Many people ask how and when and who will make Nawaz Sharif fall. I say, have faith in natural justice. Most of our prime ministers have arisen from their beds in the morning not knowing that they would not go to sleep in the prime ministerial bed that night – one went to bed as prime minister and was awoken to be told that he had been deposed.
So sez the wise old man of Karachi in pre-coup 1999. His words are relevant as Pakistan seems to be entering into a similar stage of crisis right now. Of course Natural Justice is simply euphemistic-speak for “army coup” as can be seen by earlier paragraphs in the same op-ed (“Jilani, who died last week, did us a good turn when, as Bhutto’s favourite chief of the ISI, he kept his COAS, General Zia-ul-Haq informed of the destruction planned by Bhutto and gave him enough warning for him to act as he did on July 5 1977”)
Anyway, let’s focus on the phrase natural justice. Natural justice suggests that their exists some politically neutral custodian to administer it. Quite clearly, the Cowasjee of 1999 did believe that this custodian does, in fact, exist. And therein lies the problem you see. The issue is not THE ARMY. The issue is the role of the army as the custodian of the national interest (interestingly in the eyes of groups and individuals with widely differing views on what the national interest is!), prepared to administer natural justice whenever necessary.
[In any case, the irony is that the situation which Cowasjee compares to the outbreak of World War I was of course engineered by the very person he is not so subtly calling on to topple the PML-N government which surely was incidental to Kargil at best! ]