Like numerous other Pakistanis, my family has gone through the turmoil of our land, and on another occasion, our house getting illegally possessed. After some resistance we gave it away just to stay out of even more trouble. We couldn’t even dream of affording a lawyer to file a petition. For obvious reasons, we wouldn’t have even if we could afford one.
Today, I consider myself politically equipped enough to have an opinion about what is going on around, and on certain issues I do quite distress as well. However, despite the fact that I comfortably make my ends meet now, it has never occurred to me that I should invest my money and time into moving the court regarding issues that, selfishly speaking, do not directly concern me.
This makes me wonder who this aam shehri is, who files the most khaas and vastly meaningful petitions of all. The last I read of him in the newspapers before he took on Google and Youtube was when he petitioned that the Chief Justice should be awarded an extension considering the service time he lost after Musharraf sacked him. This hasn’t yet been taken up by the court but it hasn’t been rejected either. So the hope is very much alive and kicking.
On another occasion, right after the military captured Mullah Baradar, our beloved common citizen filed a petition in the Lahore High Court that nobody should be allowed to handover to US any suspect caught in Pakistan. The lordships agreed to it.
And who can forget the letter this aam shehri sent to the CJ during the hearing of the famous memo case which, in the ultimate analysis, proved more decisive than Mike Mullen’s statement.
This aam shehri is not only politically well versed but has a keen and insightful interest in arts and humanities as well. If it wasn’t for him, the Nach Panjaban nach song would still be falsely portraying the Punjabi woman all over the world. And who says our legal system is slow! If I remember it correctly, Abrar-ul-Haq had to change it to Nach Majajan nach no later than after the second hearing.
A few things can be concluded about this common citizen. From his petition-filing record, it can be easily deduced that the aam shehri either prefers the Lahore High Court or he is a Punjabi himself (if not both). Exceptions are there, but they prove the rule, if anything. The petition against President Zardari for keeping more than one office, for instance, is also being heard in the Lahore High Court. Which proves two additional points: One, that nobody in Sindh cares how many offices Zardari has kept to himself; and two, Punjabis are more patriotic (this second one was always beyond doubt).
The latest not-so-subtle exchange of words between the Chief of Army Staff and the Chief Justice of Pakistan is making me wonder if another petition from the aam shehri isn’t imminent. All Pakistanis are once again looking towards the common citizen to guide them out of this impasse when all others have failed the nation.
The author is a journalist, director/producer, actor, documentary maker, blogger/columnist, managing director of a theatre company called Mishermayl and a struggling musician.
The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.