FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Ordering a turmoil
Posted:Jul 28, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
By Ayesha Siddiqa
 
 
Pakistan repeats history of not letting governments or prime ministers complete their term. This time around it was done through invoking the People’s Representation Act, 1976 that punishes for non-disclosure of assets and doesn’t allow a prime minister to hold an office of profit while he is the head of government. In Nawaz Sharif’s case, he had a work permit of a company registered in the UAE.
 
 
However, the story doesn’t end here. The five-judge bench of the Supreme Court have also sent all cases against Sharif’s corruption to the country’s primary anti-corruption body, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) where investigations will be conducted against Sharif and his entire family including his daughter and political heir, Maryam Nawaz and Sharif’s finance minister, Ishaq Dar, who also happens to be the father-in-law of Sharif’s other daughter. The NAB has been instructed to conduct an inquiry through a Joint Investigation Team (JIT). It is possible that the new JIT will also have the same composition as the earlier one which means officials from NAB, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), ISI and MI.
 
 
Moreover, since the highest court has expressed its displeasure with the current NAB chairman, these investigations will be monitored through a special committee. If proven guilty, articles 62 and 63 of the 1973 Constitution will apply, which means that Sharif and his family will be proven not to be sadiq (truthful) and ameen (honest) and hence unable to hold any political office. This was an addition introduced to the Constitution by the former military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq.
 
 
Clearly, the implications for Sharif and Pakistan range from short to longer-term. Shahbaz Sharif, Nawaz’s brother, is the new prime minister. But there are longer-term implications for Nawaz Sharif as this time non-parliamentary and non-elected institutions of the state are determined to end his political legacy by ensuring that his daughter Maryam Nawaz cannot enter politics in future, and possibly drag the family from riches to rags. According to the grapevine, the NAB has made informal estimates of Sharif’s assets to be in billions of US dollars. The Supreme Court has already ordered NAB to investigate Sharif and his children’s assets inside and outside the country. Corruption investigations are complicated and difficult. Given the media trial that is likely to accompany the investigation, the aim will be to totally decimate Nawaz Sharif to a point he totally surrenders. There is little possibility that Sharif, who has health issues as well, would be able to start a political career again or pass on the mantle to his progeny. Stripped of his wealth he may not even be able to invest in his grandchildren that would give hope to his supporters like the small trader from Lahore whose abrupt comment on the decision was “Nawaz ko hakoomat sey tu nikaal diya, dil sey kaisey nikalo gey” (you have kicked Nawaz from the government but how will you take him out of our hearts).
 
 
Indeed, there are many who were not entirely unhappy with Sharif and were ready to vote him into power a fourth time in 2018. But it is not sure that the election will be conducted next year according to schedule. Given the ongoing investigation and many other issues, there is a possibility that elections might get delayed and the country run through an interim setup that may be there for longer than the stipulated three months. The delimitation of constituencies on the basis of the recently completed census that is not entirely beyond controversy will be one of the reasons for a possible delay. The formula for a national government that may be empowered to carry out certain reforms is much talked about. Whatever the end goal of such a structure, it will certainly be a method to discipline the political system of the state and bring it in line with the overall expectations and narrative of the non-parliamentary elements. Although the more popular narrative in the country at the moment is that a new map is being drawn to eliminate corruption, it is questionable if the process would not be selective. In any case, the national accountability ordinance excludes the judiciary and military from this process.
 
 
Not that it is easy to absolve Sharif from his sin of amassing unaccounted for wealth. However, his departure is likely to be a great setback in terms of even marginal chances of peace and stability in the South Asian region. There is very little likelihood of an interim government being in full control of foreign policy or taking any peace initiative vis-à-vis its neighbours or certain other critical powers like the US. While many believe that Sharif put his eggs in the wrong basket by hoping that China would protect him since he made great achievement in pushing for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the fact is that Sharif was immaterial to developments vis-à-vis Beijing. Pakistan is now back to its traditional policy framework. The only question that remains is when will a next government get elected and if Imran Khan gets a chance to be in office.
 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has confirmed his presence for the occasion. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, Indonesia’s Ambassador to India, Sidharto R.Suryodipuro, reminded Nilova Roy Chaudhury that the first Chief Guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations, in 1950, w
 
read-more
The words of Ho Chi Minh  “Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty” rang true for the people of the erstwhile East Pakistan when, with increasing brutality, the West Pakistani oppression spread across the land, writes Anwar A Khan from Dhaka
 
read-more
In a significant boost to New Delhi's Act East Policy, India and Japan set up the Act East Forum on Tuesday as agreed during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to India this year for the annual bilateral meeting that would help to focus and catalyse development in India's Northeast.
 
read-more
  United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated on Friday Washington's warning that “all options are on the table” to meet North Korea's nuclear threat while offering to keep the lines of communication with Pyongyang open.
 
read-more
The 15th trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China concluded in New Delhi on Monday with many nuanced takeaways embedded in the joint statement of 46 paragraphs. Reiterating that the forum “is not directed against any other country”, the statement underlined the importance of the establishment o
 
read-more
The first thing that one sees when a flight approaches New Delhi is thick smog that envelopes the city and its lack of greenery.  In almost all other major cities of India lack of greenery is the most obvious sight that one sees when approaching it by air.
 
read-more

Pakistan has agreed to allow the rupee to depreciate after holding talks with the International Mone­tary Fund (IMF) on the country's economy.

 
read-more

Two major global changes in the past year; the ‘Brexit’ referendum and the advent of Donald Trump, writes Sandeep Kaur Bhatia

 
read-more

It is also imperative for India to explore other regions for markets. Its trade deficit with Latin America has been narrowing. Also, its trade with Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala has increased, ...

 
read-more
Column-image

Over the last 25 years, India's explosive economic growth has vaulted it into the ranks of the world's emerging major powers. Long plagued by endemic poverty, until the 1990s the Indian economy was also hamstrung by a burdensome regulat...

 
Column-image

Title: A Ticket to Syria; Author: Shirish Thorat; Publisher: Bloomsbury India: Pages: 254; Price: Rs 399

 
Column-image

Gorichen, a majestic peak in the Eastern Himalayas at an altitude of 22,500 feet, is the highest in Arunachal Pradesh. Beautiful to look at and providing a fantastic view from the top, it is extremely tough climb for mountaineers.

 
Column-image

It is often conjectured if the reason for long-standing conflicts and insurgencies, in the developing world, especially South Asia, is not only other powers fishing in troubled waters but also the keenness of arms industries, mostly Western, to...

 
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699