KARACHI: The army commander and ruler of Roman Empire, Julius Caesar enlarged the Empire, expanding it from Africa to Europe. A patient of epilepsy by birth, he, reaching the Court, often fell unconscious. After the demise of his first wife, Julius Caesar married a girl, named Pompeia. One day Pompeia held a festival in the commemoration of goddess Bona Dea. No man was allowed to attend the festival, but a young man Clodius disguised himself and was able to reach Pompeia. Doing so, he was apprehended and tried for touching her. However, Caesar could not present any proof against him during the trial, and thus the court set him free. Nevertheless Caesar, saying that his wife mist be above suspicion, divorced his wife. It gave rise to a famous proverb: ‘Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion’.... Commenting on the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif by Pakistan’s judiciary, a Saudi newspaper alluded to this proverb, saying that Nawaz Sharif had forgotten this norm that ‘Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion’. Pakistani Prime Ministers have been removed from offices in different ways. Sometime the revolt of powerful circles exiled them; sometime the judiciary sent them home packing, they were ousted by their own parties, or murdered or sometime hanged or intrigues brewing in the House forced them to resign. So, none of them was allowed to complete his term. On the other hand, none of the powerful persons was brought to book. International media has seen the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif as a political volatility. The influential newspapers, magazines and think tanks have declared it precarious for democratic values, political stability and economic progress of the country. This verdict has also highlighted an important proposition of Pakistan’s political saga that its 70 year old history has not seen any Prime Minister completing his five year term. Instead of strengthening the democratic process, the judiciary has also reinforced the powerful circles. This verdict has set forth a dangerous precedence.
Some international newspapers, magazines and think tanks comment on the disqualification of Prime Minister by Pakistani judiciary:
Britain magazine ‘The Economist’ writes the disqualification verdict of Nawaz Sharif can raise many questions. Nevertheless the bench has set a frighteningly wide precedent. It based Mr Sharif’s disqualification on Article 62 of the constitution, a baggy, mostly ignored law that requires politicians to be “honest” and “righteous”. Such qualities are hard to codify. Anyone can be grilled under this provision. The departure of Sharif is unfortunate, because Pakistan was about to complete a stable democratic tenure. Chosen by the civilian rulers, an army chief had taken the command after the retirement of ex-army chief. Anarchy created by cancerous terrorism was almost uprooted, economy was improving but achievements of Sharif’s period are now at stake.
The Economist says in another report that Nawaz Sharif has a very reason to claim that now Pakistani economy is far better than he inherited. During the previous government, GDP growth was barely 3%, inflation rate of 10% and the deficit of budget was about to explode. Just look at the economy after four years, the rate of inflation has rested at single digit, budget deficit has decreased, GDP growth rate is closing in on 6% and investors too have taken notice. Pakistani stock market capitalization has been doubled in dollar terms. However, Pakistan is not Sweden.
There are some negative signals at international level. According to another report of ‘The Economist’, Nawaz Sharif is likely to run all the affair form behind the scene. Although things are being settled quickly but PML-N has vulnerability of crumbling to pieces. Imran Khan will try to hold foot in Punjab but he is not as popular as Shahbaz Sharif is. Current situation can lead Pakistan to dangerous position and business of government can go into background. At this time, Pakistan needs strong hands to steer it though the debt crisis and help fulfill the h promise made with China for 52 billion dollar investment in infrastructure. Moreover, the verdict has weakened already staggering democracy in Pakistan.
In the nation’s 70-year history, not one prime minister has served out a full five-year term. They have been thrown out through coups and dismissed by judges. The latest example came Friday, when Pakistan’s Supreme Court disqualified- essentially dismissed - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on grounds that he had lied to the nation about his family’s wealth and financial dealings. The ouster does seem to be another chapter in Pakistan’s seemingly endless flirtation with state failure and chaos. But not so fast. The court’s action suggests it managed to extract some accountability in a sea of corruption and arbitrariness.
Sharif, who served as prime minister in the 1990s before being ousted by a coup, was elected in 2013 with a sizeable margin. He has struggled to respond to Pakistan’s economic woes. But his undoing was set in motion in April 2016, by publication of the Panama Papers, more than 11.5 million leaked files published by an international consortium of investigative journalists. The papers included nearly four decades of data from a law firm based in Panama, Mossack Fonseca that disclosed a web of offshore transactions by political leaders around the world.
The papers revealed that three of Mr. Sharif’s children owned or could sign authorizations for offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands. This raised questions about the origins of the family wealth. Mr. Sharif told the court through his lawyer that he did not own any shell companies or property through offshore holdings himself, without addressing whether his children did. The Panama Papers led to protests, and calls for his resignation, including from opposition party leader Imran Khan.
The court subsequently created a five-member panel to investigate, and the panel’s report accused Sharif’s family of perjury, forgery and hiding assets. It found, among other things, that Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, potentially falsified ownership documents that were dated 2006 but written in a font that was not commercially available until 2007. The court acted unanimously to force him out of office.
Pakistan undoubtedly faces a period of political uncertainty. The next elections are scheduled for 2018. Meanwhile, Sharif’s party enjoys a strong majority in Parliament.
He is expected to install a loyalist as interim prime minister this week and, longer-term, his brother, Shahbaz Sharif, in the post. Whatever the political outcome, Pakistan seems likely not to be shaken from its desire for closer relations with China, which is pouring $50 billion into infrastructure projects as part of its attempt to build a massive trade route. Pakistan’s establishment also will remain powerful force behind the scenes of the Muslim-majority nation, a nuclear weapons state.
Still, Pakistan has so often been a miasma of uncertainty, impunity, coercion and violence that it is worth applauding the Supreme Court’s determination to see this case to a difficult but necessary conclusion. It’s a glimmer of hope for accountability and rule of law in a nation that could use much more of it.
CHINESE NEWS AGENCY XINHUA
The removal of Nawaz Sharif by the judiciary had raised concerns in the country about political crisis, however, PML-N senior leaders and lawmakers agreed to continue Nawaz Sharif’s policies. Nawaz Sharif will have more time to focus on political activities for the coming parliamentary elections. Although political watchers expect political crisis and tensions between the PML-N and the opposition parties, Nawaz Sharif adopted a soft and reconciliation tone when he spoke to reporters after he presided over a meeting to choose his successor. Former senator and a political analyst Afrasiab Khattak describe the court’s disqualification of an elected prime minister as unfortunate as the verdict has created disruption in the political system that could lead to instability.
“Political issues should be resolved politically not through courts. This is not a healthy practice,” Khattak told Xinhua. He said as PML-N party enjoys clear majority in the National Assembly and a very strong support base in Punjab province, Sharifs will not give up and will have dominant role in politics.
Political observers are of the view that Nawaz Sharif could use the victim card in politics and the next year’s elections as he has been removed for the third time before completion of his five-year constitutional term. No doubt, the removal of Nawaz Sharif will have adverse effects on internal and external policies.
“The disqualification of Nawaz Sharif would likely bring some uncertainties to the ongoing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. Pakistan political parties have some disagreements on the project, especially whether the east or west route of the project should be given priority,” an article in the Global Times said. A professor at ‘China West Normal University’ Lan Xiang says that political changes may likely to affect CPEC. He says that some political parties have expressed their reservations on some of the economic projects on which China is investing in Pakistan. Pakistani political parties have some disagreements on the project, especially whether the east or west route of the project should be given priority. Economically developed provinces like Punjab and Sindh are along the east route, while the west route goes through less-developed provinces like Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. Nawaz Sharif supported the east route, but opposition parties favored the west. In this regard, the CPEC project would face some uncertainties if the next elections in 2018 see change in party position in the House. If PTI wins, the western route will be given priority. However, other political parties are not ready to trust in dealing in the backdrop of the project. Therefore, some of the projects may be changed or negotiated if there is a political upset in the next elections, although Chinese Foreign Ministry has said that departure of Nawaz Sharif will not cast a shadow on the project. The spokesperson of the Interior Ministry Lu Kang said on July 29 that they believe that internal situation of Pakistan would not affect Pak-China partnership. However, Chinese apprehensions have not been removed as Shahid Khaqan Abassi has taken the oath.
NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW
A Japanese Journal, Nikkei Asian Review, writes that Pakistan’s three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been removed from office for a third time — a fate all too common for civilian leaders in a country that has been ruled by the dictators for almost half of its 70-year existence. Sharif was evicted from office on July 26 — not by soldiers in khaki uniforms but by judges in black robes. General elections are to take place the next year, and Pakistan was already undergoing a critical period, but the removal of the Prime Minister has worsened the situation. Some commentators in Pakistan say that the establishment can buck up the seemingly dissident leader Chaudhary Nisar to loosen the grip of Nawaz Sharif on party. An other cause of uncertainty is that the Supreme Court has not explained if the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif is for five years of permanent. Pakistan’s economy has stabilized under Nawaz, avoiding a default in 2013 through an International Monetary Fund program it successfully completed last year despite falling short on some key reforms, such as widening the tax net. The government has so far attracted more than $56 billion in investment from Beijing as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The World Bank has forecast annual growth in the country’s gross domestic product to reach 5.2% this year and 5.8% in 2019. Nawaz Sharif was removed from the office when regional disputes are bourgeoning due to US dwindling role in region, resulting in instability and conflict. Strange and worrisome claims of Afghan Taliban sound every now and then, and loss of life of Afghan forces is on the rise. Trump administration is yet to define regional strategy. Indian foreign policy is more aggressive than before due to Pakistani interference in Kashmir. Nawaz Sharif tried to normalize relations with India but establishment foiled him. During Nawaz Sharif tenure as a Prime Minister, the establishment held its monopoly on foreign policy and national security. Therefore, the departure of Nawaz Sharif will not result in any change in Pakistani foreign policy. Pakistani democracy is hybrid, neither pure democracy, nor pure dictatorship.
According to a report of US satellite channel CNN, no Prime Minster of Pakistan has ever completed his term. The verdict of July 28 is the first event in the history of the nation when a leader is disqualified by the court. Nawaz Sharif’s tenure was about to end the next year, and according to law, he could not contest for next Prime Minster office. But after disqualification, now he can’t hold any parliamentary office. Next elections are expected in April, and In spite of court verdict, PML-N is expected to carry the day. Under Sharif, Pakistan has experienced economic growth and a marked drop in terrorism. The government also has initiated a bold foreign policy that led to strong ties with China and the formation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Known as the “Lion of Punjab,” Sharif is one of Pakistan’s leading industrialists and richest men as well as a fearsome political operative — having been Prime Minister twice before. But his long political career has been dogged with missteps and allegations of corruption. He was forced to step down during his first term as Prime Minister after a family-owned business, Ittefaq Industries, grew tremendously while he was in office.
The CNN says Nawaz Sharif’s third time removal from the office may bring about dire political and economic instability.
According to Iranian newspaper, ‘Iran News’ Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification by the court has staked economic progress of the country. The newspaper has said with the reference to a member of assembly that Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification is a massive shock to the restoration of Pakistani economy and stable and smooth progress. He says that they respect the court but the nation is worried at recent development. These are unprecedented problems faced by the nation because the country was on its way to progress and economic stability. The newspaper writes that Pakistan, passing from economic crisis of 2013, was on its way to economic refurbishment. In 2016, economy saw 5& growth while China has continued to invest in Pakistan. China is investing more than 50 billion dollar in Pakistan under CPEC. It will result economic overhaul and create job opportunities. Nawaz Sharif is the second ruler of the world removed from the office in the backdrop of Panama Papers.
American newspaper, ‘Washington Post’ writes that Sharif’s dismissal was written into the script the day he asserted his civilian rights. Sharif seems to be paying the price for trying to restore some authority to the office of the prime minister..Sharif’s ouster is being celebrated by some as an example of Pakistan upholding the best democratic values of accountability. His political rival may be very happy at his ouster but he should know that this verdict has set a precedence which may prey him anytime in the future. Pakistani citizens talk about minus three formula of establishment. It means three leader, Asif Zardari, Nawaz Sharif and the founder of the MQM have been pushed into oblivion. It is also said that now establishment does not need to impose martial law to control the country. The newspaper writes that no Prime Minister has completed his tenure during 70 year old history of Pakistan. The verdict has weakened Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif was not given the benefit of doubt during the trial. He was punished at the investigation of a JIT. His punishment is not on Panama issue but on a technical lapse. After winning the election of 2013 and establishing government, he was dismissed because he was not ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’ (righteous and honest) in the eyes of court.
In another report, Washington Post says that five member bench’s verdict is unprecedented. Its head criticized Nawaz Sharif and his family on account of their involvement in corruption. It strengthened political muscles of his rival, Imran Khan. Sixty-seven year old Nawaz Sharif rejected the idea of interference of powerful circles and reluctantly submitted to the verdict.
THE HINDUSTAN TIMES
Indian newspaper, ‘The Hindustan Times’ writes that experts deem disqualification of Nawaz Sharif as ‘judicial coup’. It has jolted the efforts of political stability of Pakistan. The experts have called it a political verdict. They say that in the case, fair legal process has not been followed and he has been disqualified without proper trial and due course. Historically, judiciary has been very close to establishment in Pakistan. It has donned legal and constitutional cloaks to dictatorial regimes. In the background of Pakistani political scenario, the balance of power will shift to Rawalpindi after the exit of Nawaz Sharif. It will further encourage terrorists who are assailing India. The biggest Pakistani province, Punjab is the fortress of PML-N power, and here it faces comparatively weak opposition. Possibly, PML-N will go in election for fresh mandate, and it is not clear if Imran Khan, who leveled allegations after Panama Papers, will have electoral benefit or not. In another report, ‘The Hindustan Time’ writes: Nawaz Sharif is disqualified, what will happen next? Will the verdict be challenged? Will there be early elections? Or will the army take over?
Indian newspaper, The Hindu has said that Nawaz Sharif’s ouster harmed Indo-Pak bilateral talks. Diplomats and experts are of the view that Nawaz’s resignation is a lethal blow on democracy in Pakistan and dialogue process with India. Former diplomats say that India should be ready for unpredictability in Pakistan. Since Pakistan came into existence, Nawaz Sharif is the only PM who had more meetings - fifteen to twenty - with his Indian counterparts than any other Prime Minister of Pakistan. However, he has not made many Indian tours. He visited India in 1991 to participate in Rajiv Ghandi’s last rituals and then in 2014 to attend swearing-in ceremony of Modi. The Hindu further writes that postponement in Indo-Pak relations is due to insurgency in Kashmir and cross-border terrorism. Pakistan accuses India of sponsoring insurgency in Baluchistan. Diplomats and critics say that this verdict will hurt Pakistan internally, especially those segments who were willing to have regional peace. Experts reject this idea that the departure of Nawaz Sharif will have any bearing on Kulbhushan Jadhav or Kashmir.
Another Indian newspaper NDA wrote that Nawaz Sharif was silenced forever.
FOREIGN POLICY MAGAZINE
Yet another prime minister fell in Pakistan last week, marking the sixth elected leader to fail to serve out his five-year term since 2002. This time, it was perennial political survivor Nawaz Sharif, in his third go-round on the post. Deposed by Gen Musharraf in 1999 and fired by the president in 1993, Sharif is no stranger to the political wilderness - he has braved it twice and come back stronger both time. His latest troubles however may be decidedly more serious. The legal basis for his disqualification is being contested by his supporters on several grounds. But the core failure to disclose receivable assets from a foreign company is uncontested. Sharif may never be able to hold public office in Pakistan again. Given Pakistan’s history of dictatorship, there have been natural questions about what lies behind Sharif’s ouster. The fates of plenty of Pakistani prime ministers have been tragic. Founding father Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated in 1951; Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was deposed by a dictator and hanged in 1979; and his daughter, Benazir Bhutto, was murdered by terrorists in 2007. But Sharif’s exit isn’t tragic, unless we count hubris and incompetence as tragedy. Nor, alas, is it a blow against Pakistan’s rampant corruption.
The Supreme Court didn’t find Sharif guilty of corruption per se, but instead declared that he’d violated Articles 62 and 63 of Pakistan’s Constitution, which demand that members of parliament be “sadiq” and “ameen” — “truthful” and “righteous.” These were made into requirements by one of Pakistan’s many past dictators, presumably as a way of controlling legislators. The conditions are usually used as a way to humiliate and harass candidates; this is the first time they’ve been used to disqualify a member of parliament retrospectively. It doesn’t take a genius to see Sharif is being singled out using a particularly dangerous and illiberal constitutional clause. His dismissal is a bad news for all those who were looking forward to the bright future of Pakistan. After the verdict, the ruling party is trying to tide over political crisis. Nawaz Sharif is the second leader who fell victim to so-called Panama Papers. His removal from the office has endangered already fragile Pakistani democracy. In the nation’s 70-year history, not one prime minister has served out a full five-year term. They have been thrown out by coups and dismissed by judges. In the past, powerful institution held sway on the country, and even today it calls the shots on foreign policy matters. Its two representatives were included in the six member team investigating the family assets and wealth of Nawaz Sharif. And it raised many questions. According to a senior research fellow related to a London based think tank, Gyrth Pyrce the emerging situation in Pakistan will further weaken the balance of power between powerful establishment and civilian government. It may be the end of political career of Nawaz Sharif but his family politics is not yet over.
US MILITARY PAPER
American military newspaper, ‘Stripes and Stars’ and American TV brought out analogous reports which say that for seventy years, Pakistani Prime Ministers have been removed by generals, governor generals and judges. However, it was hoped that after 2013 elections, Nawaz Sharif would complete his constitutional term, but it did not happen. Headlines say that he was forced out on account of corruption allegations. In fact, his removal was scripted by powerful establishment. It is a bad news for Pakistan that powerful circles have never valued democratic mandate.
The Supreme Court didn’t find Sharif guilty of corruption per se, but instead declared that he’d violated Articles 62 and 63 of Pakistan’s Constitution, which demand that members of parliament be “sadiq” and “ameen” — “truthful” and “righteous.” These were made into requirements by one of Pakistan’s many past dictators, presumably as a way of controlling legislators. The conditions are usually used as a way to humiliate and harass candidates; this is the first time they’ve been used to disqualify a member of parliament retrospectively. Certainly Nawaz Sharif is not an angel, but it is also right that powerful establishment wanted to remove him from the office. Their relations have never been ideal. However, this time, instead of direct push, judiciary and Imran Khan’s support has been harnessed. Imran Khan presents himself as a democratic leader but whenever the powerful establishment took over, some Pakistani circles celebrate the occasion and distribute sweets. Nawaz Sharif’s defeat and Imran’s victory with the back-up of powerful circles is not a good news for any one, especially for Pakistan. And it is worrisome news for India.
THE NEW YORK TIMES
The verdict which disqualified Nawaz Sharif came as no surprise. Even though Mr. Sharif was not named in the Panama leaks, and there is no evidence that he abused public office for private gain, the judges disqualified him for hiding assets, and therefore, not being “honest,” an insidious constitutional requirement for being a member of Parliament. Pakistan’s superior judiciary - made up of the Supreme Court and five High Courts - has increasingly asserted its independence and power in recent years. But it has an abysmally poor record of defending democracy against authoritarian interventions. This judicial capitulation stems from legal precedents used to legitimize executive actions in the formative decade of Pakistan’s existence, the severe limits placed on judicial autonomy by prolonged dictatorial rule in subsequent decades and the judges’ strategic compromises for maintaining a modicum of institutional autonomy. The empowered judges have become populists and have typically joined forces with the powerful section by using allegations of corruption against disobedient prime ministers. In June 2012, the Supreme Court, led by Iftikhar Chaudhry, then the chief justice, convicted and disqualified Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani of the Pakistan People’s Party for contempt after he refused to comply with a court order to reopen a dormant corruption inquiry against President Asif Ali Zardari. Neither Justice Chaudhry nor any other judge prosecuted a single official of any powerful institution for human rights violations. When a senior official was charged with kidnapping a civilian, the court restrained the police from executing arrest warrants out of the “respect of an institution.”Yet the judges have exhibited disdain for elected prime ministers. The Panama hearings have appeared arbitrary and unfair from the start. The five-member bench returned a split decision in April with three judges calling for an investigation and two judges calling for Mr. Sharif’s outright disqualification. The investigation has been marred by reports that the judges picked members of the Joint Investigation Team, including one with known ties to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the party of Mr. Sharif’s bitter rival Imran Khan. The judges have clearly undermined the perception of justice by deposing Mr. Sharif without due process or trial to prove his innocence.
In another write-up, The New York Times wrote: For those hoping for signs of a deepening of democracy in Pakistan, the ouster of Nawaz Sharif provides no help. On the surface, the decision to disqualify Mr. Sharif and his family from holding office over allegations of corruption seems a triumph for the rule of law, but the way it was done smacks too much of political infighting to celebrate, and the ensuing confusion is in no one’s interest. Nor is there much to cheer about for the future of Pakistan’s troubled relations with the United States and India.
The New York Times wrote in another of its report that Imran Khan was a chief petitioner in the court and fomented widespread street protests against Mr. Sharif, emerging as the strongest challenger to the former prime minister and his political legacy. But Mr. Khan’s path to victory in the next general election, set for mid-2018, is far from assured, according to analysts, including Moeed Yusuf, associate vice president of the Asia Center at the United States Institute of Peace, whose research and work centers on Pakistan. “In some ways, this is a clear victory; there is no question about that,” Mr. Yusuf, who is visiting Pakistan, said in an interview.
“Sans Panama Papers scandal, PML-N, the ruling party, was sitting pretty for the next elections.”.Still, Mr. Yusuf said, he did not believe Mr. Khan was “closer to a victory in the elections” than he had been before the ouster. “Whether he gets closer or not depends on his own behavior and whether Nawaz overplays his hand and what accountability court does.”
Despite his huge urban base, Mr. Khan has found it hard to prevail over Mr. Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Party, especially in Punjab, the former prime minister’s power base, and two other provinces. Mr. Khan has no experience with governing and has shown an aptitude more for street agitation than working with Parliament to bring about change. Many diplomats expressed shock at what they see as his disregard for the parliamentary process. Moreover, he is also facing the cases of undeclared assets in the apex court and the Election Commission of Pakistan. He is also accused of getting funds from foreign sources. Thought gets about that the court may also disqualify him on the same allegations on which he used to make mockery of others.
The British newspaper, The Guardian wrote that since 1947, no Prime Minister was allowed to complete his constitutional term. Sometime they were killed and sometime removed through a conspiracy. The Apex Court of Pakistan is also surprised at the verdict. Many people feel that there is some powerful hand behind the unanimous verdict of the court. Chaudhary Nisar’s press conference added weight to this perception when he revealedthat the country was facing grave dangers. What those dangers could be? America is angry with Pakistan due to its closeness to China, Nawaz Sharif’s services to KSA have provoked Iran, Nawaz Sharif was willing to improve relations with India in spite of aggressive design of the latter, while in Afghanistan, US pressure was at its place, commanding Pakistan to eliminate hostile organizations. America has an established plan to have drone attacks in tribal areas of Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif was a hurdle to all, so he was removed. The Guardian wrote that Panama was completely a global issue which ruffled Pakistani politics.
THE HUFFINGTON POST
American newspaper, ‘The Huffington Post’ writes that Pakistani Prime Ministers have been removed from offices in different ways. Sometime the revolt of powerful circles exiled them; sometime the judiciary sent them home packing. They were ousted by their own parties, or murdered or sometime hanged or intrigues brewing in the House forced them to resign, and thereby, none of them was allowed to complete his term. On the other hand, none of the powerful persons was brought to book. Those who violated constitution, threw it in the dustbin like a trash, were given passage free. General Pervez Musharraf is a standing example of such double standards. He was accused of treason, murder, confinement of honorable judges, and dozens of cases were registered against him. The Apex Court promised to try him in these cases but it failed to implement it. There are diverse reasons of why civilians are grilled and powerful circles are not held accountable. Actually they behave like a combined political power, not allowing any civilian administration or court to scrutinize them. On the other hand, political parties lack democratic norms and political values. They are indulged in leg pulling, mudslinging and character assassination. That’s why; the court does not dither for a second while removing the Prime Minister but its scale fail to measure powerful arms. Hopefully, this double standard may change in the future.
Credit rating agency Moody reported that Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification by the Supreme Court poses risks to policy continuity. If heightened political uncertainty and strife among the various branches of government disrupt the administration’s economic and fiscal agenda, macroeconomic stability and the government s access to external finance could be impaired, weighing on Pakistan s credit profile.
High domestic political risk embedded in Pakistan s credit profile Our assessment that Pakistan’s susceptibility to domestic political event risk is “High” incorporates our view that the probability of political events occurring that could affect the sovereign credit profile is high; and that such events would have a large impact on policymaking and thereby the economy and the government’s access to finance. Credit implications depend on impact on government reforms, access to external finance We expect domestic political risk to continue to constrain Pakistan’s credit profile in the near and medium term, due to both recent events and the country’s long-standing history of domestic security challenges, disruptive politics and coups. During Panama case, the shadow of uncertainty seemed cast on stock exchange of the country. The sworn-in Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abaasi said in the first speech that as the PM, he would do his best to carry on economic policies. And the speech had a healthy effect on Pakistan Stock Exchange.
Despite the hype around the corruption scandal, some analysts say that Prime Minister Sharif was “victimized” by the country’s powerful establishment, which is allegedly backing the opposition parties. The powerful quarters are very skeptical of Sharif due to his repeated attempts to improve ties with India and enhance trade between the two South Asian nuclear-armed archrivals. Also, a strong civilian government has always been a threat to the establishment’s unchecked power. Michael Kugelman of the Wilson Center in Washington noted there was a “pretty strong precedent of the Pakistani judiciary being very active and essentially sending elected officials packing.” The expert also said the Panama Papers case was “more about his family” than Sharif himself.
“You have to acknowledge the fact that Nawaz Sharif himself is not really being accused of anything that is against the law,” Kugelman said prior to the verdict.
In another investigative report, German news agency says that the honorable judges constituted a high powered JIT which was unprecedentedly comprised of two representatives from powerful establishment. The moment it took off, it became crystal clear that powerful establishment was closely watching the case. Nawaz Sharif complained, while hinting at the intrusion of establishment, that court was being pushed up. Now the verdict has proved that their fears were not entirely unfounded. The opinion of legal fraternity is divided whether the apex court has jurisdiction to disqualify a Prime Minister, for Supreme Court is not a trial court. During Panama trial and judicial investigation, it was being felt that now Nawaz Sharif has run out of his chances. Entire proceeding of the case was in a very tense atmosphere. Many TV channels created hype, and it would be germane to say that public pressure also influenced the verdict. Important opposition parties unanimously demanded the resignation of the Prime Minister. The court was also reminded time and again of their fair duties, pressure mounted up and thus the court had to dispense the ‘justice’.
A Turkish newspaper, ‘Safak Yeni’ writes that the ouster of the Prime Minster by Pakistanis judiciary is an eye opener even for the dupe among us. The Prime Minster was removed from the office for life by constitutional judiciary. It is corresponding to events took place in Turkey. Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by Pakistani judiciary which was influenced by an organization like Gulen’s FETO. The newspaper compares Tahirul Qadri with Gulen.
ON the surface everything looks fine. A democratically elected prime minister steps down over corruption charges after the apex court of the country finds him guilty of small crimes and misdemeanors linked to offshore accounts in Panama and undisclosed monies in the Gulf. Sharif was not named in the Panama expose. It is not proved that he misused his office to enrich himself or his family. Still, the judges disqualified him from holding public office for life for hiding. But the court did not touch many of the other politicians and officials implicated in the Panama Papers. This as well the head of the five-member bench comparing the Sharif family to the mafia in “The Godfather” by Mario Puzo has deepened suspicions that something other than a crusade against corruption was influencing the court’s behavior.
Even those who applaud Pakistan’s superior judiciary for asserting its independence and power feel quite uneasy when they recall how the court behaved in 1958, 1977 and 1999 when dictators ousted democratically elected governments. The latest developments raise another question. Have unelected bodies, not the people, become the final arbiters of Pakistan’s democratic destiny? A related question is whether the judiciary is acting as a front for invisible forces.
Saudi newspaper, Arab News wrote that Pakistan has been plunged into deep uncertainty.
A newspaper of the UAE, ‘Khaleej Times’ wrote that the Pakistan’s top court disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office after a damning corruption probe into his family wealth, cutting short his third stint in power. The newspaper called it an extra ordinary verdict. He was removed from the office when barely one year of his tenure was left and he was about to be the first ever Prime Minster to complete his five year term. Other Prime Ministers were either killed or forced to resign, expelled by their parties or hanged, but Nawaz Sharif was removed by powerful establishment and judiciary.
British newspaper, ‘The Independent’ wrote that Nawaz Sharif claimed, denying all the allegations, that entire investigations were patronized and false. His supporters say that his removal is a terrible conspiracy.
Gulf News writes that for the upcoming few months, Pakistani political chess will remain disturbed because politicians are at war with each other. In the coming weeks, more cases and scandals will be brought to NAB.
Indian TV channel NDTV says that after the resignation of Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan is bracing with political crisis after some year’s stability. Powerful circles have not commented on the allegations if they are involved in it or not. In the past, these powerful circles rejected the claim that they were backing up the Supreme Court against Nawaz Sharif.
British Broadcasting Corporation’s operational division, BBC says that the removal of Nawaz Sharif is a massive jolt for Pakistanis, but they are quite used to such traumatic socks. From 1947 until now, Pakistan has seen 18 Prime Ministers but they were removed from the office without completing their terms. Nawaz Sharif’s third time dismissal is not worse than 1999, because this time he was removed by the Supreme Court.
A Chinese newspaper, ‘China Daily’ writes that there was a formal reaction after the court verdict. The spokesperson of the ruling party, PML-N said that they would follow the verdict in spite of strong reservations. The spokesperson was of the view that during the proceeding, legal and constitutional constraints were not followed. They were meted out with injustice, but, he assured, history would pronounce its own verdict.
The US magazine, ‘The Atlantic’ wrote that the removal of a Prime Minister in the name of accountability is a novel example which has raised many questions on fragile democracy of Pakistan.
The Times of India says that judicial verdict has undermined Pakistani government. In Pakistan, the judiciary likes to crackdown on political corruption but it does not dock powerful circles of the country. The entire process is meant to strengthen already powerful establishment in comparison with civilian institutions.
US news agency, the Associated Press wrote that Nawaz Sharif resigned, honoring the court but he raised the questions on the fairness of the verdict. Bracing with the assaults of religious militants, Pakistan is set in political turmoil on account of this verdict. Now the question is, who will succeed Nawaz Sharif.
British news agency Reuters says that Nawaz Sharif promptly resigned but a member of the dissolved cabinet said that some elements of powerful establishment had some involvement in the ouster of Nawaz Sharif. His third time removal from the office has raised questions on Pakistani fragile democracy. For opposition leader, Imran Khan, the verdict is a significant political victory.
THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
Israeli newspaper, ‘The Times of Israel’ writes that no Pakistani Prime Minister has completed his five year term. Most of them were ousted by powerful establishment or Supreme Court. It is the second time in Pakistani history that a Prime Minister in the office was disqualified by Supreme Court.