Why are you celebrating, Nawaz Sharif? It’s not over as yet!

Published: April 20, 2017

PML-N leaders celebrate SC verdict. PHOTO: TWITTER

PML-N leaders celebrate SC verdict. PHOTO: TWITTER PML-N leaders celebrate SC verdict. PHOTO: TWITTER

The long wait is finally over. The honorable judges have announced the verdict in the Panama Leaks case, and the overjoyed followers of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are distributing sweets under the assumption that their leader has been exonerated and declared innocent of any wrongdoing.

Dear Nawaz Sharif, they are wrong. It was a split verdict, and you escaped by the skin of your teeth. Two out of the five judges ruled that you should be disqualified, because you are not “sadiq” (honest) and “ameen” (upright) as required by the Constitution. The other three judges stated that further investigation is required and ordered for a judicial investigation team (JIT) to ascertain how money was sent by your family from Pakistan to Qatar, which ultimately resulted in the purchase of the London flats by your sons.

So then why are you celebrating, Mr Nawaz? Don’t you realise that your submissions to the honourable court have not been accepted, and you have not been declared completely innocent as yet? Three judges have been very polite, saying that there is not enough evidence yet to prove you guilty, and have given you time to produce credible information which could exonerate you. But it is doubtful if you’ll be able to do it, because if you did indeed have any such evidence, you would have produced it in court by now.

Do you know what a decent, upright man in a civilised country would have done if he’d been implicated in a corruption case? He would immediately have resigned until proven innocent. The prime minister of Iceland was one of those named as having an offshore company, and he had to resign. But you, of course, did not do so, thinking that you could buy your way out of trouble.

Right from the start, when the Panama Leaks surfaced about a year ago, you have tried your best to deflect people’s attention from the issue. You did not speak the truth in the National Assembly where you did not mention anything about your family’s involvement with the Qatar prince, you hemmed and hawed and said that your family had been victimised by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, as if that gave you the right to loot the people.

The nation has had enough, Mr Nawaz. The poor, toiling masses of course have no idea what Panamagate is, they are too concerned with trying to survive. But those who pay taxes are bitter at the fact that it was their money which has gone into making you and other politicians filthily rich. You have lost the high moral ground which makes you think that just because your party keeps winning by-elections, the people love you.

And I’m not the only one who thinks you should resign; even Imran Khan and Asif Ali Zardari are saying the same thing. According to Zardari,

“Today the nation has been deceived…On what grounds is PML-N celebrating and distributing sweets? Are they celebrating that two senior judges called for the prime minister’s disqualification?”

Don’t be selfish, Mr Nawaz. If you are not flexible enough and are determined not to let go, remember what happened to the obstinate Bhutto, whose intransigence first dismembered this country and then cost him his life. Please think of the country, which is in danger of sliding into a civil war if you are determined to cling to power, despite what the judges said today.

So do the honourable thing, Mr Nawaz. Just resign, move abroad, and live the good life, or you will come to a disgraceful end, like Ayub Khan and Bhutto did. The people of Pakistan have suffered enough, and it is only a matter of time before the spark is ignited and you are forced out of office. You still have a chance to make an honourable exit, do so before matters do not turn out in your favour like they did today.

Shakir Lakhani

Shakir Lakhani

Engineer, former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College, industrialist, associated with petroleum/chemical industries for many years. Loves writing, and (in the opinion of most of those who know him), mentally unbalanced. He tweets @shakirlakhani (twitter.com/shakirlakhani)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • amir

    Once jIT is formed, it is over. FIA NAB CBR SEC all are under his wing, and they will do their level best to off road the investigation running ISI and MI aroundRecommend

  • Rex Minor

    So then why are you celebrating, Mr Nawaz?

    The guy and his family are celebrating because for the second time he has been granted an extension to his life, the first when he was lying on the operation table for a new bypass. Who knows what the world be like tomorrow. Perhaps the supreme court will dismiss the case?

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Parvez

    Its over Sir……what five judges of the Supreme Court were afraid to do, do you expect a JIT ( Joint Investigation Team ) comprising of government agencies to do ?Recommend

  • stevenson

    Why should PM Nawaz Sharif step down? Has Imran Khan stepped down from being the head of PTI despite having off shore account himself! The civilized thing to say is what they are doing in UK. Former UK Prime Minister Cameron did not face any charges despite getting funds from an off shore account. What they have done is change laws going forward which is what needs to be done in Pakistan too. Go and see how many people in Europe or North America have been charged for off shore accounts in Panama Papers – virtually no one. Tell them in US and other western countries about the Icelandic PM because no one seems to care except in Pakistan. The reality is that the Pakistani economy is doing well after a long time and people need to appreciate that the country is going through a special time with CPEC that can’t afford instability. Wait until elections in 2018 and see what the public thinks by their votes. This is what really matters.Recommend

  • Saad Nazir

    Yes it over unless you are new in this country and that is why you think its not overRecommend

  • Sane

    There are many JITs in this country. Let’s add another one. We will remember this for 20 years and may be for centuries.Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    “The reality is that the Pakistani economy is doing well after a long time”. Really? Prices have steadily gone up, the country’s external debt is at an all-time high, foreign exchange reserves are lower, and you say the economy is doing well? As for “elections in 2018 and see what the public thinks by their votes”, if Nawaz resigns, his party will break up into different factions, and the public will vote for anyone they think is honest.Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    “Former UK Prime Minister Cameron did not face any charges despite getting funds from an off shore account”. He was asked to prove that the funds were legitimately earned, which he did. It’s not a crime to have offshore accounts with funds on which tax has been paid and which is not black money.Recommend

  • AA

    Why should Nawaz Sharif step
    down?? Well he should not, because he
    represent the Thana-culture of Punjab, where legality overshadows morality, One
    can be humiliated in the whole world as long as not proven guilty in the court
    shrugs off the disgrace and pretend nothing happened. These are the people bring shame to the nation. In democratic societies accusation of
    corruption is enough for a public figure to step down. In Pakistan one can
    shamefully claim “yes I have done it but you can’t prove it so shut up.” People who accept it deserve such leaders.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Nawaz bin Sakman bin Abdel Aziz bin Panama need to
    vacate the PM House. It is time for him to leave. And go
    live with his Godfather, in Saudia. He owns a 20 room
    mansion in Mecca. And a seaside villa in Riyadh. [Both
    are under his sons name]
    The Balochs the Sindhis the Muhajjirs, the Pathans do
    not accept him. They never did. And they will not accept
    Nawaz as Prime Minister after this Supreme Court verdict.
    He is PM of Punjabis only. In Punjab. That is 120 million
    Now 60% Punjabis are illiterate, They are communal and
    provincial. And will vote for their Lord and Master Nawaz
    even if they are starving.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Humza, you are wrong. Pak economy is not doing that great.
    It’s smoke and mirrors by ‘samdhi’ who is in charge of the
    Finance Ministry/ ‘ Two years ago ‘samdhi’ tried to pass off a
    gift of 2 billion dollars from Saudia as the result of his hard and
    diligent work. He got caught red handed. by financial experts.
    Like the World Bank. He had to admit the Saudi gift was the
    reason.that impacted the economy,….not him.
    Justice Khosa refers to him as ‘samdhi. He is respondent # 10
    in the Panamagate verdict.
    You savvy?Recommend

  • Patwari

    Funds belonged to his father. His father was involved
    in these offshore accounts.Recommend

  • Ahmar

    The establishment doesn’t impose martial laws every few years in a civilised country. Candidates running for the office don’t get murdered by radical groups and security agencies in a civilised country. The military doesn’t run foreign office and housing schemes in a civilised country.

    No member of the assembly is Sadiq and Ameen based on the loose wording of article 62. Nothing was proven regarding Panama papers and the opposition case was that Nawaz sharif should be disqualified because he lied on the floor of assembly, not because of evidence over corruption.

    Pakistan will never have a stable democracy if you start disqualifying Ministers on the basis of mere technicalities.Recommend

  • stevenson

    So then by your own admission, the courts have not given a verdict of wrong doing. Since former PM Cameron and countless Western nationals have not been charged in their countries for having legal off shore accounts, why should the PM and his family step down? Are you not being judgemental to decide who is or isn’t dealing in black money and who has or hasn’t paid taxes? Why don’t you see this whole drama for what it is; it is a desperate attempt by Imran Khan and other politicians to take control because they can’t win at the ballot.Recommend

  • stevenson

    The debt is up since major spending and development is being undertaken in infrastructure projects. This is the case in many countries where major investments are made in long term planning as is being currently done to set the grounds for a more robust economy. That’s why most Western countries carry colossal debts that are shouldered while the economy continues. Ask yourself why all independent Western financial analysts have upgrade Pakistan’s economy from that of a developing nation to a middle income nation. Why is the feed back from respected sources such as Bloomberg’s in New York or the Economist in London optimistic on Pakistan’s economy? While you are at it read about the assessments of Standard and Poor’s, Moodys, Finches or countless others who are all upbeat on Pakistan’s economic transformation. If you disagree with all the Western economic analysts, make sure to tell them that they are all wrong and that you sitting in Pakistan know more than all of them in terms of economics!Recommend

  • Patwari

    In Pakland, no one can amass a wealth of nearly 4 billion dollars [US] in a matter of years. It is literally impossible.
    Unless, huge, mega corruption is involved. Sharif family
    has a history of corruption accusations going back years.
    Now a Prime Minister is held to a very high standard. Not
    to the standards of your your average ‘kickback’ industrialist
    or ‘thekedar’ [contractor] PM is not an average citizen. He is
    accountable to the nation. For all his actions and…..deeds.
    Nawaz was unable to provide proof to the Supreme Court on how he acquired the huge properties in London. Nor was there a legal money trail, through the State Bank of Pak.
    leading to the acquisitions of these expensive houses.
    [Except for the letter from a Qatari prince which was not accepted by the judges. They considered it as a frivolous piece of evidence]
    But since YOU are a diehard Sharif wallah all of this will fly
    over your head. Recommend

  • Patwari

    So all these infra structure developments are limited to
    Punjab ONLY? These Purple Train Lines, Green Bus Lines,
    Expressways, Yellow Auto Rickshaws benefit Punjab only?
    Nothing of the same magnitude for Sindh? Or Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa? Or Balochistan? Forget the Northern Areas!
    This coming robust economy will transpire in Punjab only?
    The truthful average perception, outside Punjab, is, that the
    PM and his Darbar and his Punjabi courtiers care only about
    their home province of Punjab. They don’t give hoot about
    the rest of the provinces. Which is so true, for last 50 years.
    Karachi, the financial hub and a major supplier of revenues
    for the federal government can’t even get it’s trash picked up!
    Oh! Don’t blame the provincial govt. the old standby routine excuse. If the Center cared, they would make it their business
    to make sure everything is fine and good, everywhere.
    All over the country. not pass the buck with a lame excuse.Recommend

  • Parvez

    When the financial / banking crash of 2008 happened in America…..all the hot shot rating agencies you mentioned had given a big thumbs up to the industry. After the crash when asked, their reply was simple ….. it was our assessment and it proved to be wrong.Recommend