Syed Ali Zia Jaffery |
The much-awaited verdict was announced today. The 5-member bench of the Supreme Court disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a unanimous decision over the Panama Case. The verdict was a continuation of the court’s interim order issued in April. The PM has stepped down by default and the federal cabinet stands dissolved. There is dancing in the aisles of those who opposed Nawaz, of those who took him on and of those who coveted accountability of the elites. However, understandably the Nawaz league has come out all gun blazing, crying the conspiracy hoax once again. They are ably supported by sections of the media which are twisting the verdict with impunity. But let’s leave that aside and focus on the incendiary behind the ouster of the “lion of Punjab”.
Legendary cricketer and World Cup-winning Captain, Imran Khan Niazi was, in all earnestness obsessed with the Sharif family. His fledgling political profile circumambulated around challenging what he called the Sharif kingdom. He set out to bring about the downfall of the Sharifs, often times being soft on the PPP. But Khan was defeated in the elections of 2013, but he refused to take it laying down and raised voice against what he felt was a stolen mandate. From demanding re-opening of 4 constituencies he went on the cusp of attacking the parliament. He was intransigent; he was uncompromising.
Besides, serious reservations, he became the force in establishing two top class institutes in Shaukat Khanum Hospital and Namal University.
The beleaguered Khan was chastised from all quarters for refusing to accept his defeat at the hands of Nawaz Sharif in the General Elections of 2013. Many believed that his rigging allegations and the 126-day long sit-in were a ploy to subvert democracy, with him being a pawn. Other pundits called him a mouthpiece of the Taliban. While a few moderate voices called him a power-hungry person who was just obsessed with Nawaz Sharif. Unmoved by criticism, Khan carried on in the same vein and asserted that his struggle is a concept of a future where Pakistanis should be able to stand up against injustice.
A tough nut to crack
Perhaps defying the odds is a hallmark specific to him. Indomitable conviction made him shun his critics who jeered at his aspirations of becoming a fast bowler. With a remodeled bowling action he went on to become one of the greatest to have played the game. Naysayers questioned his ability to lead the country’s cricket team. He took up the challenge and the rest is history. Besides, serious reservations, he became the force in establishing two top class institutes in Shaukat Khanum Hospital and Namal University.
This grit has been pervasive in his politics too. In his Nawaz-centric political struggle, Khan met a lot of reverses and at times, ignominy. The revelations of the Panama Papers gave Khan yet another front against his political rival: the all-powerful prime minister.
He got the case in the apex court; he spoke incessantly on TV, tweeted aggressively. All along he was chastised by toadies and beneficiaries of the empire.
The details of the Panama Papers were a vindication of Khan’s repeated allegations against the Sharif family. He used various means all along to enable the institution of a Supreme Court Bench. Political forces, despite agreeing in principle did not fully support him in his drive to hold the Sharif family accountable. Hence, he had to take up the mantle upon himself.
He got the case in the apex court; he spoke incessantly on TV, tweeted aggressively. All along he was chastised by toadies and beneficiaries of the empire. He was also taken to the cleaners by foreign qualified scribes and journalists who flip and flop. Him bringing the first family to court and galvanizing the nation were in themselves great achievements.
Nawaz is certainly Khan’s 363rd Test scalp, one that was even more prized than Viv Richard, one that was taken a deck flatter than that at the Iqbal Stadium Faisalabad, and one that will do Pakistan’s democracy a world of good.
The disqualification of the premier is perhaps a precursor of his political demise. The author, who happens to be a cricket aficionado wrote the other day about the fact that Khan torments all the defenders of the Sharif family. This makes him chiefly responsible for uprooting the middle stump of the former PM.
Nawaz is certainly Khan’s 363rd Test scalp, one that was even more prized than Viv Richard, one that was taken a deck flatter than that at the Iqbal Stadium Faisalabad, and one that will do Pakistan’s democracy a world of good.The man who was called a threat to democracy used the finer nuances of the very system to defenestrate his arch-nemesis. Khan deserves credit, accolade, and acknowledgment, and that too without remorse.
The positive impact of this decision and that of Khan’s efforts will be dealt a severe blow if this case becomes the last in the process of much-needed accountability.
Syed Ali Zia Jaffery is a Research Analyst and Sub Editor at Global Village Space.He frequently writes on defense and strategic affairs but cricket is his passion above else. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.