When this piece comes out in print, our head of decision-making would have undertaken his trip to the UK. Gullible as this nation might be, it will take some ‘doing’ to convince it that the purpose of the visit, so close on the heels of the Panama Papers, is a medical checkup. Media is already buzzing with credible speculation that the urgency and timing of the PM’s departure is underlined by the need to seek assurances from Pakistani political player’s abroad-not to make moves that may affect his remaining tenure. In return, Mr. Sharif has nothing to offer except relief in ongoing investigations and cases. If that is true (and I have great faith in our media’s ability to ferret out the truth), then the trip will be nothing short of a self-indictment that will aggravate the rising wave of sentiment, which is even now manifesting itself amongst the people.

That release of the Panama Papers is a conspiracy against Pakistan’s current rulers, is a ridiculous notion being bandied about by official spokespersons and party loyalists. These individuals are making mockery of themselves, since the disclosures have implicated elected heads of governments worldwide. Some quarters in Pakistan have begun to say that the chain of events is nothing short of divine retribution for those, who have plundered our coffers empty. These individuals have done so in the knowledge that if and when the need arises, they will easily slip out of the country and carry on with their respective lifestyles, safe from public retribution. Political drawing room discussions now stand divided between the notion that perhaps the fuse to this retribution may have already been lit, while others are of the opinion that without a charismatic leader to seize the moment, the furor may die down. I would have been inclined towards the latter school, had not the ‘leaks’ set into motion a global chain reaction, where two Prime Ministers have been forced to step down and a third is finding himself hopelessly mired.

The people of Pakistan are also at a loss to understand the shamefully timid government reaction in response to the confession of the senior RAW operative apprehended in Balochistan. My fears (and doubts) have been redoubled on being told by a friend that he had stopped appearing on a television talk show, because he was advised to go easy on ‘Indian bashing’. If this is true and if the advice originated from official corridors, then I have nothing more to say, except that ‘our future is indeed in God’s hands’.

It is the ‘RAW Operative Case’ and the ‘Panama Papers’ that is raising serious doubts in the minds of PML-N voters as to the ability of their party to govern for another term or as some of my PML-N friends put it “continue with the present one”. This is a significant change in the traditional loyalties and mindset of the ruling party vote bank. When this dent (however small it may be) is viewed along with the agitation road map announced by PTI and the response of some PML N ministers as regards the march on Raiwind, the ‘façade’ of prevalent democracy becomes absolutely clear. If agitations can be held opposite 10 Downing Street then why can’t the people of Pakistan express themselves in the vicinity of the Raiwind Estate, as long as this expression is responsibly managed, remains free of violence and hooliganism?

A sane advice to our PM would be to, without wasting any more time, set an honorable precedence and go down in history as a politician, who quit office on grounds of moral strength. If such a course appears unacceptable (and in all probability it will) then the Supreme Court must set up a judicial commission to probe into the Panama leaks, for the sake of our future generations.