The circus has returned once more to provide more conclusive evidence that politics in Pakistan stinks worse than a putrefied carcass. The stench that pervades our political culture comes to us on a daily basis from a rostrum outside the Supreme Court, where dignified speech is tossed to the winds and conscience is trampled with impunity and shamelessness. With the likes of the ruling party’s singing quartet plus a few more additions to their nauseous chorus, the patience of Pakistan’s Apex Court is being severely tested.

If one is to take into cognisance the conversation that takes place between the Bar and the Bench during the Panama case hearings on the JIT findings, one is apt to draw wrong conclusions, since this interaction means little until the announcement of the final judgement. Panic amongst the PML-N ranks however, appears to have reached a new pitch, marked by language that no decent person can digest. Worry and concern is writ large on the face of the Prime Minister in those rare moments when his guard is down and his brother is staying on the fringes of the tumult with good reason.

When seen in retrospect, the Sharif family and their coterie of advisors got their strategy wrong from the word go and failed to wargame various scenarios that could develop as a fallout of the Panama disclosures. They also erred in assessing PTI’s capacity to doggedly pursue the issue. When the respondents finally came to terms with reality, they realised that their window of opportunity for a dignified exit had closed. If Mr Nawaz Sharif had taken a decision to resign, when this window was open and available, he could have established a higher moral ground for himself and his family members, but not so anymore. It is perhaps this realisation that has bred desperation, reflected in the ‘trashy’ rhetoric from the rostrum outside the court house.

As a student of human nature, I can understand the anger and vitriolic panic amongst those, who see their survival at stake. Others, who speak out from this platform are perhaps doing so out of a misplaced sense of loyalty and a genuine (but erroneous) sentiment that they would have failed their leader if they do not do so. These individuals lack the wisdom to understand that their fear is unfounded. Political parties that have their roots in public (and there is no denying the fact that PML-N falls in this category) must never commit the error of believing that their survival is dependent upon individual leaders or political dynasties – these parties survive and grow because of their ideals and adherence to commitment. This is where Pakistani politics has gone off the rails and this is the notion that we now have an opportunity to rectify.

I also find a shade of euphoria developing amongst some PTI circles, who say that with the Pakistan People’s Party joining the anti-Sharif movement they can see the writing on the wall – a writing that bodes no good for PML-N leadership. In my opinion, this euphoria is not only premature, but a little naïve for PPP is playing its hand with remarkable cunning, leaving discreet options open. One indication of this is Mr Khurshid Shah’s recent statement to the effect that while they are supportive of the PM’s resignation, they want his party to complete its five year term. Regretfully enough, Imran Khan has continued to display a lack of political ‘sagacity’, which in real terms could be referred to as ‘political Machiavellian thought’. It is here that his simplistic (almost black and white) approach to political peering and decision making, takes its toll.

Nonetheless, all eyes are now on the outcome of the Panama case, which is much larger in implication than many can even imagine. This verdict will affect future generations and determine whether we can remain viable in the eyes of the world. On a more emotive note, this will determine the road that we are destined to take, in order that we may realise our founding father’s vision.

The writer is a freelance columnist.