Pakistan’s Politics in 2017

By Obaid ur Rehman.

The Panama Leaks have given complete different directions to Pakistan’s politics. Sharif family under immense pressure is looking for a legal way out from Panama Leaks Case when the case is in Supreme Court of Pakistan whereas other Opposition Parties, particularly Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is giving way too tough time to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family in SC as well as in its political processions.

The Panama Leaks giving new directions to politics in Pakistan have made it able enough for political parties, specifically for PTI and PMLN to prepare for next general elections accordingly. After the Panama Leaks Case’s proceedings, it is obvious that verdict can either be in favour of PMLN or PTI will get advantage of it. The possibility of such a verdict can also not be ruled out that both the parties would try to take advantage of any in between decision.

In any of the case, the next strategy of both the parties would be highly dependent upon the decision of Supreme Court. Imran Khan has always accused Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family for being corrupt and involved in money laundering and other mega corruption cases. If the verdict comes in favour of Imran Khan, then it would be the biggest victory for Imran Khan in his entire political career.

If Supreme Court frees PM Nawaz Sharif from the case, then there won’t be any reason for other parties to accuse Nawaz Sharif for doing corruption. Nawaz Sharif then would have the paper of SC’s decision for not being involved in any of the corruption cases in wake of Panama Leaks Case. With Nawaz Sharif having clean chit from the Supreme Court of Pakistan, it won’t remain further justifiable for Chairman PTI Imran Khan to continue accusing Nawaz Sharif in this case.

The decision of SC in Panama Leaks Case would surely determine the political strategy for PMLN and PTI how to enter in next General Elections to be held in 2018. Once any party would have the edge after the decision of SC, it would become much easier for its leaders and workers to convince their voters. As in 2017, the year of elections’ preparation, most of election campaigns of political parties would be based on the verdict given by SC in Panama Leaks Case.

PTI believes that regardless of SC’s decision, they won’t ever tolerate the corruption on any scale. What I personally believe is that regardless of Supreme Court’s verdict on Panama Leaks Case, most of the sensible and educated class of this nation understands very well about the honestly of Nawaz Sharif and his family. Many people have understood that the decision given by a court is based upon proofs, but you also need to have a moral victory, where Nawaz Sharif has already lost.

On the other end, PMLN will try its level best to launch and initiate much more mega projects to persuade the nation, being their policy to prepare themselves for next elections. PMLN has very strong roots and hold on their voters and they know who to convert even a small number of people in political gatherings into large number of voters. This is where PTI lacks, PTI’s mismanagement on lower levels has always cost them and I fear that it will also affect Imran Khan and his team even more than it has affected them in 2013’s Elections.

PTI can fill up the grounds during political gatherings but being another reality, PTI needs a lot of homework to do to mark their presence on lower grounds and make their roots stronger. They need to work hard for constructive door to door campaigns and to convert their numbers into votes. Apart from that, KPK Government also needs to bring more reforms in the province. For sure that they have come up with new innovative changes since taking the charge of provisional government, but yet there is more room for improvement.

As I have mentioned earlier that Panama Leaks Case has opened new directions in Pakistan’s Politics in multiple aspects. PMLN and PTI look more prominent political figures in this case, whereas other parties seem to be just formal and filling the missing space. Initially it was Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) which was much involved in the case and even led the opposition tables for TORs. Later on, party’s internal politics, Zardari-Bilawal duo and internal groupings, PPP has gone far away from main stream politics and once again got restricted to Sindh only.

2017 will be a very notable and crucial year for Pakistan’s politics. At one end, Supreme Court’s verdict in Panama Leaks Case in favour of either Imran Khan or Nawaz Sharif will benefit a lot to any one of them in terms of heading for 2018 General Elections. Apart from that, acceleration in political activities of different parties and announcement of various mega projects in respective areas will also be observed to maximum extent. Let’s hope that this time, people with being out of the box, will choose honest and sincere persons in elections considering their ideology and concern for the country and nation.

The writer is Islamabad based Journalist / Research Analyst and writes on Politics, Current Affairs, Social Issues and Sports.

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