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EditorialPolitical chaos after Shahbaz Gill's arrest

Political chaos after Shahbaz Gill’s arrest

In the game of politics, the adventurism of verbal attacks on perceived adversaries and institutions has picked up momentum. Who will define the limit for verbal criticism and liberty of free speech as well as institutions’ domain to act in cases of perpetual nature? Surely, our state has a constitution and all institutions are bound to comply with all laws enshrined in the ‘sacred pact’. Here comes the role of the guardian of the constitution which is the judiciary. The judiciary holds the prime responsibility to ensure that all institutions work within their domain as per law and no individual is meted out illegal treatment.

The case of PTI chief Imran Khan’s chief of staff, Shahbaz Gill, who was arrested by police on charges of sedition and inciting the public against the state institutions, comes as a test case for defining the limit of free speech and the domain of institutions in tackling this narrative. Political chaos has already been created after his arrest.

In fact, political rivalries have always proved a headache for other institutions as the latter are pressurised to either take sides with a certain party or stay neutral. In any case, they continually face criticism from either side. Earlier, during the government of Imran Khan, it was the leadership of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led by Nawaz Sharif that had launched an onslaught against the establishment. There is a record of speeches made by former premier Nawaz Sharif, who directly hurled allegations of subversion of the law against the military leadership. Later, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), which mainly comprises the PML-N, the Pakistan People’s Party and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F), leaders repeatedly made speeches and passed scornful remarks against the judiciary and the military establishment.

In this power struggle, mainstream media is also acting as a stakeholder and media tycoons allegedly present news feed while keeping in view their political affiliation, though they claim to be neutral. Electronic media channels’ bias becomes evident when a political news item is presented to the general public from two different angles. Despite their alleged bias, electronic media has to abide by certain editorial policy and media watchdog policies while presenting programmes but such limits prove useless for the social media that becomes out of control and cross all limits while trolling institutions. Thus, it has become a perpetual game of interest for all stakeholders. In contrast, the country has become a playing field for such adventurism and the masses suffer due to the wrangling among various stakeholders.

In this situation, the main responsibility lies on politicians that they should not indulge in politics of blame games and pressurising state institutions to take sides with a certain party. They need to resolve all their issues in the parliament instead of using other platforms. At the same time, all state institutions need to work within their domain. Any intervention by the establishment that involves any human rights violation should neither be allowed nor welcomed. No institution should act in an arbitrary style to handle the mess created by politicians. Only the rule of law can guarantee the continuation of the system. Alternatively, there will be utter chaos everywhere.

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