MASS CAMPAIGN AGAINST SUPREME COURT AND THE FUTURE OF PAKISTANI POLITICS
– Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif a (Xinhua/UN Photo/Cia Pak/IANS)[/caption] The Supreme Court of Pakistan disbarred the ex-PM on money laundering charges through aqama and fake documents and directed the National Accountability Bureau to file corruption charges against the Sharif family. The court reversed the Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict on the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case and asked the NAB to reopen it. Subsequently this case however was dismissed by the Supreme Court and is being seen as the result of the mass campaign by the ex-Prime Minister. Few take the decision in favour of Mian Shahbaz Sharif, CM Punjab, as minus-one formula because he never used derogatory remarks either for the judiciary or Army. In Pakistan, top positions of the offices are filled by the political government, meaning they usually appoint their own sympathisers who, in return, render favours when required and now they want to do the same with the Supreme Court as the PM Abbasi stated in the National Assembly against the Judges. Principally, a democratic government has the right to run affairs smoothly through their own men, but predilections become disputed when such offices run the affairs as desired by corrupt politicians who resist a fair trial or going through proper channels. Appointments in the Supreme Court and NAB are also made on a political basis and politicians expect favourtism in corruption cases. Under the prevailing political environment, defiant judges will not get lucrative postings after their retirement. While judges who support the government can look forward to receiving attractive appointments after their retirement. Even their children can also be accommodated in better jobs, businesses or projects. Consequently, mostly judges facilitate the government in cases in which the ruling elites are keen to see passed. So the honest judges will have to pay in the future as Nehal Hashmi had threatened openly. Previously, in an interview, Justice Nasim Hasan Shah pointed out that the military sought favourable outcomes in which the Supreme Court had to compromise. Recordings and other evidence verify the pressure of the politicians on the judges for favourable rulings in many cases. Many important cases like Asghar Khan Case are still pending in the court because of the political pressures. The ex-Prime Minister with his daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif started the campaign against the Supreme Court and the Pakistan Army in July 2017. Many people advised them to accept the Court’s decision but the ex-PM preferred going public because psychological pressure remained the only wayout to embarrass his rival forces. Either way, both acceptance and rejection of the Supreme Court’s decision are risk and can be dangerous for Mian Nawaz. However rejection could still be in his favour, unless, of course, a favourable allegedly secret compromise is agreed with the anti-Nawaz forces. In fact, acceptance of the decision could lead to further prosecution and ramifications. The corruption cases would result in the imprisonment of the Nawaz Sharif family and the confiscation of property under question. In reality, the acceptance of the Supreme Court’s decision is to commit suicide. But claiming innocence and protesting against the Supreme Court and tacitly the army is the only redeeming strategy which could force both institutions to participate in a secret compromise. According to sources, the League (N) leaders are hopeful about the secret compromise because they are ready to accept a minus-one formula. News hacks say that by this secret understanding, Mian Shahbaz Sharif will lead the Muslim League (N) and for this purpose, the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case has been turned down by the Supreme Court. Some may dismiss this as conspiracy theory, but it is seriously being discussed on news media. The Panama cases will most likely meet the same fate as the Asghar Khan Case. An impotent decision can come ultimately repeating the initial ruling while the pending and delaying tactics in the final investigation and decision will erase their worth from people’s minds. Media focus on some other issues will lay dust on the Panama cases, and TV channels will be braying for justice on some newly created issues. The head of the Army and the Supreme Court hierarchy will have changed so that the present will be buried in the past while the past will rule the future. This is the reality of Pakistani politics but many opine that this time no secret compromise will facilitate the corrupt hands. A major evidence supporting the suspicious backroom deals and alleged game plan is that the Supreme Court itself is challenging the credibility of the Joint Investigation Team’s evidence. Original documents are being demanded from the evidence which is next to impossible. In the beginning, government circles were certain of NAB’s and the Supreme Court’s full support but some of the government’s men embarrassed the Judiciary, which returned to the course of fair trial while NAB pledged to go loyally. Government circles are still hopeful that the NAB will support the Sharif family and as a result a secret compromise or expediency will kill justice through NAB which will secure the stamp of ‘fairness’ of the Supreme Court. If so, it will be another murder of justice and as Martin Luther King, jr. said, justice delayed is in fact justice denied. The forthcoming elections will be held in due time but results may confer a hung mandate empowering the establishment to crown any political party. Imran Khan, head of PTI, despite having meagre potential to win a majority, can be enthroned while PPP in Sindh and PML (N) in Punjab will maintain their political base. The regional political and religio-political parties will traditionally play a decisive role in the ministry making drive. The civil and military establishments are convinced that to continue the democratic process with fair and clean character is the way to go ahead. If they succeed, this will bring a major shift in the family hegemony in politics. At last then the middle class can start putting their roots down in politics. Despite the hopeful news of a fair trial emerging, the prevailing situation seems very confused and the mass campaign by the ex-PM and focus of the Supreme Court on the prosecution expose the complex future. Let us see till how long this psychological war continues and who wins the war, traditional bargaining or justice recovered.