Nawaz Sharif has been dismissed for the third consecutive time as Prime Minister of Pakistan, making history. Sharif’s political party ‘Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz’ (PML-N), despite being the largest political party in the country and enjoying a simple majority in almost all three tenures in power, failed miserably to complete its mandated tenure of five years, all three times.
This time, a five-judge larger bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in a unanimous decision disqualified Sharif under Article 62 (1) (f) of the constitution thus bringing his third term in power to an unceremonious end. Upon Sharif winning the 2013 General elections, a leading English-language weekly magazine-format newspaper made a bold heading:
“Third time lucky?
“Nawaz Sharif will be Pakistan’s next prime minister”
Unfortunately, it turned out to be not so lucky-third time. This third time, Sharif was not only dismissed as Prime Minister by the apex court for being dishonest to parliament and courts but also banned him for life from taking part in politics as well ordered a criminal investigation against Sharif and his family members. Excruciating evidence against Sharif and his family members were attached to the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in their final report submitted to Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Read more: PML-N’s problems’ cut deeper than Nawaz
“This might very well be the end of Sharif Dynasty in Pakistan”
Yet PML-N and its supporters, for unknown reasons, are certain that some divine intervention will lead Nawaz Sharif to become Premier for the fourth time in upcoming 2018 general elections. Reason for this false assumption is the narrative fabricated by the Sharifs over the years that establishment always derails the democratically elected government which causes hindrance in the economic growth and stability of the country.
This is a defying moment for the country to uproot corruption and get rid of corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and military establishment
Though, this argument does hold some merits, but not this time. However, this does not mean the article supports ‘dictator rule’ in any form whatsoever but it is not the topic of this article and mainly revolves around ‘civilian rule’ and governance, especially the last four years tenure of Sharif’s government.
The bitter reality of civilian rule is the de facto ‘two family democracy system in Pakistan’ which failed to deliver any real progress over the last four decades. During past four years, Sharif government alone contributed a staggering 35 billion USD to Pakistan’s debts without delivering any real growth worth mentioning.
Sharif and its young advisers led by Maryam Nawaz Sharif are convinced that it will create enough pressure to compel the third pillar of the state to intervene
Total external debt grew by 30 percent from July 2013 to June 2017, let alone USD 10 billion added during last year of Sharif’s government. Despite continued borrowing by the government from the international market, State Bank of Pakistan in its weekly foreign exchange reserves data showed a further decline of 300 million USD in reserves. This brings the total decline, during past 4 weeks to 1.8 billion USD in State Bank reserves.
The Sharif government did inherit a circular debt of Rs 480 billion as the massive outstanding amounts from the previous civilian government of Pakistan People Party under the leadership of the then President Asif Ali Zardari. That massive outstanding debt was choking the energy system and causing a serious disruption.
The circular debt was cleared by the Sharif government during his first month in power with the promise that the country will never face the menace of circular debt again. Sadly, the circular debt has again reached Rs 414 billion as on February 15, 2017, and surpasses Rs. 800 billion marks as reported in various newspapers during the first week of August 2017, however, the government disagree with the amount.
Sharif, along with his second and third tier of party leadership, is playing with the fire which may lead the country towards a direct standoff between Executive Office and the Judiciary
These are the three major failures of Sharif government besides the failure of foreign policy and absence of a Foreign Minister. However, PML-N propaganda, based on lies, more lies, cheating, deceiving and misleading statements, is so strong that their voters are still in a state of denial and refused to accept the failure of Sharif’s disastrous economic policy and his corruption.
The rhetoric that ‘Panama Papers Scandal’ was a set-up by the Establishment against paladin Nawaz Sharif to dismantle his government is still carried out with full voice. Funny though, Nawaz Sharif’s political guardian angel is the same Establishment against whom its Patwari supporters are crying.
“It is pertinent to mention here that Sharif himself was involved in toppling at least three democratically elected governments with support from the Establishment.”
Unlike popular belief abroad and the tantrum carried out by PML-N that Sharif was dismissed on technical grounds for not disclosing a valid Iqama (work permit) of a foreign company when he got elected as the Prime Minister of Pakistan and not on the charge of corruption, is not factually correct. Under Pakistan’s constitution, a public office holder cannot be an employee of any other organization including Prime Minister of the country as well. The fact of the matter is, in addition to that, Sharif was also disqualified for being dishonest to the parliament and the courts (tantamount to Perjury).
Will Sharif be elected for the fourth time, at present, the only legal course of action available to PML-N is to request the apex court to review and “reverses” its earlier decision
Further, new references for “criminal proceedings” to be filed in Trial Courts (supreme court is an appellate court, not a trial court) including but not limited to; perjury, forgery, money laundering, deceiving court with mala fide intentions, using public office to gain monetary benefits for family business, making assets beyond their known means of income against Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Hussain Nawaz Sharif, Hassan Nawaz Sharif, and Capt Muhammad Safdar, as the case maybe.
“Once the trial begins, it is almost certain; all mentioned will end up in jail
Despite these facts, ‘N league’ continue to blame Pakistani Establishment behind Panama Papers and project it as an ‘International Conspiracy’ against Nawaz Sharif with the assistance of Pakistani Establishment. Conspiracy theories are very popular among PML-N and its supporters as they consider any action against Sharif as a conspiracy against entire Sharif family, Pakistan, Islam and Democracy.
“Independent legal fraternity, analyst including Attorney General of Pakistan Mr. Ashtar Ausaf Ali confirmed Sharif was disqualified for life.”
Will Sharif be elected for the fourth time, at present, the only legal course of action available to PML-N is to request the apex court to review and “reverse” its earlier decision, which seems rather impossible and the party leaders understand this. Their only other option is to create enough chaos in the country which may derail the entire system or democracy to be exact.
The circular debt was cleared by the Sharif government during his first month in power with the promise that the country will never face the menace of circular debt, again
Unfortunately, PMLN adopted the latter option, an ill-advice by the younger breed of politicians and legal advisers currently surrounding Sharif. Sharif deliberately defying Supreme Court order and despite summoned twice, refused to appear before National Accountability Bureau (NAB), fearing his arrest. NAB is the country’s apex anti-corruption trial court.
Nawaz Sharif has gone astray and is now openly calling his disqualification a ‘joke’ and demands an explanation as to why he was dismissed as Prime Minister, this might directly land him in contempt of Supreme Court. Sharif, along with his second and third tier of party leadership, is playing with the fire which may lead the country towards a direct standoff between Executive Office and the Judiciary.
Despite continued borrowing by the government from the international market, State Bank of Pakistan in its weekly foreign exchange reserves data showed a further decline of 300 million USD in reserves
Sharif and its young advisers led by Maryam Nawaz Sharif are convinced that it will create enough pressure to compel the third pillar of the state to intervene i.e. the Military establishment thus, once again, gaining sympathy vote. This is a dangerous course of action taken by Sharif which may not only result in the departure of democracy but would also paralyze the entire functioning of the country.
“If Sharif succeeds in pulling off this dangerous political stint, it might give a new life line to his dying politics but would be a disastrous misadventure for the country which may end in harming the territorial integrity of Pakistan.”
Excruciating evidence against Sharif and his family members were attached to the JIT in their final report submitted to Supreme Court of Pakistan
With so much happening on LoC flash point, hostility on Pak-Afghan and Pak-Iran borders, dynamic changes in regional politics, failed foreign policy and most importantly may undermine the achievements of on-going Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, to de-weaponize and eliminate hidden terrorist sleeper cells across the country. Sharif and his party, on the other hand, is concerned with one question only; why he was dismissed. It seems JIT Report was too much of a read for him, especially volume 10 of the report.
Panama verdict is a landmark decision in the history of Pakistan. This is a defining moment for the country to uproot corruption and get rid of corrupt politicians, bureaucrats, and military establishment. It is also about time for PML-N to think, rethink and transform themselves into a genuine supporter of democracy in Pakistan and not of Sharif Dynasty.
The writer is a freelance Management Consultant with experience in advising companies on business strategy and operational techniques. He has a keen interest in current affairs and recently started writing as a freelancer. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.