By the time this weekly piece comes out in print and if all goes well, Mr. Nawaz Sharif will be preparing himself to appear before the JIT that is probing allegations against him with reference to money laundering. While this day will go down in our national history as a milestone, the event will be over shadowed by a precedence, where PML-N cadres trampled the sanctity of Pakistan’s Apex Court and stormed its premises as the law stood helplessly by. It is a repetition of this disgraceful incident that warrants stringent security measures in and around the premises where the JIT is holding session. First and foremost the Supreme Court needs to send a clear message to all those ‘more loyal to the king than the king himself’ that any attempt to disrupt proceedings will be met with ruthless application of law. Second that any and all persons involved in such an attempt will be tried and punished in a manner so as to effectively deter any further ‘adventure’.

There are elements amongst PML-N leadership, who appear to have read Machiavelli and Chanakya – and imbibed them well. The strategy adopted by the Party is a case study in how to spread disinformation, confusion and even fear so as to negatively impact on any investigation that threatens the ruling family. There are some politically savvy people among my acquaintances, who say that Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s instruction to Party workers not to converge on the Judicial Academy on Thursday is a ploy for disassociating himself from any unpleasant incident on the day of his appearance. What Mr. Sharif and his minions need to understand is that attempts to disrupt JIT proceedings may be construed as a manifestation of guilt and therefore counterproductive to the Sharif Family.

The leakage of a CCTV image showing Hussain Nawaz sitting on a chair with bowed head and folded hands continues to cause a ‘hoo ha’. In my opinion it is ‘much ado about nothing’. The only place from where the picture frame could have been obtained is the CCTV’s control room manned by security staff, which in all probability is under the Ministry of Interior. No rocket science is required to trace the culprits, who perpetrated the leak, unless it was done deliberately to throw a spanner into the JIT proceedings. If the PML-N ‘courtiers’ expect protocol to be given to those appearing before the panel of investigators, then they are living in a fool’s paradise. The JIT is doing a good job by treating everyone appearing before them on the same level, irrespective of who they are and what public office they occupy.

Since the commencement of the Supreme Court hearing and now the JIT, public statements by PML-N luminaries have become more and more ominous. The latest outburst comes from Mr. Abid Sher Ali, who has said that “nothing that is minus Nawaz Sharif would be acceptable”. Such blind ‘loyalty’ is something that defies logic and can only come from individuals, who have a stake in what is going on and see themselves standing in the dock in case the JIT findings and subsequent Supreme Court proceedings go against the Prime Minister. Above all they challenge the writ of the country’s highest judicial institution.

The way things are progressing, it does not appear as if the investigation team will be able to complete the proceedings within the stipulated period. This may imply an extension of the time mandate given by the Apex Court. We must however not ignore the fact that a part of the Panama Case Judgment says that the court can initiate proceedings against individuals being probed, even before formal completion of the investigation, if it feels that sufficient evidence has been recorded to move ahead with the case. All said and done, the nation awaits with bated breath not only to see the corrupt brought to book, but to see if there are still some staunch, courageous and honest souls in the ‘Land of the Pure’, who can stand up to threats, coercion and temptation. If they can do so, they will in my reckoning, be nothing short of heroes.