In the insane public debacle that was Nawaz and Maryam’s homecoming, there have been too many updates to keep track of. These past 24 hours, Twitter has played a critical role in shaping public sentiment. Whether it is creating unwarranted fear through uncorroborated claims or dropping in snippets of thought-provoking questions, Twitter has provided all. While spreading the fake news is futile, certain thought-provoking tweets have us wondering about the state of justice, democracy, and accountability generally.
First up, VIP protocol and a comfortable journey to Adiala.
Abu Dhabi airport. pic.twitter.com/CtUK3vCkMu
— Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) July 13, 2018n th
PML-N Quaid Muhammad Nawaz Sharif got full VIP protocol from the UAE government. pic.twitter.com/oZ1Tx9flFx
— PML(N) (@pmln_org) July 13, 2018
The fact that Maryam Nawaz has been overly active on Twitter this past day is quite an enigma. Certainly, Nawaz and Maryam were trying to rile up their supporters by constantly being in touch with them. But, this particular tweet raises questions about elitism and accountability. What message is it sending to the public?
Moreover, is UAE’s capital, the hub of epic elitism, supposed to be the benchmark of how to treat future prisoners in Pakistan? Or are they trying to say that even Abu Dhabi implicitly disagrees to the court’s decision to apprehend the two?
Questions of democratic and media freedom were also on the line.
As an opponent i should say pml n should be allowed as much freedom as nawaz sharif allowed political opponents in model town & Islamabad but unlike NS i actually believe in democracy . Pml n should have freedom of assembly as guaranteed in the constitution
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) July 13, 2018
Worse than any martial law. Political supporters of PMLN being arrested in their hundreds. Mobile networks ordered blocked tomorrow. Highways being blocked. Containers placed on all major roads of Lahore. Adverts & speeches of PMLN banned.All because Nawaz Sharif arrives tomorrow
— Gul Bukhari (@GulBukhari) July 12, 2018
The neutrality of the caretaker government is under question. Throngs of arrests and media censorship ahead of the arrests had people questioning the despotic tendencies of the existing government. While security is certainly the priority, the government is there to serve the public, not vice-versa. A senseless crackdown on media covering masses of people on the streets is far from democracy. Its border-line dictatorial control of the institutions that are meant to serve the public.
This speculation by Imran Khan himself has us wondering as well.
Beginning to wonder why whenever Nawaz Sharif is in trouble, there is increasing tension along Pakistan’s borders and a rise in terrorist acts? Is it a mere coincidence?
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) July 13, 2018
However, we aren’t pondering over the contents of his tweet. Rather, we are wondering the need for such speculative fear mongering at such a sensitive time. This wasn’t the time to draw parallels Khan sahab.
Also, thought-provoking is Shehbaz Sharif’s rather late entry at the scene.
Lahore roared today against injustice today! pic.twitter.com/uCRMMET98L
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) July 13, 2018
The hours leading up to the arrest had everyone wondering where Nawaz’s younger brother Shehbaz was. Shehbaz had earlier promised to be in Lahore to receive his brother upon landing. He was, however, missing in action throughout. He only came up with a series of tweets after Nawaz had already reached Adiala and Maryam was confined to Sihala house. Such tweets seem to be a scrambling, yet futile effort to restore PML-N’s public image. So, question is, has the political dynasty of the Sharif’s finally seen its downfall? Or are they willingly playing into the narrative of oppression to come back with a bang soon?
These four cherry-picked instances have revealed much about the state of politics in the country. Political opportunism turned ugly these past 24 hours, as did political partisanship. The symbolism of the high profile arrests was glaringly dramatic as well. It had us questioning how justice, like all other things, is classist in Pakistan. Most importantly, the general questions of democratic freedoms are looming over everyone’s heads. And, those are perhaps questions we must collectively seek answers to as Pakistanis and not just supporters of specific parties.
*Feature Image Source: GlobalVillagesSpace.com*