On Thursday, a hearing presided by Justice Anwar Ahmed and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) acquitted Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif in a money laundering case which has been ongoing for 14 years. There is enough in its verdict to give all sides of the political spectrum something to hold on to.

 It says the charges were politically motivated and that it found no evidence. For many this makes sense; the charges were filed in 2000 by General Musharraf’s government. Hot on the heels of the coup d’etat, this was part of a long series of charges for which Nawaz was speedily convicted, such as “kidnapping, attempted murder, hijacking and terrorism and corruption”. Filing charges against rival opponents is Pakistani politicians’ favorite pastime. Therefore, it doesn't stretch credulity to suggest that this was an attempt by the military government to discredit the government it just overthrew. However, the state of Pakistani legal institutions is such that any verdict invites little confidence. How capable is the NAB to bring powerful politicians to heel? The fact that the prosecution was unable to produce a single witness in 14 years, speaks volumes about its capability. Ironically the premier watchdog institute has itself been dogged by allegations of bipartisan behavior. But can we disregard these institutions, flawed as they are, and make our own conclusions? Or should we be spending our energies for bringing necessary reform?  Is there any other option through which we can conclusively determine facts and claims?

Despite this decision, the PML-N will get little relief. A grand conspiracy is a fascinating thing; anything that even circumstantially corroborates your view, is irrefutable evidence proving your claim. Anything that disproves it is evidence of a conspiracy against you. It is a win-win situation, which keeps you firmly grounded in your beliefs.