ISLAMABAD -  Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the apparent heiress of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s political dynasty, is ordinarily known for her polite and composed demeanour. But on Tuesday evening, she seemed to have lost her calm and lashed out at her detractors on Twitter. What prompted the sudden rage remained unclear but Maryam Nawaz went on a tweeting spree after commenting on a supporter’s tweet that had pointed to the prime minister’s confident vibes post-Panama Papers verdict. 

“Panama is crap. Trashed in the rest of the world. Those relying on it to bring down NS wil (sic) bite the dust Insha’Allah,” she tweeted.  

Shortly afterwards, she stated, “Panama papers were never about corruption. Even the stealers & hackers (read originators) didn’t say it was. Losers in imminent danger/Of being swept away in 2018 pounced upon the conspiracy hatched by evil minds.”  

After ostensibly admonishing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Maryam Nawaz turned her attention to local journalists who contributed to the Panama Papers findings. “The misery of journalists who broke the Panama story is understandable. Their overt & covert efforts to bring the govt down came to a naught,” she said in a tweet. 

When a party supporter threw the idea via a tweet that the journalists might have been paid, she gave the assertion a short shrift by saying: “I don’t say they were paid but the idea of overnight fame for bringing a govt down was certainly a glorious lure.” 

The tweets presented a golden opportunity to Umar Cheema, the investigative journalist, who had contributed to the Panama Papers revelations and was part of the team of journalists who were named for a Pulitzer Award for their work. “If bringing truth to public means an attempt to bring down a government, yes it was done. This is a truth denied for decades. #PanamaPapers,” Cheema tweeted back.  

The tweet-off then crossed international boundaries and other journalists jumped into the fray.  

Frederick Obermaier, the Pulitzer winning journalist and author of Panama Papers , contradicted the prime minister’s daughter for terming the investigation as trash. Obermaier said Panama Papers investigations were carried out in 80 countries.  

Bastian Obermayer, another journalist who investigated the findings of the Panama Papers , tweeted that “journalism is not about bringing a government down. It’s about telling the truth.” He also stressed that Panama Papers were not just about Pakistan.  

Some other local journalists criticized the tweets of Maryam Nawaz and Hamid Mir, a leading talk show host, urged Maryam to apologize to Cheema. The apology might be a far cry but the tweet meltdown of Maryam Nawaz suggested how sharply the Panama Papers revelations and their political fallout have jolted the ruling family.   

Interestingly, the tweet-storm came shortly after the news about the Chief Justice of Pakistan constituting a three-member Special Bench for the implementation of court’s judgment on Panama Leaks.

The defiant and dismissive tone of the prime minister’s daughter suggested that the Sharifs are bracing for a tough defence and meanwhile plan to go on an offensive against their real and perceived enemies.