In such a system, even steps like Mr. Sharif’s removal, which nominally reinforce accountability and the rule of law, can deepen decidedly undemocratic norms.
Though justice prevailed, so did perceptions that it is applied selectively. Though corruption was punished, so was, in the eyes of many of Mr. Sharif’s supporters, defiance of the military.
The country has shown it can lawfully remove a prime minister, but it has also shown that voters, who have been allowed to decide only one peaceful transfer of power, still have their leaders selected for them. They are spectators foremost, and participants only occasionally, in their country’s democracy.
Accountability as a tool
Many Pakistanis quickly noticed something that suggested Mr. Sharif’s removal might perpetuate, rather than end, the undemocratic norms that have plagued Pakistan for decades.
The Supreme Court has pursued Mr. Sharif but sidestepped many of