The plot thickens

When Pakistan’s Supreme Court gave orders for Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf’s arrest, the media was quick to raise a hullabaloo over the imminent ouster of yet another premier.

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Published: Sat 19 Jan 2013, 10:33 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:45 AM

But analysts intimately aware of Pakistan’s turbulent politics knew that this time around, the judiciary’s verdict will not be passively accepted. And this is exactly what is happening — Pakistan appears to be geared for another crisis as those occupying the top echelons of power hurl a volley of allegations, refutations and vitriol at each other.

National Accountancy Bureau chairman Fasih Bukhari has rejected the report of his own institution—the documentary evidence on which the court’s verdict was founded. Dismissing the NAB report on the rental power projects as “inaccurate” and bereft of adequate proof, Bukhari declared that it did not have the complete record of the case. And in another shocking development that has thickened the plot of this political saga, the NAB officer investigating the RPP cases was found dead on Friday. The investigative officer, Kamran Faisal, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling fan.

With Faisal’s mysterious death and Bokhari’s avowal, it seems like the clash between parliament and the judiciary will intensify. In the recent past, the Memogate case and the Swiss letter case — the proceedings of which have remarkably slowed down after the initial furor — threatened to bring down the already shaky foundations of the Pakistan People’s Party-led government but the latter has still withstood these debilitating attacks.

And even at the moment, the government looks ready to put up a strong resistance. Soon after the chief justice gave a ruling to arrest Ashraf and 15 others involved in the case, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira dismissed it by saying that the government had not received any order from the Supreme Court about the PM’s arrest. Much to the government’s relief, Bokhari’s rejection of the NAB report has bought it some more time for it to plan its next survival strategy till the forthcoming elections. Despite the innumerable blows it has faced, it seems like Pakistan’s democratic government will actually create history by completing its five-year tenure.

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