PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif has been disqualified by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on ethical grounds. Constitutional and legal experts term this a controversial verdict.
Sharif now tells people that he has not been disqualified on corruption charges but for minor reasons like taking salary from his son’s company. In sugar-coated words, he indicates that he is victim of a conspiracy, hatched by the military establishment. What comes across in his tone is that he is willing to struggle for the hegemony of the elected government in Pakistan where major policies are controlled by the military leadership.
It will not be easy for him, since most of Pakistan’s political and religious leaders are backed by the military establishment or they support the military leadership for various reasons.
Sharif says that he is now an ideologue. It might be too late.
He’s been the establishment’s favourite boy since 1980. His two governments were toppled because of his tug of war with the military leadership. He was arrested, convicted and sent in exile to Saudi Arabia; then shifted to the UK in 2006 where he signed Charter of Democracy with his political rival Benazir Butto. In 2007, he returned to Pakistan and political analysts believed that he has politically been groomed, but he kept repeating mistakes. When Elections 2008 were announced, he joined the bandwagon of Imran Khan and Jamaat e Islami. The PML-N announced boycott of the Election 2008 but Bhutto persuaded him to withdraw his decision which he did.
PPP won the election, and the country saw old arch-rivals forming coalition government in the center and Punjab. Later, Sharif pulled his party out of the coalition as the government came under fire from the media.
He stood against the PPP in Memo Gate Scandal, a case against then-President Asif Zardari and Pakistan’s Ambassador in US Hussain Haqqani for an alleged letter written to US authorities against the Pakistan Army. He should have not done that since the case was perceived as the establishment’s move.
Later, the Supreme Court of Pakistan initiated a trial against then Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani for not writing a letter to Swiss Government for re-initiating Swiss Accounts Case against Zardari. Sharif not only supported the proceedings but also demanded resignation of Gilani. Again, it was a political mistake.
Sharif won the Elections 2013 with a clear majority. Since the PML-N has been in power, PTI is keeping it under pressure through allegations of rigging in the elections and corruption. He was disqualified in a trial of corruption cases. More cases against him have been referred to National Accountability Commission. His party would elect a new prime minister, nominated by Sharif.
There is a lesson, hidden in the whole episode of Panama Papers Case, for all political leaders in Pakistan including Imran Khan that don’t claim ownership after serving the ‘masters’ against others. Those who deny the master will find themselves denied.