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Imran more open to accountability than Sharifs?

Accountability
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News Analysis |

The Supreme Court on Monday observed that while Imran Khan and Jahangir Tareen provided answers and evidence when asked, the Sharif family was not as forthcoming in its case regarding the Panama Papers. The judge of the apex court said that this is the reason why a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) had to be constituted.

The glaring remark was made during the proceedings of the disqualification case against Imran Khan and Jehangir Tareen by PML-N’s leader, Hanif Abbasi. Eminent lawyer and counsel of Abbasi, Akram Sheikh invited the court’s attention that the case against Khan is being heard in a different manner as compared to the Panama Papers.

Khan’s good political health is least desired for the PML-N; it would be interesting to see how the 65-year old wriggle out from the Supreme Court and the Election Commission of Pakistan.

“A perception is being created that the court is providing opportunities to the other side to come up with more documents, even though the case has been closed now,” said Sheikh.

The PML-N has tried to draw a parallel between the Panama Case and that of Imran Khan, something which legal experts and watchers have not found relatable. Justice Umar Atta Bandial- part of the three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar said that the respondents in Abbasi’s case have provided answers and documents. However, the judge observed that the respondents in the Panama Case were not open and forthcoming.

Read more: Why is Imran Khan challenging the ECP?

A Fair Chance

The PML-N has often iterated that the Panama Case, besides being part of a conspiracy to dislodge the government, was concluded hurriedly. However, observers point out that the court gave the Sharifs umpteen chances to exonerate themselves. PML-N’s bigwigs and critics of Khan have asserted that the former cricket-star is being dealt with leniently.

Watchers have also observed that there is more politics in the case than merits; some argue that the PML-N wants to offset the damage of the ouster of Nawaz Sharif by pushing for the disqualification of Khan.

However, the Supreme Court cleared the air in Monday’s hearing. The Chief Justice said that they want to give more time to satisfy the court so that it can reach a just decision. “We are taking pains to establish the element of dishonesty,” said the chief justice.

Analysts observe that despite efforts to disqualify Khan are in full swing, there is little that the Supreme Court can pick on. Khan, as confident as ever has quashed away the impressions that he will be disqualified. He, however, is mindful that he can be shown the door on frivolous grounds. He believes that since he is the biggest threat to the Sharif kingdom, the PML-N will try to influence institutions to de-seat him.

Read more: What if Imran Khan is disqualified by Supreme Court?

Watchers have also observed that there is more politics in the case than merits; some argue that the PML-N wants to offset the damage of the ouster of Nawaz Sharif by pushing for the disqualification of Khan.

The court said that inconsistencies in statements of Khan will be duly examined.

Observers point out that the court gave the Sharifs umpteen chances to exonerate themselves. PML-N’s bigwigs and critics of Khan have asserted that the former cricket-star is being dealt with leniently.

Khan has, according to analysts, presented particulars of his records from the 1970’s to include his contracts with Kerry Packer and Sussex County; his case has been succored by his ex-wife Jemima Khan, who has provided old bank statements. However, as keen observers vouch, most of the high-profile cases are hostage to politics than they are to legal merits.

Khan’s good political health is least desired for the PML-N; it would be interesting to see how the 65-year old wriggle out from the Supreme Court and the Election Commission of Pakistan. While the Sharif family is resorting to delaying tactics, Khan is dishing out documents after documents.


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