By S Tariq
In the first instance, Mr Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, an undisputed political genius, was tried and executed in what went down in history as a controversial trial, initiated by General Zia ul Haq. It is indeed ironic that a product of this dictator is currently being subjected to investigation.
With each passing day since the commencement of proceedings in the Judicial Academy premises, we have seen a progressive change in the body language of PML-N spokespersons and those appearing before the JIT.
These individuals have become increasingly vitriolic against the investigators, little realising that by doing so they are levelling allegations against the very authority that initiated the probe. The persistent wailing of those being questioned has now become irksome to the point where it may even contribute to losing whatever sympathy they had been able to generate. What is said in this media interaction, is laced with stuff that is nothing short of ridiculous. Take for example Imran bashing – something that has no relevance to ongoing proceedings, except for the fact that it was PTI, which doggedly pursued the Panama Leaks case in the Apex Court. Worry and anger is writ large on the faces of PML-N leadership as the deadline for submission of findings approaches.
Desperation is now so evident that fingers are being indirectly pointed at one of the most revered institutions of the country that has shown marvellous constitutional restraint, contrary to historical precedence. To that end, extensive use of social media is being resorted to in order to spread fake news and rumours. This campaign is nothing short of collaborating with those who are out to undo Pakistan and therefore needs to be stamped out ruthlessly. There is split opinion on summoning of Maryam Nawaz Sharif before the JIT.
I find nothing amiss in this since there are no gender-based preferences or reservations in the eyes of law. I however, am not sure if Wednesday’s appearance of the PM’s daughter will catapult her as an heir to the top slot in PML-N in a smooth fashion, whenever the time comes for such a transition to manifest itself. If and when such a scenario does develop, its successful culmination will depend on the answer to a single critical question – will there be an intra-family power struggle for the throne? While news making events are occurring in the Federal Capital on a daily basis, the Qatari Prince has refused to come to the Pakistani Mission in Doha to appear before members of the investigation team.
The implications of this refusal and whether the member of the Qatari Royal Family would be examined on his own turf, are questions that will perhaps be answered by the time this write up goes to print. Nonetheless, the continuing arrogant Qatari’s attitude, is not likely to provide much help to the Sharif family. In spite of the serious atmosphere surrounding the JIT proceedings, there have been some lighter moments too (if they can be termed as such).
Take for example the reported response by Mr Hussain Nawaz to a question whether he held dual nationality, “I don’t know”, came the reply. Then there was Mr Kirmani’s fiery outburst, which drew a similarity between General Zia ul Haq’s takeover on July 5, 1977 and Maryam Nawaz’s appearance on the same date in 2017 with reference to ‘certain forces’ that were conspiring to sabotage democracy (or words to that effect).
The speaker must have later bitten his tongue on realising that Mr Nawaz Sharif was himself a prodigy of the military dictator, who imposed Martial Law in 1977. So, the nation waits expectantly for July 10, when we expect to see the climax of the Panama epic with all its rhetoric, drama, tears and comedy. This will be a great moment in our national history, where the battle between corruption and accountability will finally be lost or won.