Ghulam Mustafa |
There’s never a dull moment in Pakistan. Besides everything else, we have been part of PA -NA -MA Hungama ever since ICIJ broke this story last in April 2016. Continued to gain momentum till 20th April 2017 when Apex Court came out with its verdict leading to setting up of JIT directly under its own supervision. First of its kind decision, took it to its zenith when JIT gave its findings against Sharifs on 10 July 2017.
It brought out the best and worst about Pakistan. Unheard of, unexpected, shocking, destructive, biased; are just a few of the negative comments. Positives need another discussion. Few things which have majority’s approval are
- Six officers, comprising JIT, have done a monumental job, under worst kinds pressures and have produced outstanding results in the shortest possible time.
- JIT’s findings will have serious impact on our politics
- Third time PM and his family will have to produce a rabbit out of their hat to avoid this marsh of unknown dimensions.
- There will be huge collateral damage, taking many along when MNS goes down.
- When, not if that happens, Sharifs will experience the worst of the cruelties. Those forcing them up the greasy pole of confrontation will vanish. There will be very few real friends left. Down and out, Sharifs will be kicked by many, including those feeding off them till last. And those who continually fed perceptual biases of MNS weaving off theories after theories cementing his beliefs that he is invincible.
A great leader stung once again
The henchmen of the Sharif family and particularly those of Nawaz Sharif present him as:
1. The man is destined to greatest glory, as huge as Quaid e Azam, if not greater.
2. Everyone, particularly the cursed establishment is out to deny him this rarest of opportunities.
3. He is the visionary who can smash every obstacle on his way to greatness.
4. The entire nation loves him barring few and will support his Great War all the way, conveniently missing out the obvious.
Like his previous two tenures, his strategists kept building on the narrative which found kings favor. Their media cell kept at it diligently espousing bits and pieces of this narrative to anyone who would listen.
Main points of their strategic narrative are as under;
- Panamagate is an international conspiracy to remove MNS so that CPEC doesn’t see fruition. As part of this mega conspiracy;
- UAE refused to support part of money trail presented by MNS because Pakistan’s Parliament refused to support Saudi Arabia’s Yemen War.
- Qatar is equally unhappy. The reason being that instead of supporting it like Turkey, Pakistan remained neutral in Saudi Arabian led boycott of this tiny sheikhdom.
- Cursed Establishment, most trusted culprit, working behind the scenes, is doing what it usually does.
- IK led PTI, directed by some mysterious force from abroad, is the key culprit.
- JIT report, in the making for the last 1-4 years, aims at facilitating the imposition of judicial 58 /2b, cleverly bringing in honorable Apex Court in the entire conspiracy.
- Of course, like always, democracy was in danger; if MNS were to be ousted from power. People of Pakistan will never allow this to happen, thundered Sharif loyalists.
Call what you may; amazing, ingenious or even preposterous, it makes a compelling story. Even plausible, if you were inclined to find a way to support PML-N.
Now to the all-important counter strategy. It had to be equally compelling to make an out and out criminality into a political issue to gain time till March 2018. Whip up development fever, get control of the Senate and declare General Elections. That would be the time to deal with other aspects of Panama Leaks through necessary legislation/amendments.
Very sound and apparently workable. Would be successful if the opposition were to oblige and courts were to stay out. Establishment, particularly the civilian part of it wasn’t a problem because all key jobs were filled by obliging and obedient cronies or close relatives. The Army was busy fighting terrorism, its senior leadership in transition and, had shown little appetite for direct intervention.
Great plan if everything wasn’t taken for granted. It fell apart on the very first step when Apex Court refused to oblige with a lame duck commission open to manipulation by government. Parliament had to set up a committee to make Terms Of Reference for such a commission in light of Apex Court Orders. This was a god sent chance. Obstinacy is never part of politics but all credit to PML-N for proving it wrong by ensuring that TORs aren’t finalized. Meanwhile IK, Sheikh Rashid and JI went to SC. After initial hesitation, Apex Court accepted the case. So far, there was no threat to democracy This is where entire plan collapsed.
It was quite apparent by 10 July that Sharifs’ strategy was going all the way to the South Pole. Almost everyone, including saner elements within Sharif Camp, knew the inevitable.
A feeble defense
There wasn’t any Plan B. Writing on the wall, in fact the huge wall itself wasn’t visible to MNS and his strategists. Such is the impact of Arrogance of Power. A hurriedly set up money trail leading upto the acquisition of properties in London via Off Shore Companies was presented in the SC. As the case progressed, gaping holes in this plan allowed IK led opposition to move in for the kill.
Read more:Resign for your own good sir !
Rest is all too recent to be detailed. SC decision on 20 April and its aftermath continued to demolish Sharif dynasty bit by bit. Working under direct supervision of SC, JIT did an outstanding job and finished its work within stipulated time , major campaign to scandalize its efforts notwithstanding. It was quite apparent by 10 July that Sharifs’ strategy was going all the way to South Pole. Almost everyone, including saner elements within Sharif Camp knew the inevitable. JIT Report is nothing less than electromagnetic explosion, doesn’t make any sound but is no less destructive . Sharif Loyalists didn’t hear it, obviously. Didn’t see the wreckage caused in its wake; visible to everyone out of its range; even those with vision impairment.
I am ready to believe this theory. Also, that Sharifs were coerced into establishing businesses abroad through off shore companies and buy lots of expensive properties as far back as 1991-2?
All credit to MNS and his team who haven’t given up on the stale and outdated narrative. To them , International Conspiracy, aided and abetted by Establishment and PTI is still the best defense.
I am ready to believe this theory. Also that Sharifs were coerced into establishing businesses abroad through off shore companies and buy lots of expensive properties as far back as 1991-2 ? I can also understand ” preemptive ” and the reason for Hassan Nawaz shooting off his mouth through arranged and rehearsed TV shows two months before Panama Leaks? What was the threat which had to be defeated through this preemptive strike? What is the result?
Sharifs only had to win over SC through legally tenable arguments to kill this conspiracy. Didn’t happen that way. Fine. They got a second chance with JIT. Results don’t appear to be any different for MNS and family.
Hopefully, it should wind up in Pakistan’s best interests. It could also spin out of control if stake holders aren’t very careful.
How does conspiracy figure out in this abject failure in court room and now in front of JIT? Winning over voters and honorable judges of SC isn’t the same game. Both need different approaches and different narratives. However, narratives get traction only when truth backs them up. It is all too clear that Panama Leaks Case has assumed dynamics of its own as we close up to the final phase of this gripping drama. Hopefully it should wind up in Pakistan’s best interests. It could also spin out of control if stake holders aren’t very careful.
It is all too clear that Panama Leaks Case has assumed dynamics of its own as we close up to the final phase of this gripping drama. Hopefully, it should wind up in Pakistan’s best interests. It could also spin out of control if stake holders aren’t very careful.
Ghulam Mustafa is a retired Lieutenant General of Pakistan Army. He is credited with raising the Army Strategic Forces Command. He is an analyst of security and geopolitical affairs. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.