NEW DELHI: An Excerpt from ‘The Gist‘, with Sushant Sareen, Senior Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in conversation with StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi.
Watch the full conversation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w0T-Ripaoo&t=443s
APR: You’ve written about two possible precedents that the Supreme Court could follow.
SS: Yeah, broadly, actually, there are three and let me just lay them out for you. The first is what the Supreme Court should actually be doing. Because what happened on Sunday was a patently unconstitutional and illegal act. Now, ideally, the Supreme Court should say, look, this was a complete travesty of the Constitution. And we are striking this down. So everything which followed from this is void. And we restore the assemblies and the no vote of no confidence has to go through and the entire procedures and processes laid down in the Constitution have to be followed through. That would be an ideal situation, but I would be pleasantly surprised if the courts were to do that. Because if they don’t rule it unconstitutional and illegal, it means that from tomorrow the speaker in any house in Pakistan is a virtual dictator. He can just do anything and there are enough crazy people including Imran Khan in Pakistan, who do crazy things. So there is no hindrance or obstacle in the path of the Speaker. The second possible option is that the court rules that whatever happened on Sunday was illegal, unconstitutional, and they pass some judgment saying that something like this cannot happen again and that the Speaker’s conduct is justiciable. It is subject to judicial review, but because the election process has started, we are not going to interfere with that. And we will go in for fresh elections, as per the constitutional schedules. That would be what you can call the middle ground. What that would mean is that basically the Supreme Court is doing Imran Khan a favour, essentially playing into his hand, because that is precisely what the government is expecting. The third option, but it does leave open the scope that whichever government comes in next can use this judgment to open cases against these people and plus it sets certain constitutional parameters, which cannot be violated by the speaker. The third option cannot also be ruled out because at least two of the judges are complete scoundrels because if you look at the kind of utterances they’re making, they’re completely disingenuous. And the third option is that court rules that whatever happened was fine. It was well within the right of the Speaker to pass that ruling. And it was all perfectly kosher, which means that everything happened as per the Constitution, and that you can go forward. I think that will be a bit of an overkill from even this Supreme Court. But I think the second option is what perhaps is more likely, although I won’t entirely rule out the first but I’ll be pleasantly surprised because Pakistani judges, you know what kind of people. The kind of judgments they’ve given in the past or are you know, are laughable and uproarious.
APR: Just going to take some questions from viewers for you. This one is from Global office 2.0. He or she feels the establishment allowed him to do a set drama so in the next election he is brought back. Your thoughts.
SS: I really wish what global office 2.0 is saying is correct. Because, if the Pakistan establishment is as stupid as global office thinks it is, then I think it’s a slam dunk for us. Because of the kind of mismanagement, the kind of misgovernance, the kind of astounding corruption which Imran Khan and his cronies have done and you are just getting a slight hint of the kind of stuff his wife and her friends have done. His wife’s former family. I don’t know if the word former families is correct. But the kind of stuff, which her former husband and her son and others have done. The amount of wealth they’ve amassed over the last three and a half years. It’s amazing. It’s crazy. It makes your mind boggle with the scale of corruption. And then of course there are a range of other corrupt deals, the crony capitalism which Imran Khan promoted. Now, if all of that is perfectly kosher. Great. Going forward, he has already punctured holes in the relationship with the West. He has taken Islamism to a new high and he’s done virtually everything to shake the foundations of Pakistan. Now if the establishment is okay with that. Then absolutely fabulous. I don’t think India can ask for more. I think that’s an ideal situation as far as we are concerned and I would be rooting for him. I want him to win again and come back with a bigger majority. Take his megalomania to new levels, and mess up things even more than what he has done. As they say in hindi ‘jitni bhi kasar chchod di ti’, if he completes that in the next term. I don’t think anything can be better than that. But, I suspect that the Pakistani military is not that stupid. They may be officers in the Pakistani military, especially some of the retired ones who were passed over and are harbouring their own frustrations and stuff. They might want something like this, but I think the guys who are running the show in Pakistan right now, and the guys who are likely to run the show in the future. I think that they understand the hole in which Pakistan finds itself and then getting Imran back will be digging the hole deeper rather than getting out of the hole.
APR: You’ve answered Kunal Yadav’s question. What’s your opinion on Imran being good for India?