Pause, sirs, and ponder By I.A. Rehman
Dawn, 24 Dec, 2009
The fact that in its response to the Supreme Court judgment of Dec 16 the nation is divided cannot be denied, and prudence demands that the causes of this division should not be brushed aside without careful scrutiny.
A large section of society believes that Pakistan has become a corruption-free entity and a judicially controlled democracy while a none-too-small section feels deeply hurt. Much can be said for and against both sides.
The hailers are largely guided by their desire to wipe off the shame of becoming one of the most corrupt states in the world. They appear full of zeal for righteousness. However, they will do their cause enormous harm if they fall for the universally repudiated view that the ends always justify the means. The people of Pakistan paid a heavy price for taking this route when they welcomed the usurpation of power by Ayub Khan, Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf.
The wailers are largely moved by the apparent setback to their group. They think the law has been used for a political purpose. They have strong memories of the Tamizuddin and Nusrat Bhutto cases and the judgment against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. They could be wrong. However, they will do themselves enormous harm if they appear to be defending corrupt persons or practices.
Somewhere between the two extremes stand those who wish to make sure that good intentions do not lead to the dreaded hell. Some of them have a longer record of denouncing corrupt rulers and condemning the NRO than the born-yesterday anti-vice squad. They believe the NRO was a bad law, that it should not have been made, that no one claiming public support should have sought to benefit from it and that those who made this obnoxious law as well as its beneficiaries should pay for their lapses.
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