LAHORE - Analysts believe the Supreme Court judgment on Panama case has practically strengthened the position of the ruling PML-N which will not be facing any real challenge from the Opposition parties in the coming elections.

They also think that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is out of danger and was most likely to complete his Constitutional term provided the civil-military relations remain cordial.  Noted political analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi viewed that the matter has been prolonged by the formation of a JIT which is less likely to do any harm to the Prime Minister. Its members, he added, could be easily influenced by the government.

Rizvi suspected that the JIT has been formed to find a way out to provide relief to a sitting Prime Minister.

He also questioned what additional evidence did the Prime Minister and family have to present before the JIT.

He said that the issue was less likely to be settled in the near future since the proposed body would be presenting its report to a new Bench that will pass a final judgment on the issue. “For the time being, Nawaz Sharif is completely out of danger and is less likely to be penalised in future also”, he observed, adding, that he did not see the Panama case heading towards its logical conclusion.  To me, this seems to be the final judgment”, he said.

Asked about political implications for the SC judgment, he said that Panama issue will go into the background in the next six months.

According to him, the Opposition parties would focus on other issues like power outages to grill the government.

He also said that the SC judgment will enhance the existing political tension between the government and the Opposition parties since the former has viewed it as its triumph over the opponents. The government may also get tough against the PPP in the days to come, he predicted.

Muhammad Wasim, head of Political Science Department at LUMS, said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his government had emerged victorious after the SC judgment. In his view, the Panama case was in fact a political issue having nothing to do with morality.

“It was a political move by a political party [PTI] which had only 10 per cent representation in the National Assembly. This party opted to use the forum of Supreme Court for political gains, but the move has backfired”, Wasim observed.

The SC verdict, he added, has ensured political continuity in the country till the next elections; but the efforts to destabilise the system will continue till conclusion of the case. Eminent political analyst Sohail Warraich also thinks that the PML-N has won the political battle against its opponents in the present situation.

He also believed that the PML-N would remain an insurmountable force in the next five years or so provided there is no major shift in the civil-military relations. “Practically, the PML-N has demolished the PTI which may launch an agitation against the government in the days to come”, he remarked. 

Nonetheless, Sohail affirmed that the PTI could claim a moral victory over the PML-N as the latter had failed to justify the allegations on moral grounds.  “But in the ultimate conclusion, it would be the principle of practical viability that will prevail in the next elections”, he concluded.