The disqualification of Yusuf Raza Gilani as Prime Minister by the Pakistan Supreme Court in the wake of his conviction for contempt is a good sign for the country’s democracy, which has always been seen as fragile. The verdict shows that the judiciary means business. It will serve as a lesson to politicians who have no respect for any institution.
Adfar Rashid Shah
While the Pakistan People’s Party and its allies are agitated over the judgment, the Opposition is jubilant. The PPP has swung into action in search of a successor. Although a political vacuum has been created, there has been no untoward incident following the verdict. The army, which normally tries to take advantage of such situations, is silent. Democracy in Pakistan is very much alive and kicking.
Mr. Gilani’s disqualification as Prime Minister is likely to escalate the confrontation between the government and the judiciary and plunge Pakistan in turmoil. Although the ruling was along expected lines, the PPP accepting the verdict was a surprise.
Judicial activism in Pakistan is a welcome sign. The judiciary should also ensure that democracy remains stable in the country. The government, on its part, should act more responsibly.
A suspect democracy, Pakistan has plunged into further crisis adding to the existing chaos and anarchy. It is not good news for India as the developments may portend danger. We need to tread cautiously and pick up signals and symptoms of trouble so that we are not caught unawares.
Political consultations are on in Pakistan to find a successor to Mr. Gilani. It is satisfying to note that the country, known for its weak democracy, is moving in the right direction.
It would be interesting to recollect the Allahabad High Court order which disqualified Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. It marked the darkest moment of Indian democracy, followed by its murder under the Emergency. Our leaders can learn a lesson or two from the fact that Mr. Gilani and his Cabinet gave up their official protocol immediately after the verdict was pronounced and the former Prime Minister moved out of his official residence before midnight.
Abdul Kalam tarnished his illustrious image a little by opting out of the presidential race only after it became evident that the numbers were not favourable to him. He has done further damage by writing to Mamata Banerjee (June 20) thanking her for proposing his name. It is unfortunate that he fails to recognise that Didi’s action was a mischievous one, borne out of her unstable nature.
Mr. Kalam has shown what it takes to be a statesman. He has done the right thing by not falling to the temptation of fighting the presidential election which has virtually been won by Pranab Mukherjee. The Trinamool Congress and the BJP supported him only to serve their selfish needs. The heartening part of the election is that the ailing finances of the country will now move out of Mr. Mukherjee’s hands.
Akshay J. Antony,
The bizarre twists in the run-up to the presidential elections have been frustrating. The UPA could not make up its mind promptly. The NDA’s position is worse. Ms Banerjee, for her part, created a mess. Only a consensus candidate will reflect the maturity of our democracy. The NDA should support Mr. Mukherjee. P.A Sangma should gracefully withdraw from the race.
One of the few who still command respect for their honesty and integrity in the UPA government is Pranab Mukherjee. Another leader whose honesty is beyond doubt is our Prime Minister.
We hope that the Pranab-Manmohan duo will make valiant efforts to resurrect the UPA’s lost credibility.
The presidential race would have done great injustice to the image of Mr. Kalam, who is loved by the country and is internationally acclaimed as an outstanding figure. The turn of events should make the Trinamool Congress rethink its stance and encourage Ms Banerjee to display a more positive attitude and join hands with the UPA to elect a President without a contest,
Rev. Dr. Colin L. Raymond,
A man of Mr. Kalam’s stature should certainly not contest an election that he is likely to lose. Mr. Mukherjee is certainly the frontrunner in the presidential race.
The moment we hear the phrase ‘domestic violence,’ the picture of yesteryear heroines in tattered outfits falling at their husbands’ feet for mercy comes to our mind. But society has come a long way, thanks to the economic independence of women. It is rather strange that lawmakers are blind while making laws to safeguard women as an equal number of men are victims of domestic violence. It may sound like an exaggeration when I quote the incidence of a 90-year-old widower who was sent to a mental asylum after his daughter-in-law accused him of trying to molest her. Isn’t the old man a victim of domestic violence? What about a poor old widow pushed to the old age home by her daughter-in-law? Or a child starved to death because she scored low marks? These are examples of modern domestic violence.
It is shameful that even after 64 years of Independence, the ugly spectre of domestic violence against women continues unabated and occupies centre stage in debates. The only solution to this evil is education and empowerment of women.
Information on women’s rights should be disseminated through the visual medium. Increased awareness will make women more assertive. Like the dowry menace, domestic violence can also be eliminated only gradually. Celebrities should lend active support to stop this atrocity.