Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should have realised that he has reached a dead end. Instead, he is convening meetings after meetings with his close allies and with his cabinet to send out a message that the end is beyond him. Who is bolstering him to stay on and who is egging on him to refuse to read the writing on the wall is anybody’s guess. His advisors apparently have run out of rationality. The drumbeating of PML-N musketeers to discredit the JIT report even before it was made public says enough about the quality of the advisors the PM is surrounded with. The ruling party is taking the investigation into the Panama leaks as a coup. A report has been leaked to media about an inquiry done by the government on the JIT that confirms establishment’s involvement. According to the report, the establishment has the support of the leading opposition parties along with the representatives of the Defence of Pakistan of Council to join the planned countrywide protests to force the PM to resign if he refuses to do so.

The government celebrated when the JIT was formed by the Supreme Court to further investigate the money-laundering allegation against the Sharif family brought up in the Panama leaks. Little did the government know that this investigation would dig out a whole matrix of offshore companies where the Sharif family has stored its fortune. The seriousness of the JIT became worrisome when the members of the Sharif family were summoned one after the other for interrogation. Every member returned unsettled after an appearance before the JIT. Their media talks outside the Judicial Academy were more about the performance of the JIT than about their resolve to prove their innocence. The worst unravelled when the sons of the PM were summoned multiple times. But the emotions became really raw when it was Marium Nawaz’s turn to tell her part of the story to the JIT.

The ruling family had never expected the JIT to go that far. They had thought the JIT to be a piece of cake, something that would be easy to swallow and relish. It was not to be. Each interrogative session turned on the heat around the government. The entire state machinery was more or less devoted to informing the nation that there was a conspiracy going on to destabilise the government. The inclusions of the ISI and MI members in the investigation team began to raise hackles and were finally considered the culprits behind the sinister inquiry.

If the past is of any relevance, we tend to believe that the intelligence agencies of Pakistan have been capable of making and breaking governments. Mian Nawaz Sharif was part of one such attempt - the formation of IJI - that brought Benazir’s second government down. There must be many more examples, but since the IJI was exposed through a court trial, therefore, setting it as an example gives weight to the argument. We do not know if the agencies or Pakistan’s establishment are behind the JIT report unless proved through a legal process just as the corruption charges against the PM family has been proved. For now, all that is coming from the government side can be considered just heresy.

The government has agreed to contest its case and prove itself innocent. It will be unfortunate if the government tries to win its case, as it has been doing, by discrediting the JIT report on the argument that the agencies or the establishment are behind this report. The government must prove that the documents it has presented in the court were genuine and not fake. The argument that the size, the volume, and labour went into the making of the report indicates that it has been work spreading 20 to 40 years has no legal value. Even if we agree that the report has been compiled in the light of former court cases against the Sharif family, does it make the charges laid against Nawaz Sharif and his family null and void. If corruption has been done. If money has been laundered. If there is a huge gap between the standard of living and means of income of Nawaz Sharif and his family, then they are liable to bear the burden of guilt and be ready for the ensuing punishment. The JIT has recommended opening up ten different cases and their probe by the National Accountability Bureau. Whether the SC accepts the recommendation of the JIT team or gives its own decision depends on the wisdom of the bench. However, this investigation has many more paths to cross. In the meantime, it is important that the PM resigns. But he is not doing it.

Why is it that in Pakistan the parties in power get stuck up with the idea of controlling and begin believing that it is their right to remain in power? The argument used by our governments to validate this psyche is ‘people’s mandate.’ What the rulers forget is that people give a mandate to an individual who goes to them standing on a relatively high morals and promises to deliver on the back of those morals. When the ruler loses that standing he also loses the strength to govern both morally and legally. Our leaders need to understand and perhaps remind themselves that they do not own the country. The parliamentary politics is not dependent on a person or a family to function rather it relies on the political process with political parties at the centre of that process.

From the behaviour shown by Nawaz Sharif, it goes to demonstrate that it is not just enough to have property in England or to have British nationality to appreciate the parliamentary politics of which Britain is considered the harbinger. It takes political behaviour laced with ethics and morality to believe in the political process that strengthens democracy. Riches and wisdom are two different things. Thanks for proving it Mr PM.