PML-N was under the impression that the Panama case verdict was the last that they would hear of the Panama papers, and a lack of proof and a request for further investigation implied that the Prime Minister is innocent. While this optimistic assumption can be understood on the part of a beleaguered party, the recent statements of Senator Nihal Hashmi of PML-N are unacceptable. Senator Nihal Hashmi, in an address to workers, threatened unimaginable consequences to those who are carrying forth the process; which Hashmi describes as a painful process for the Prime Minister and his family. Hashmi had to quit his Senate seat after the video of his diatribe against “those investigating” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family went viral on Wednesday.

The JIT process is painful for the entire country, and the comfort of the PM and his family is the farthest thing on anyone’s minds… at least anyone who wants justice and rule of law to survive in the country. Senator Hashmi has just exposed himself as someone who has no respect for the system in place, absolutely no understanding of accountability towards the institutions and no respect for the words of the Supreme Court. In his ignorant bravado, he has also risked exposing his party and its politics that allows such anti-democratic and violent sentiments to prevail.

In trying to prove his loyalty to the Sharif family, Nihal Hashmi suffered a very sharp blow to his political standing. Not only did the party not endorse his remarks but also termed them regrettable and inappropriate. His party membership is suspended, and should remain so. The Chief Justice of Pakistan also took suo moto action against the remarks, making the situation worse for the PM’s case, especially in the eyes of the public.

While several are pointing out that this incident highlights PML-N’s plan to influence the decision of the JIT; it is much more than that. The fact that the ruling party set a precedent of accountability by seeking an explanation from their own party member shows how the system has a chance of reforming, but only when its players are caught on tape. The constant media attention, criticism from the opposition and the upcoming election season do not let any instants go without significant action. The parties are prompted to act sensibly and get rid of old political gimmicks, because they are being closely watched.