For shame – 15 Apr 2023

`TOMORROW, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace.` The people must continue their wait; the country`s elites are not done playing their games. Never before has it been more evident that the institutions meant to be keeping the country together have no qualms about ripping it apart from within. As they continue to fight, a dark despondency suffocates the air. Hope for a turnaround in the country`s fortunes falters and may soon be snuffed out. After Thursday`s ruling from the Supreme Court, it is clear that there are no rules in play. Each branch of the state is defiantly operating well out of its bounds, seemingly only to spite the other. Nothing seems to give, despite warning after warning that the country will take years to recover from the current mess if those responsible do not stop starting fires they cannot possibly contain.

It is deeply disappointing that eight justices of the Supreme Court thought it acceptable to venture so far from precedent just to beat back a provocation from the government. As the ultimate arbiter on all disputes, the institution is bound to much higher standards of conduct than both the legislature and the executive. If eight judges felt so strongly about the `prima facie` defectiveness of the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Bill passed by parliament, they should have trusted their remaining seven colleagues to concur whenever the matter was brought to the court once it became law. Instead, the bench not only made it seem like the judiciary was shaking its fist at the government, but also that it lacked trust in the other honourable justices of the Supreme Court.

It has been difficult for ordinary people to keep up with each sordid twist of the tiresome war in Islamabad. For many, an unshakable dread of the future and the hunger gnawing at their insides are the only `real` outcomes of the institutional clashes that have dominated headlines over the past year or so.

Their frustration is not going to be tempered by drawing their attention to the nuances of the power-sharing arrangement between the branches of the state. The crippling helplessness the majority undoubtedly feel right now will eventually give way to rage against the status quo. If the people start feeling like they have nothing lef t to lose, chaos and violence will follow. This is a situation that must be avoided at all costs. Our judges, generals, politicians and bureaucrats ought to be ashamed. Their selfserving ambitions and blind pursuit of power have been a blight on this nation. Their continued bickering will wreck the country.

Pakistan cannot afford more of its citizens turning against the state. Those responsible for ensuring this country`s well-being would do well to heed that warning.

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