LAHORE - In good old days of his previous terms as prime minister, the Lahore reporters covering the PML-N had many opportunities to meet him and ask questions. Sometimes the interaction took place at Lahore’s old airport – where he used to land on arrival from Islamabad before proceeding to his Model Town residence, and sometimes the reporters used to meet him at his residence, where he used to interact with his party leaders and workers to listen to their problems.

At one such meeting with reporters at 180-H Model Town, the prime minister told a joke, which was about the marriage of an illiterate person with a highly-qualified woman. On the first night of the wedding, the bride tried to be romantic by reciting a Persian couplet – and started waiting for a response from her life partner. But there was none.

The bride grew impatient and asked her hubby if he understood the meaning of the couplet. “Yes! Indeed! I understand that our marriage will not last long”, said the embarrassed groom, admitting his mismatch with her because of his illiteracy.

This joke is fully applicable to the rhetoric coming from the Sharif family members after their appearances before the joint investigation team probing the sources of money for their luxurious four flats in London.

Every member said at the end of the JIT session: Tell us what’s the allegation against us?

Maryam Nawaz, the prime minister’s daughter who appeared before the JIT on Wednesday, told reporters that when the JIT questioning came to an end, she sought permission to ask them a question. On being allowed, she asked them what precisely is the allegation against her? According to her, there was no response from the JIT.

When the prime minister appeared before the JIT, he too had expressed ignorance before the allegation against him. His two sons - Hussain and Hassan - also said the same.

The JIT is supposed to present its report to the Supreme Court bench on July 10, after which the next phase of proceedings will start. But what kind of a report will it be when the respondents say they don’t even know the allegation against them.

When the allegations are not clear, what kind of replies the respondents would have offered. And if a verdict is to be based on their answers, is it very difficult to imagine its nature?

The JIT had been set up by the Supreme Court in the light of its April 20 judgment. Also it was the apex court which had framed 13 questions, to which answers were to be found by the JIT.

The Sharifs could have proved their innocence by making public answers to all those questions. This would have improved their public image both at home and at international level.

But, as a matter of strategy, the Sharifs tried to exploit the JIT appearances for their political benefits – without sharing with the nation the answers to the 13 questions. The PML-N leaders used all their energies to make the JIT controversial. They expressed reservations about two of the six JIT members, which the apex court rejected immediately.

A number of party leaders then started expressing fears that the Sharif family would not get justice.

Some newspapers reported that the PML-N has decided not to accept the verdict if it was against the prime minister. It was also reported that the PML-N would not nominate anybody as successor to Mian Nawaz Sharif in case he was disqualified.

The prime minister himself said that a JIT of 200 million people would bring the PML-N back to power in 2018 with a bigger margin than that of the 2013 election. Maybe the PML-N sweeps the next election, but the question is what will be the fate of Nawaz Sharif? Who will lead the party to the next election? What will happen immediately after the Supreme Court verdict, especially if it is not in favour of the prime minister?

Apparently, political turbulence will be seen in the weeks and months ahead. If the decision is against the prime minister, the PML-N will go for protests. But if doesn’t disqualify him, other parties will be on roads.