Panama Leaks verdict: Why it’s a defining moment for Nawaz and Imran

  • Posted at: 18 Apr, 2017, in Pakistan


By Shahjahan KhurramThe Supreme Court of Pakistan will announce the verdict of the Panama Leaks decision on April 20, 2017 this Thursday. For Pakistan`s two key political players, Nawaz and Imran, the decision promises to be disastrous for one yet full of elation for the other.Just like the elections of May 2013, once again, Imran is pitted against Nawaz Sharif. And once again, the situation is the same; Imran continues to be the underdog in his attempt to dethrone Sharif from the highest political office in the country.If the decision goes in Mian sahib`s favour, then it`s game, set and match for Nawaz Sharif. Nawaz Sharif will get the clean chit from the apex court and expect him very much to wave it around for all to see. It`s not rocket science; slogans to herald the premier`s victory will sound from every speaker at every PML-N rally post-verdict and pre-election.Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has positioned his tenure as one of development and glory. There`s little truth to that--considering frequent comparisons with his predecessor, Asif Zardari, automatically elevates him to a successful position (given PPP`s awful performance).Nawaz has banked on Metro Bus projects, battling the menace of load-shedding with power projects (most of which have to come to fruition and load-shedding still prevalent in most parts of the country during summer) and his favourite selling point--construction of motorways and roads.But that is the way politics is done (or played) in Pakistan and the Main sahib from Raiwind is a master at that. He`s effectively shied away from delivering where it counts most such as the vital sectors of health, education, policing, tax collection, tourism etc. His message is a bland one but it will stay fresh in the minds of the masses if he emerges unscathed from the Panama Leaks verdict.As far as the security situation is concerned, the Prime Minister himself and his associates have brazenly claimed credit for restoring law and order to the land. Had that been the case instead of initiatives taken by Pakistan Army and Rangers, then Punjab Police would have effectively routed Chotu Gang from Rajanpur without assistance. That wasn`t the case, was it?However, if the decision was to go against Sharif resulting in his disqualification, Imran will get the validation of his stance that he`s looking for. The PTI chairman has insisted on more than one occasion that his provincial government could have fared well--and he`s right on the mark with that statement.PTI has repeatedly stated that it`s provincial government has dedicated a huge chunk from the budget for education and health unlike Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan. While these may be impressive claims but the absence of fancy bus projects and meticulously crafted flyovers and bridges come election time will hamper his efforts to sway the masses to vote for him.Imran took to the streets against Nawaz Sharif in 2014 and vowed not to end his protest till the Prime Minister did not hang his boots. That did not materialise and Khan had to go back empty handed to a place he criticised severely during his dharna protest-- the National Assembly.Yet if the Supreme Court decides in favour of the opposition and disqualifies Nawaz, Imran will become a force to be reckoned with. Imran too has positioned himself as the lone warrior against a system rife with corruption and nepotism. And while the premier is searching for a clean chit, Imran is on the hunt for a validation of his stance that the Sharif family has embezzled billions. Nawaz`s disqualification will undubitably prove to be just that.The stakes are arguably much higher for Imran as all seems lost for him and the PTI with elections only a year away. While Nawaz has so far escaped potent attacks and scandals, this one seems to be the most dangerous of all.So, with all eyes on the Supreme Court of Pakistan, there`s only one question left in mind--Will Nawaz once again vanquish Imran`s attempt to oust him or will the PTI chairman clean bowl the Sharif family`s dynasty politics for good?

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