The Supreme Court (SC) has reserved its verdict in the Panama case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, and leaders of both opposition and government are using every opportunity to get their narrative across – Nawaz Sharif’s innocence in the case of the government and his guilt from circles of opposition. The government’s allegations against the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) tasked with investigating the charges were properly expounded on Friday in the Senate.


Among other issues, PML-N lawmakers suggested that the JIT went further than the mandated 13 questions, ignored state-to-state channels for documentation confirmations by using legal firms instead and was out of line in tapping the phones of witnesses. Not only this, but the government alleges that JIT Head Wajid Zia’s family member’s law firm was paid an exorbitant amount as a consultancy fee, the claim of Ishaq Dar being a tax evader was refuted by the proof of returns filed in 35 years and that JIT members were deliberately looking to plant evidence against the Premier and his family.


Given that the SC has reserved its ruling, one cannot anticipate how the judges have interpreted the PML-N’s version of the story, but one thing that is clear is that some of the allegations levelled by the government are not completely outrageous. For starters, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s tax returns have been the subject of many a debate, but his decision to bring these to court as evidence might just mean that the JIT was wrong about this. And if the investigative agency missed the facts in one aspect of the case, there might be other errors as well.


From failing to announce the name of the person behind the picture leak, to going well beyond its role, it cannot be doubted that the JIT stepped over the line mandated by the SC. This on its own does not prove that the investigation team was targeting the Sharif family, but it does indeed sow doubt over the team’s objectives in this investigation. Was finding evidence against the ruling family a forgone conclusion? Have certain institutions colluded against the government in a bid to exert pressure?


If certain institutions can be found to have deliberately concealed facts and information in favour of the Sharif family – SECP Chief Hijazi’s arrest is in connection to this allegation – then on the flip side, we can safely assume that some might be targeting the Prime Minister and PML-N as well. If there is even a shred of a doubt against the integrity of the JIT and its findings, the outcome of this case might be even further convoluted, and sadly there is some doubt.