The Nation, Lahore

October 9, 1997, Lahore, Pakistan



Unnecessary Battles


Dr. Rana Jawad Asghar

Last summer when I was back home I was addicted to a newer version of a computer game, "Civilization II". I spend many hours and hours at night playing that game. To win this game you need to make appropriate decisio ns at the right moments otherwise you are too late to do any thing. If your exposure to computer game is confined just to "Shoot them up" games where you fire on every thing that is moving you may not imagine how drastically the computer has changed the e lectronic game scene. This is a sort of role playing game. You start as a tribal leader or you may be a king of a small state and then you have to build your empire by making many important decisions at proper timings. You have to build roads so that ther e is better communication between your cities. You have to have farming to feed your people. You need education so that you could advance in science and technology. Your cities swell with populations with time and you have to provide them with sewer lines and safe water supply. You need to have a good tax plan that may not be so high that people will revolt against you and not so little that your treasury is out of money. You have to decide between a new unit of army or to build a caravan for the trade. E ven in deciding about army units you need to decide between particular units like defending units or attack units like chariots or cavalry. All your decision counts very much in deciding the fate of game. There are attacking mercenaries that will destroy your villages and cities if you donít have enough armies to defend. But if you have too big army and it is using all your resources you will be left far behind in science and technology, so other armies will be equipped with guns and tanks and you still b e fighting with swords and arrows and will be no match to them. But your cities also need lot of other things. They need a good independent legal system. If you donít build it people of the city will be dissatisfied with the ruler and there may be a revol t. And when there is a disturbance in the city, it stops all the production. So if you were building an army unit or a new ship or an education system it will stop working. If there is disturbance in the cities the foreign spies will have an easy chance t o take away your secrets. The other interesting factor in the game is that if you donít have a good legal system, the corruption flourish and then sometime the opposite armies bribe your armed units or officers to change sides. So to make sure that you ha ve a population, who is loyal to you, you need a good and independent legal system. Lets today limit us to this example only.

I have absolutely no reservations about Nawaz Shariffís sincerity and his good intentions. He really wantís to transform this nation . He wants to enter in the year 2000 with a new Pakistan, which is moving to the ri ght direction. He wants that Pakistan leaves its image of a backward country to an advanced country. He wants to throw away our beggarís image and make our nation a living nation. Who could possibly argue with these noble intentions? He also doesnít want to waste any time. He wants to move forward but then he forgets that its ruling class for very long has abused this nation and country. Everything is falling apart. It may take longer to heal the wounds of this nation before it is ready for a journey to t he next millennium.

As a doctor or a physician if a patient comes to me with multiple injuries I have to decide which injury is more life threatening for the patient and I have to deal with it first. Patient life depends on how I decide my priorities. It m akes sense too. If a patient is bleeding profusely and has all the broken limbs too, my first priority should be either to stop the blood loss or compensate the loss with more blood or fluids if I am unable to stop the blood loss in the first place. I wou ld be stupid if I start thinking about his broken legs or caring them. First save life, everything else comes later.

Nawaz Shariff as a Prime Minister is like a doctor of this nation. The nation, which is not in, a good condition at all. The nation which really need resuscitation. He has to make his priorities very clear. Even if he has some personal qualms about the superior judiciary he could address these issues later. People have not elected him to run a battle with Judiciary. They have not given him mandate to subjugate the judiciary. His mandate is very clear. People want an honest administratio n and a good economy. He needs to focus on these issues. But these are difficult to achieve. Like every Government in the past he is successful in having some "not so desirable" advisors and ministers. Ministers whose past record does not show that they c ould deliver anything better to this nation.

And one could see with dismay now that these so called advisers and ministers have created an unnecessary rift between the judiciary and administration. No one could argue that parliament has the constitutional right to fix the number o f judges in the Supreme Court. But even a person with mediocre intelligence could understand the fact that we need more judges and not less judges. So if the parliament decides that we need more judges so that our people donít have to wait for a hearing f or many years, no one could oppose that. But when you want to decrease the judges so drastically that we may not even have one Supreme Court judge for one crore of our population. Then you are not exercising your constitutional right; you just want to con trol the judiciary. The inept and corrupt administration is successful in making you believe that unless you control the judiciary you cant do anything.

But Judiciary has got its independence through a natural process. History shows us that you canít roll back the process of liberty. Human beings when taste this independence are very reluctant to surrender their freedom to anyone. Let t he process of democratisation move forward. That is the only way Pakistan could prosper and remember Democracy does not mean only having a parliament it also means an Independent judiciary.

I still have hope in Prime Ministerís leadership and sincerity and my wish is that he may choose his priorities right. There are lots of important issues, which need to be addressed. Save the Life of this nation first and donít waste yo ur time dealing with matters which are not life threatening.


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