By Obaid ur Rehman.
Panama Papers’ revelations have suddenly changed the overall political environment in the country in the time span of just about one month only. After the days of sit-in back in 2014, it’s for the first time that federal government, specially Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef has come under that much pressure. There have been a lot of discussions going on so far regarding to Panama Papers on various media channels, government’s and on opposition’s tables. Prime Minister has even tried a couple of times to take nation into confidence that whatever he has been doing since coming into the politics, is all crystal clear and he has done nothing in harming the citizens’ moral values by transferring their tax money into the foreign accounts. Inspite of that, Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef has not said a single word on the floor of parliament where he is supposed to clear and answer all the allegations which have been put on him and on his children regarding to off-shore companies and illegal means of transferring money abroad.
We know that there is one party that does not remain silent whenever it comes to bad governance and involvement of government’s officials in corruption, etc. Other parties do criticize wherever needed but it is Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) who has always shown strong reaction for any kind of untoward political scenario. After Panama Papers’ revelations, chairman PTI Imran Khan presented the strong motive against Nawaz Shareef, demanded Judicial Commission for complete inquiry and asked PM to resign once again till the judicial commission presents its inquiry report. Other opposition parties also had more or less same point of views which Imran Khan had but it was Imran Khan who indicated and said that PTI will march towards Raiwind if Prime Minister does not resign and form that Judicial Commission whose TORs would be suggested by opposition parties.
The point of discussion is that everything should be carried out properly and step by step. Imran Khan after Panama Papers’ revelations has organized two massive political gatherings, one in F-9 Park, Islamabad and the other one in Charing Cross, Lahore, to protest against Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef and his children for their off-shore companies and illegal means of transferring money into their foreign accounts. There is no doubt in it that Imran Khan and his party have a massive fan following and people love to second his call for protest or for any gathering. But political matters and issues do not get resolved always by calling upon people on streets every time. Sometimes you have to be very sharp in dealing with your opposition. Political culture has now changed and we are not living in the era of 90’s when massive and huge political gatherings used to exert pressure on government.
Government knows that it is obvious that a large number of people would gather upon Imran Khan’s call so it does not pressurize government anymore now. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf should realize its political importance being as an opposition party. PTI has the ability to exert more pressure on government than the ruling People’s Party as the leader of opposition. Considering this fact, PTI should lead the table more sensibly and follow the proper procedure for going after some issue. As far as Panama Papers’ scandal is concerned, government has rejected the TORs which opposition parties have mutually suggested. Now strong reaction from opposition parties is expected for sure. But I must say that inspite of that PTI has to play its cards properly. Yet there is no need to come out on roads or to call for public gatherings. Instead of gathering people and talking about government’s policies and cheating cases again and again, what PTI needs to do is to wait for further developments and then to think about how and when to initiate the next step. If government finalizes the TORs for its own benefits only then it would be appropriate for PTI and other opposition parties to protest against government on legal grounds.
Demanding resignation from PM, for me, is the next hour debate for now. If Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef and his children are found guilty in Panama Papers’ scandal after the complete inquiry under Chief Justice of Pakistan, then Nawaz Shareef will obviously lose all the moral strength to remain as the Chief Executive of the State. In that case, PTI and other opposition parties would have the moral justification to come out on roads in order to protest against the government and even to march peacefully towards Nawaz Shareef’s home in Raiwind. But before even that, indicating about march towards Nawaz Shareef’s place is of no mean and of no use as it will just degrade PTI and the party’s credibility. Once you have a proper way to proceed then you don’t need to always gather people for some particular cause. Imran Khan needs to learn from those 126 days of sit-in, where the purpose was neat and clean but the methods and ways of improvising the intentions were probably not up to the mark and sensible.
As far as Panama Papers’ scandal is concerned, I must say that Peoples Party is the one who has lead the table of politics once again while handling this matter. On the other hand, PTI is just going after political gatherings and protests. There is no doubt in Imran Khan’s honesty and his concerns for this nation which make him a worthy leader. He is probably the only sincere leader right now in Pakistan, but sometimes you have to dig out against your will to achieve what you want.
Another setback which Imran Khan has faced is the acceptance of Jehangir Tarin about his off-shore companies and his children’s business outside the country as well. Aleem Khan’s flats in London have also raised questions marks on the credibility of Imran Khan’s fellow leaders. Now everyone is watching and waiting that what Imran Khan will announce regarding to Jehangir Tarin and Aleem Khan. The only safe passage for Imran Khan to maintain his credibility is to announce the investigations against both of these leaders as well and let people know that for justice and equality, everyone should be held accountable, either he is from your own party or belongs from another party. Apart from that, Imran Khan should realize that he is extremely worthy leader of this country and he has to resolve and eradicate the in-house clashes which are strengthening their roots within the party. He really needs to make sure that all of his political moves are mature and sensible enough so that his opposing leaders find it difficult to criticize Imran Khan for his basic policies.
The writer is Islamabad based Journalist and a Research Analyst.