Sunday, March 3, 2024

Churning in Pakistan


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Pakistan is into a deep churning, again, in the run-up to the February-2024 general elections. The eligibility of two top leaders – former prime minister Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif – to contest the polls is in serious doubt as they have been barred from such forays for five years or more by courts in corruption cases. Imran Khan has been put in judicial remand again on Tuesday in a case in which he “misrepresented” the gifts he got during foreign visits as PM. Sharif is caught in corruption cases exposed via the Panama Papers leak. Both are facing several other cases too. It is a moot point whether, ever, any Indian politician would be dragged to court, arrested or jailed in corruption cases, other than exceptions like Lalu Prasad Yadav and Bangaru Laxman, who apparently did not have godfathers to protect them in the higher seats of authority or were left to their fate for various reasons.
In India, politicians as a rule escape from the arms of law, and even those in the Opposition are having the right connections to deflect the course of justice. They have the wherewithal to undercut the investigation process itself. Pakistan is a hugely corrupt nation, with its leaders and military generals siphoning off hefty sums abroad for their personal investment and business. Those like Nawaz Sharif are rich and feudal landlords by themselves. Former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was exterminated by hanging based on court conviction. His daughter Benazir Bhutto fell like a fly to the raining bullets of unidentified killers when she landed in the country after long years of exile in the UAE. She arrived there to fight the polls. Nawaz Sharif served repeated terms of exile following court verdicts. Military dictator Zia-Ul-Haq died in a helicopter crash, when a bomb was placed on the aircraft in the form of a “basket of ripe mangoes”, as a “gift” from a military general’s wife.
India too has its tragic moments like the killings of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, and more importantly the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. The undercurrents of the murders of such Indian leaders were never fully explained. Be that as it may, fact is also that India is a “safe haven” for the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. The judicial system has enough loopholes that help the high and mighty escape the arms of law. In effect, the strength of our law enforcement is limited, per se, to targeting the weak, the disadvantaged and downtrodden sections of the society. The rest allegedly is drama. Cases are dragged, as a norm, for decades before the final order is given. It’s a shame on the nation!


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