Democratic process should continue. Democracy should not be derailed. A common statement that every political party utter thousands of times. But not all stand with this statement in testing time. Stances change when personal interests clash with this saying. This is something which is observed after the Supreme Court historic verdict in the Panama Case. The deliberate effort is made to make the judgment and the honourable judges of the Supreme Court controversial. Even though everyone knows that an independent judiciary is part and parcel in a democratically ruled country.

Last month, Nawaz Sharif was politically eliminated by an independent and transparent judicial process. The decision was widely criticised especially by the ruling party but one thing is for sure that the whole process and action were within the limits of the constitution of Pakistan and no undemocratic force was behind this case. The unanimous and unprecedented judgment against the sitting prime minister altered the political landscape in our country. It was a watershed moment for the country`s democratic evaluation and has been described as a step forward in efforts towards establishing the rule of law. It signifies a milestone in the development of an independent judiciary, not subservient to the executive. Many independent and credible jurists have regarded the decision as setting a good precedent that will survive the test of time.

Significantly it is a victory for the PTI, a political truth that must be acknowledged. If it were not for the relentless campaign of Imran Khan and his party, the accountability of elected officials would not have been possible. After Mr Sharif`s disqualification, Mr Khan sensibly distanced himself from the perception of a personal war against Mr Sharif. But the ousted prime minister, instead of accepting the judgment, as he and his party affirmed during the proceedings of the case, adopted a collision course. He changed his stance and labelled the decision a conspiracy and directed the party’s canons towards the honourable judges. Mr Sharif is not willing to accept his lower political profile.

After the verdict, every political leader stated categorically that democracy is not in danger. But the ouster PM described the event as a setback to democracy. His narration that no prime minister in the country`s 70-year history had been allowed to complete his or her term is beyond comprehension. The fact is that it is the term of parliament that is enshrined in the Constitution and not of the prime minister. It is so apparent that all his talk about democracy and civilian supremacy is about personal political survival. Mr Sharif, unfortunately, directed the anger of his dismissal from the office in an unfortunate direction. He is now trying to present himself as a revolutionary but no one knows what sort of revolution he is talking about.

In order to defend his position, Mr Sharif is appearing to contradict many of his own statements and actions. For example, before setting on his GT Road journey he had to accept that ex-PM Yousaf Raza Gallani should not have been disqualified. But for that he created pressure to make him leave the office. Similarly, the ouster PM and his party had been taking the credit that they made the judiciary an independent institution but during his journey back to Lahore he made fiery speeches against the verdict and termed the decision as conspiracy. One finds it even more contradictory when they express their intentions to file a review petition before the same judiciary which they tried to malign.

The Supreme Court had given more than ample time to the Sharif family to prove their innocence against the charges. But unfortunately they could not produce any credible documents in the court and to the JIT, rather created more complications for themselves by presenting forged documents. Had they given the proofs in the court, they would not have to clarify themselves on roads.

Mr Sharif should also understand that it is decision within the constitution. He was trying to build a narrative that a representative of 20 million people was ousted by five people. The reality is that the constitution which made him the representative of the 20 million people, the same constitution has empowered the honourable judges to disqualify any MNA who is not honest.

While the gloves are already off as political parties run a sordid campaign against each other, post-Panama matters are becoming dirtier. The present political scenario in the country reminds us of the political period of 1990s, when the Sharifs and the Bhuttos attacked each other politically in very personal and aggressive terms. Whatever the judicial fate of Mr Sharif, it has always been clear that the overall democratic stakes are greater than any individual`s political future. The PML-N should continue to act honourably and protect the overall democratic process.

The decision of the Supreme Court is not a blow to democracy but a blow to dynastic politics that has been the biggest deterrent to the development of democratic institutions and values in the country. Most importantly, democracy is the rule of people by the people. It must not become a means to perpetuate dynastic rule. The people`s mandate does not make someone above the law. Democracy will further thrive when our electorate will gain more trust of the people.