Panamagate: Pak PM Sharif gets minor relief, major headache

By Onkareshwar Pandey New Delhi [India], Apr 20 : Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has got minor relief and major headache.

The Pakistan Army, which had successfully ousted him on October 12, 1999, under the command of General Pervez Musharraf after the Kargil war with India, will probe whether Sharif and his family is guilty of amassing illegal wealth abroad.

Simply, Prime Minister Sharif has got minor relief and major headache from this verdict. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and other opposition leaders alleged that the Prime Minister and his family had illegally profited from his position through money laundering abroad.

Even though, he will continue to rule as the Prime Minister, the much-anticipated verdict on the case which took the country by storm and dominated headlines in the country for over a year now has given him little relief.

Pronouncing the verdict on corruption allegations against Prime Minister Sharif based on the "Panama Papers" leaks, the apex court of Pakistan in Islamabad has ordered Sharif and his family to appear before the probe team when it is formed.

This means that Sharif's political future will depend on the mercy of the Pakistan Army. A Joint Investigation team (JIT) will be formed to carry out further investigation as per the court's verdict and the committee comprising of one senior official each from the FIA, NAB, SECP, SBP, ISI, and MI will be tasked to probe the assets.

This simply means the Prime Minister will be on the mercy of the ISI and the Pakistan Army. The JIT will continue investigation on how funds were transferred to Qatar, thus the tension will remain for Sharif and his family till investigation is over.

The joint investigation team will submit its report within 60 days. Till then, the case will continue to dominate Pakistan's domestic politics as the general elections are due next year.

Quoting the popular 1969 novel 'The Godfather' by Mario Puzo, the apex court of Pakistan recounted the violent tale of a Mafia family and the epigraph selected by the author was fascinating: Behind every great fortune there is a crime.

- Balzac "The novel was a popular sensation which was made into an acclaimed film. It is believed that this epigraph was inspired by a sentence that was written by Honore de Balzac and its original version in French reads as follows: Le secret des grandes fortunes sans cause apparente est un crime oublie, parce qu'il a ete proprement fait.

(The secret of a great success for which you are at a loss to account is a crime that has never been found out, because it was properly executed).

The decision is important for the ruling Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) and Sharif because he might project it as a clean chit by the apex court.

Sharif and his party leaders appeared to be jubilant after the order. Maryam Nawaz, the Prime Minister's daughter, immediately tweeted photographs of Sharif in a celebratory mood with his family, embracing his brother Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

She also posted another picture which showed the Prime Minister with Shahbaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam, Senator Pervaiz Rashid and other senior PML-N leaders.

It is also being seen as a major jolt to his political opponents because the court did a thorough scrutiny of the arguments from all sides, including the Prime Minister, his family, federation of Pakistan, various departments and institutions, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, Jamaat Islami chief Siraj ul-Haq and Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed on the allegations levelled against Sharif on his previous two terms in office in the 1990s.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and other opposition leaders have alleged that the Prime Minister and his family illegally profited from his position.

The opposition parties after a year-long protest both inside and outside the Parliament had finally taken the case to the country's top court expecting a verdict to oust Sharif from his post.

Even after the verdict, the opposition has continued its tirade against Sharif and has demanded his resignation.

[The views expressed in the above article are personal].

Source: ANI