The attention right now is focused on what has gone before, but the revelations of Mehran Bank shameful scandal are going to cast their shadow on some key politicians and linked with them overall political landscape of the country. The leader of PML-N, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, who kept repeating the mantra of politics of principles and presented an image of Mr. clean about himself, is the most hard-hit. Mr. Habib has claimed that Rs3.5 million were paid to Nawaz Sharif, the amount what he declared was meant to pitch Molwis against PPP-led by late Benazir Bhutto. The reaction of PML-N to this spate of allegations is only spewing clichés and repeating ad nauseum the corruption of present government.
Jamaat-i-Islami whose nomenclature and the pronouncements of its leadership cast it to be more pious than pope, once again surfaced in such a scandal where shady financial transactions were said to have been made with the party. The names of late Pir Pagara, Jam Sadiq, Abida Hussain and other heavy weights and their sidekicks in 1990s have oiled the forked tongues of political chatter-class, but more serious segments of society wonder at this state of affairs, which did so much to spoil the country’s image and dogged the steps to consolidate the foundation of democracy in 1990s, and it is on that basis that the decade of 1990s is known as “the lost decade” in our history.
The PPP which feels elated at increasing its strength in the Senate must feel more confident in the wake of this episode as it directly affects the main opposition party. Corruption is one of the main allegation the current government is facing from the opposition, be it from PML-N or Jamaat-i-Islami, but Mehran Bank revelations have taken away this whip from the opposition with which to beat the government. It simply leads to the conclusion that now the government can heave a sigh of relief to release the pressure generated by Memogate and a looming threat from the opposition to launch some sort of popular movement to unseat the government.
It is incumbent on the apex court to delve deep into the Mehran Bank affair and take it to some logical conclusion so that one of the blots from our national politics is altogether removed and the criminals as well as their accomplices stand exposed even if they have to be punished no matter what their stature is. The past is used to guide the present and future, but as demonstrated by Mehran Bank, the politics of the country is still hostage to the past. Supreme Court has again found itself tasked to bury the past in a way that it does not reincarnate in shape of a bogey affecting the political dynamics of the country. As the case proceeds, more dust would be raised by the actors involved from all over the spectrum adding venom to already charged and polarised political discourse in the country.
Who got what and how in terms of financial irregularities is going to unfold, but at the same time an important question is that who will get what, when and how in coming months in terms of political mileage out of this issue. The political scene would surely get further noisy, but in the melee of fact and fiction, politicians are going to emerge with their image tarnished and stature reduced. This is going to be another shot in the arm of civilian dispensation regardless of party affiliation which is coping hard to assert its strength, competence and integrity vis-à-vis authoritarian military establishment, proactive judiciary, rabidly independent media, responsible civil society and growing popular frustration.
The scandal has exhumed the past, but now much is at stake to bury it again, and in the process, political environment of the country would get more complicated and mind-boggling, producing more disappointment at the corruption of politicians and rancour at the palace intrigues initiated and engineered by the military establishment.