripts written by people and powers have a habit of going awry because their authors habitually change and lose control. They don’t realize that their own scripts are also written in the genome of societal evolution, each civilization, empire and superpower having a finite life.
Why should I not be happy? My destroyer is destroying himself. My destroyer is the system and the iniquitous status quo that it begets. When he goes my chances of getting the beloved will improve – I hope.
To go naturally is the best way to go. Murder makes martyrs and gives the system a longer lease to shorten my life. I’ve always said that this system must be allowed to demonstrate its inherent unviability and kill itself. It’s taken just four years for it to do so. It’s worse than I imagined, because the rulers it throws up are worse than we ever imagined.
‘They’ destroyed the prime minister. ‘They’ destroyed the politicians. ‘They’ are destroying the judiciary. ‘They’ will turn on the army and the media. I’m afraid the people who run these institutions give ‘them’ the ammunition to destroy them. Why did the prime minister allow his family rampant? Why does the president play a political role? Why are the parliamentarians paralyzed and at the mercy of their party bosses? How come the chief justice does not know about his son’s goings on?
What goes round comes round. Suddenly, what many of us had been hearing in whispers about the Chief Justice and his son became a loud din. He had to take suo moto or self-notice yet again, this time on his son, exactly one year after he had taken suo moto notice against Atiqa Odho on a facetious issue simply to ‘get’ Musharraf. When she was saying, “I do” last week at her marriage, the Chief Justice was face-to-face with his son in his own court making claims that would test our intelligence and strain our credulity – I don’t know about my son’s business dealings and all that jazz. Sad.
If they really want to save the system, which they should since it benefits them only, rulers should learn to make sacrifices. When the president fell ill he should have resigned. He chose not to for a few more months of pomp and glory signifying nothing. Doesn’t surprise me in the least. He behaved according to type, unburdened by tradition. When the Supreme Court, rightly or wrongly, convicted the prime minister of contempt, he should have resigned to save the system. He chose not to for a few more months of pomp and glory. Doesn’t surprise me in the least. He too behaved according to type, unburdened by any such tradition. He did not even realize that by not choosing to appeal against his conviction he tacitly admitted his guilt. That is how history will judge him.
Now, to expect us to believe that the chief justice really did not know of his incompetent son Arsalan’s relationship with the real estate developer Malik Riaz is to assume that we are all soft in the head. And, if it indeed does transpire that the chief justice really did not know what his son was up to, then he must be soft in the head. As Arif Nizami said, it is a failure of parenting. Young Arsalan was at the centre of Musharraf’s charge sheet against the chief justice that he never bothered to answer. Arsalan is again at the centre of the row today that could take the entire judiciary down. Has the chief justice in all his honest innocence forgotten that not too long ago his son was trying to become a policeman, but failed? Or is he not aware of that either. That too was, to put a fine point on it, not too kosher, was it. Did the chief justice not realize it then either? How innocent. How simple. How naive. Does it not occur to him to wonder how his incompetent son has suddenly become such a rich and successful businessman, he who could not find his way out of a brown paper bag? I ask again: does he really expect us to believe that he really didn’t know what his son was up to? For how long does he think that he can make a fool out of this country? Where are those Liquid Propane Gasbags of his that later went over to the prime minister for seven pieces of copper and misled him?
Only low life forms kick a man when he is down. I certainly am not about to start. Sure I too have heard all the gossip about the probity of the chief justice and his son. But gossip is not proof. Until such time that wrongdoing has been established beyond the shadow of a doubt and under due process I will not hold either the father or the son guilty. Let it become a case first and be proved in a lawfully constituted court. We should not allow any injustice to befall the chief justice because he is, first and foremost a human being and then a Pakistani. He has the same rights as you and I, Musharraf or Atiqa Odho.
However, institutions are more important than individuals. To save the judiciary that he claims to so cherish from further embarrassment, the chief justice should either resign or go on leave until this kerfuffle has been sorted out. This is exactly what Musharraf asked him to do. He refused and became an unlikely hero – an antihero it is now transpiring. Now he is confronted with the same option. He should either step down or step aside to save the judiciary from further tarnish. If he and his son are exonerated, he can come back stronger. If not, he can stay out longer.