Panama Leaks Case; Final Showdown & 2018 Elections

By Obaid ur Rehman.

An era of Nawaz Sharif’s politics is coming to an end. Nawaz Sharif, his family and PMLN leadership have been brought to a point where they have no other option but to face accountability. No one had ever thought that corruption of Nawaz Sharif will be exposed through this way and Panama Papers’ revelations, lies of Sharif family, PMLN leadership and their failed political strategy would lead Nawaz Sharif to a quicksand. A quicksand from where either Nawaz Sharif won’t be able to come out or even if he gets successful in overcoming ongoing political scenarios, the dents of Panama Leaks and related case proceedings will always be seen next to his name.

In the meanwhile, different political parties are using shoulders of Panama Leaks Case to fire themselves up for upcoming General Elections. Panama Case is the best chance for political parties under ongoing political circumstances to prepare their strategy for elections. Coming up with such a stance which could persuade their voters, is something that every political party is looking for. But if we talk about Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the genuine opposition that someone has done, is none other than Chairman PTI Imran Khan and his team. It’s because of Imran Khan that today Panama Case is young & alive and Nawaz Sharif is probably heading towards an end of his politics where there seems to be no political survival for him.

It would be unfair to consider some political benefits and interests behind Imran Khan’s strong and competitive opposition against the federal government. Everyone knows that he is the only political leader in our system who truly wants to see a prosperous and corruption-free Pakistan. Surely because of PTI’s efforts to fight the case in Supreme Court and run after Sharif Family for doing money laundering and corruption, PTI will have a certain positive impact during General Elections. Jamat-e-Islami (JI) should also be given credits for fighting the case in an effective manner, but as far as PPP is concerned, I must say that for its own political survival, particularly in upcoming elections, PPP’s politics now completely revolves around the proceedings of Panama Case.

To cash the opportunity, particularly PPP is trying to take all the credits of Nawaz Sharif’s accountability. PPP says that it is because of their efforts, the matter of Panama Leaks finally went to Supreme Court and the next proceedings were started. A matter of fact that cannot be and should not be ruled out is the political understanding between Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif, according to which both the guys have promised behind the curtains to always defend each other in the time of need. Initially it was PPP’s statements that Panama Case and its hearings in Supreme Court is the wastage of time but now PPP leaders say that Nawaz Sharif is facing the trials and accountability just because of them.

Obviously Asif Zardari cannot defend Nawaz Sharif publically, neither he can express his sympathies with him nor take a strong stance against Sharif Family like Imran Khan has taken. So now PPP leaders are trying to make full use of current situation so that they can somehow provide themselves with enough room on behalf of which they can stabilize their falling vote-bank, in Sindh. Remember that PPP has now been limited to Interior Sindh and will try its best to keep its hold atleast on Sindh. On the other end, Jamaat-e-Islamic is also looking forward to come up for 2018 General Elections with a strong and persuasive portfolio. In the same way, PTI will also use Panama Papers’ revelations and the exposed Nawaz Sharif as its gateway into the next elections during its Election Campaigns.

Apparently, there is absolutely no doubt that PTI has proved itself as the most strongest opposition party in the current tenure but yet, the party needs a strong homework to turn their number of supporters into the number of voters. The Bi-Elections always show that PTI fails with a heavy margin and raise serious concerns on its homework in making its roots stronger and effective. Imran Khan’s men seriously need to work on this area and convert their number of supporters into voters as early as possible before it gets too late for them once again to make it to the assemblies as a party having most number of seats.

Despite the prevailing governance problems across Pakistan, Sindh is the only province that has gone in backwards direction in terms of improvisation of effective policies to ensure an efficient administration. PPP Government that has been ruling Sindh for decades in the name of Bhutto could have redeemed itself but it failed badly to improve the situation of its own province. To compete on federal level, PPP is trying to grab maximum reputation to land into the battle ground of upcoming General Elections on behalf of Panama Leaks Case.

It doesn’t matter how many efforts PPP tries to put Bhutto in Bilawal Zardari, he cannot have such a charismatic personality that his grandfather and mother had in their time. If it’s Asif Ali Zardari, the politically mature and sensible politicians in PPP understand very well that Asif Zardari is a kind of burden on party having same old feudal mindset that always finds several ways to collide with system, institutions and establishment. He is a good political player who knows quite well how to play his cards, but he has failed to prove himself as a political leader who has the power to grab audience.

As far as Nawaz Sharif & PMLN are concerned, they have been damaged by the ongoing corruption charges and the proceedings in Supreme Court. Although PMLN’s projects in Punjab cannot be completely ruled out but the point is still raised that what was the role and where was the focus of PMLN on other provinces. It can be said that PMLN may have succeeded in Punjab, to be more precise, particularly in Lahore, but Nawaz Sharif and his team have failed to lead the nation as a whole. Under the current consequences, especially if Nawaz Sharif gets disqualified and jailed, it would become way too difficult for PMLN to wrap up the shattered pieces of the party and go into the elections fully loaded.

Summing up the discussion, the bottom line is that PTI has a very good chance to come into power in forthcoming General Elections 2018, having said that if their leaders opt smart moves and bring their supporters out of their homes, to cast their vote for them this time, not for chanting slogans in political gatherings. PPP leaders will also try to stretch their muscles but their arrow will drop within the reach of their sights and they will only be able to retain Sindh maximum, nothing more than that they will ever get. Nawaz Sharif & PMLN will try to recover their heels from Panama Leaks Case and any possible advantage they can get is any misconduct from PTI during its elections’ homework. If PTI goes smooth and flawless into elections, then the fading PPP and PMLN could pave passages for Pakistan to witness the beginning of a new Nawaz-Zardari-less Democratic Era.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are of the writer and do not reflect the policy of The Weekly Pakistan.

The writer is Islamabad based Research Analyst / Content Writer / Media Person and is currently pursuing his M. Phil. Degree in Media Studies from Bahria University Islamabad. He writes on Politics, Current Affairs, Social Issues and Sports and can be reached at;

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