• Call Us+123-456-7890 & 23
  • Email atSupport@news.com
  • Office HrsMon - Sat: 9.00am to 18.00pm

From Panama to Adiala?

July 28th, 2017 and July 6th 2018 are two dates forever engraved with the legacy of Nawaz Sharif. These two dates have in two moments demolished and brought an abrupt end to the lifelong political struggle of Nawaz Sharif. July 2017 removed him from the office for a third time, in this third tenure as the Prime Minister Of Pakistan, and was declared ineligible to hold or contest in elections for life. July 2018, on the other hand stares down a possible prison sentence of up to 10 years to be served at the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. 

In what was regarded as a landmark decision, the Panamagate scandal shook the cores of the political landscape within Pakistan. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan and Awami Muslim League Leader Sheikh Rasheed filed with the petition in court following the Panama's documents being leaked which revealed that Nawaz had and his family was linked to eight off shore companies. Initially, a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was made to investigate and inquire about the allegations ranging from corruption, money laundering and lying on the floor of the house of the Pakistan National Assembly when then Prime Minister Nawaz addressed the parliament as a form of clarification to the public regarding how the properties were acquired. The initial decision by the JIT was a 3-2 spilt decision in the favor of the sharifs on April 20th, 2017, with the judges against the decision suggesting nawaz to be disqualified. After the JIT submitted its report, and once the final arguments were heard, the verdict was changed into a unanimous 5-0 against Nawaz and resulted in him being disqualified and removed as the Prime Minister Of Pakistan. Ironically, this was the third time that Nawaz had been elected as the Prime Minister Of Pakistan and also the third time that he was removed before he could complete his tenure.

The case as a whole brought the entire country into a whirl wind of media frenzy as it was without a doubt the most awaited trial. In its initial stages Nawaz faced criticism as the government failed to review and form a commission for the charges on the sitting head of Pakistan. Rival political parties called for Nawaz's resignation who remained undeterred on his stance of not resigning, stating that he was being framed. However, later on his stance changed and he challenged and vowed that he would resign if found guilty.

 On May 16th, 2016, in a televised address to the National Assembly, Nawaz announced that a JIT will be formed and also claimed that through his address he will clear the confusion regarding the flats. He remained strong on his stance that he was not afraid of accountability. 

While addressing the members of the parliament he said: "Today, people living in bungalows and commuting in helicopters are accusing me of misconduct. Can they explain before the nation as to how they earned all this money and how much tax they paid?"

 During his speech he said that the flats had been bought from money earned from the sale of the steel mills in Jeddah, which previously belonged to his father, leaving out any such of the Qatari connection which was later emphasised on. Following the speech Chairman PTI Imran Khan filed a petition through his counsel with the Supreme Court Of Pakistan seeking that Sharif be disqualified as the Prime Minister and Member of the National Assembly. Political leaders including Sheikh Rasheed and Siraj-Ul-Haq also expressed support for the petition. The petition apart from Nawaz targeted his childen, his son in law and then Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

The hearing was headed by Chief Justice Jamali and compromised of  four other Judges; Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Amir Hani Muslim, Sh. Azmat Saeed and Ijaz-ul-Asfand. The matters turned worse for Nawaz based on contradicting statements, and illogical evidence. On November 14, the lawyer of Nawaz Sharif dramatically produced a letter by the Prime Minister Of Qatar Hammad bin Jassam (2007-2013) which read:

"[My father Jassim] had longstanding business relations with (Sharif's father) Mian Muhammad Sharif which were coordinated through my eldest brother... Mian Sharif expressed his desire to invest a certain amount of money in the real estate business of Al Thani family in Qatar. I understood at that time, that an aggregate sum of around Dirhams 12 million was contributed by Mian Sharif, originating from the sale of business in Dubai (for four flats: 16, 16A, 17 and 17A Avenfield House, Park Lane, London, registered under the ownership of two offshore companies, while their bearer shares certificates were kept in Qatar). These were purchased from the proceeds of the real estate business... I can recall that during his lifetime, Mian Sharif wished that the beneficiary of his investment and returns in the real estate business [should be] his grandson Hussain Nawaz Sharif."

 The letter completely changed the stance of Nawaz Sharif and on being questioned replied that "Those were not legal testimonials, rather mere political statements."  The paper trial as well was considered dodgy and was not fully accepted by the court despite Nawaz's lawyers’ emphasis that at the time no proper system existed. The verdict however was against Nawaz as he was disqualified and barred from contesting elections in the future and had to leave the PM office under Article 62(1)(f). The general reception of the public was happiness and relief while supporters of Nawaz labelled it as propaganda against their leader, and stated that the decision was biased due to dislike by the "outside parties" that were involved in the decision-making process.

Since then, the Sharif family faces more corruption charges in the Avenfield reference case which was recently closed with the verdict finding Nawaz and his daughter Maryam guilty and were sentenced to 10 and 7 years of imprisonment. For Nawaz, politics has been his biggest battle to date. Call it luck or destiny, he has brought fundamental growth into Pakistan, by making it a nuclear state, but at the same time his efforts have brought repercussions that Pakistan faces today and is trying to get rid of in a long battle against the corrupt and the polluted. Pakistan was created with an ideology of growth; the growth has been curbed in favour of personal gain and personal glory.

 Let Nawaz's downfall be a bench mark and at the same time a start for the much-needed accountability and sanity that this country deserves. Let the wrong doers be questioned, held answerable and punished; because no personal glory, personal gain is greater or can be greater than the glory and success of the country these people vow to fight for. We, as a nation have waited long enough on false promises. It is time to see results.

  • Nawaz Sharif
  • Panama
  • Pakistan
  • Adiala