The sword has been swung and where the PML-N leadership has been awarded a punishing conviction, many would say that it was forced to tread through the burnings coals of utter defamation to reach the condemning verdict. Whether the judgment was just or not, or part of larger political endgame, is a debate that calls for many conspiracy theories and political rhetoric. However, where the very mechanism of the downfall of the once formidable PML-N through the imperiously piloted Panama-Gate scandal has raised questions, the inexplicably languid approach of the judicio-political nexus towards other similar cases of corruption is now raising eyebrows.
Where the SC and the CJP had belatedly turned their line of fire towards other political parties and officials that had been accused of blatant corruption- in a bid to cater to the refrain of across the board accountability - the apex courts’ demeanor in subsequent corruption cases has been characterized by allowances and concessions, a sharp contrast to the veracity it displayed in the PML-N corruption cases.
Such a shift in disposition is glaringly obvious in SC restraining the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from pursuing its investigation against Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur in the fake bank accounts case till after the polls, maintaining that they do not want excuses that the July 25 elections are rigged. Where the investigation itself has been atypically slow-paced, the situation also exhibits the apex court issuing clarifications and assurances against ‘undue harassment’ and ‘damaging the credibility or harming the integrity of any individual named as accused in the case’.
Another parallel case with such a similar divergent approach is that of the alleged involvement of former army chief Kayani and others in closing down a legally established medical store depot, and manufacturing and supplying substandard and spurious medicines to 27 Combined Military Hospitals (CMH). In this instance the CJP has taken notice and limited the ruling to directing the Registrar to fix the matter to present to the Lahore High Court.
Where the impetus employed in the PML-N decision sought to overtake the polls without concern for affronting credibility, the same gauge must be applied to all cases of accountability. Where the Honorable CJP has taken up the mantle to administer an unequivocal standard of accountability across the militico-political spectrum, the apex court must exercise the same yardstick and breakneck tenacity in all corruption cases in the wake of the PML-N verdict to truly dispel any allusions of partiality or deference.