Pakistan

Finance minister must resign, and face trial

Sep 22, 2017
The ruling party’s troubles continue. The issuance of arrest warrants for Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and seizing of his assets must have added to the government’s problems as well.
 
The PML-N’s response to the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif has been aggressive from day one. Nawaz Sharif and a number of federal ministers have been complaining about conspiracies to oust the former from his position. And the baton now seems to have been passed on to Maryam Nawaz who was quite vocal in her criticism of state institutions during the NA-120 by-election campaign.
 
It is the PML-N’s right to express reservation on the July 28 verdict of the Supreme Court that has also been assessed to be on weak legal grounds by several legal experts. But there is no justification for lack of cooperation with the accountability court in the ongoing inquiry. The PML-N should offer its full cooperation since its public position has been that there is nothing that the party and the Sharif family need to hide.
 
The results of NA-120 election were in the ruling party’s favour, but the decline in margin of votes secured by the winning candidate and the runner up cannot be ignored. The possibility that the decline is due to the Panama Papers case cannot be ruled out either.
 
By shying away from the ongoing investigations, leaders of the ruling party may end up damaging their electoral fortunes.
 
Regardless, it is time for the Sharif family and other ruling party leaders like Dar to face the courts.
 
The finance minister should do the right thing and resign from his office.
 
The management of a 208-million-strong economy is too serious an affair to be left to someone occupied with legal battles over financial mismanagement allegations.
 
His refusal to appear before the accountability court will send a signal that the Sharifs, too, will not present themselves before the courts either. This path of confrontation will lead to nowhere. The Sharif family should show moral courage and come clean on allegations of corruption. The battle in the people’s court is over now. They should return to the court of law and face the charges brought against them.
 
Daily Times, September 22, 2017

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