The Future of Democracy is Endangered

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Mushahidullah and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, a PML-N member of the National Assembly are meeting with Saleem Safi, the Geo TV anchor and analyst with a critical streak toward prime minister Imran Khan and his ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

The topic is PTI’s reluctance to appoint the leader of the opposition and former PML-N chief minister of Punjab Shehbaz Sharif, as chairman of the all-important parliamentary Public Accounts Committee.

Safi opens the discussion, “Prime minister Abbasi and Senator Mushahidullah you are so right that there is no justification deny Shehbaz Sharif his due chairmanship of the all-important parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

“Imran Khan’s arguments hold no basis. He is saying that Shehbaz Sharif is facing numerous probes. What is wrong in someone auditing his own projects?”

Abbasi adds, “Saleem you are so right. Auditing your own projects is fundamental to the survival of democracy and will strengthen democracy in Pakistan. Consider my personal example, Im my house, I always deploy my cat to guard the milk.”

Senator Mushahidullah roars, “None of us is against Pakistan. It is the institutions that are fighting with Pakistan as they are against our party and the Sharif family… they are merely using PTI as a front. This Saqib Nisar [Supreme Court Chief Justice] is playing the role of facilitator. We are seeing the complete failure of the PTI government in just 100 days. It is really frustrating.

“I will insist that if the government does not appoint our Shehbaz Sharif as PAC chair, then this government should be dismissed.”

Safi slips in another questions, “What do say about NAB [National Accountability Bureau].”

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is quick to declare, “This NAB is a black law and it should be abolished. Just look at it. Shehbaz Sharif is leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, and first they got him under the Ashiana Iqbal Housing case… the this Saaf-Pani case was added and now Ramzan Sugar Mills corruption case as well.

“This is nitpicking. How can democracy function!”

Safi questions, “Imran Khan is arguing that how he can let a corrupt person to be the PAC chair.”

Abbasi states, “It is the NAB that is being used by these anti-Pakistan elements. Did you see that during the Ashiana hearing, the NAB prosecutor informs the court that Shehbaz was nominated and is under arrest in the sugar mills case.”

Safi offers, “PTI supporters are saying that they voted for Imran Khan to make the politicians and past rulers accountable and not to make them chairmen.”

Senator Mushahidullah thunders again, “Saleem, this Imran Khan is dismantling the status quo. How will democracy survive in this cauldron of accusations, arrests and trials?

“Saleem, you will see how I will roar that how do you think democracy will survive when all the champions of democracy are hounded by all these accusations.

“If Shehbaz Sharif is not appointed as PAC chair, the atmosphere in the assembly will remain dreary and the legislative process will come to a halt as the government has a very small majority.”

Safi asks, “Do you think that Imran Khan is still behaving like an opposition leader or a party head. He should start behaving like a prime minister. Mr. Abbasi, you have been prime minister, this was not your way. We did not see such behavior from either Nawaz Sharif  or Asif Zardari.

“As you see that journalists are dying. Their stuffed envelopes have not been delivered since Imran Khan took oath as prime minister.”

Mushahidullah roars once again, “Our party must be given its due. At the federal level, the younger brother will audit the performance of his older brother, and in Punjab, our Hamza… the son will audit Shehbaz’s performance… his father’s performance.

“So what if Shehbaz is in jail, and Hamza may also end up there, when many of our members will join them too. They can convene their committee meetings behind bars!”

They are about ring off, when Mushahidullah roars, “I will keep insisting that Shehbaz Sharif can be facing numerous probes, and I will repeat what my brother Abbasi said that the Sharif brothers auditing their own projects is fundamental to the survival of democracy and it will strengthen democracy in Pakistan. Otherwise, the future of democracy is endangered.”

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