The Supreme Court on Friday announced its verdict in the Panama Papers case, disqualifying Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for failing to disclose his un-withdrawn receivables constituting assets from UAE-based Capital FZE in his nomination papers for the 2013 elections. Announcing their verdict in the Panama Papers case, all five judges ruled to send references against the premier, his children Maryam, Hussain and Hasan, son-in-law and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to an accountability court. The court ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file a reference against the accused in an accountability court in six weeks and directed for the trial to be wrapped up within six months. The process will be overseen by a single-member implementation bench of the apex court. The decision came after months of pressure mounted by opposition parties the campaign for which was spearheaded by Imran khan. It seems the PTI has finally achieved what it was yearning for more than four years. The exit of Nawa Sharif from premiership.
This is a historic development in political history of Pakistan. This decision will have many consequences. First time PM has been disqualified on article 62 of the constitution dealing with the sadiq and amin issue. This decision has started a phase of accountability of all politicians. The supremacy of law and rule has been established in the country. Prime Minister presented him before SC for his accountability and although unwillingly but accepted the decision awarded by the highest court. Now the ruling party PML(N) shall have to decide a new candidate to fill in the seat of prime minister until next elections. This is a very sensitive issue and the next PM should be chosen very carefully as this will have far reaching consequences for it.
The Supreme court’s decision to disqualify Nawaz Sharif on the basis of a relatively minor technical issue has been criticized by many in the political and legal community. This case and the verdict should be debated openly and any grievances that Mr. Sharif may have should be attended to on priority basis. The National Accountability Bureau has been directed by the court to file references against the ruling family and the outgoing PM himself. These references should be followed by the authorities as soon as possible so that the matter may be resolved before the next general election.
Most importantly, the process of accountability should not halt with this instance only. It was always touted by the opposition leaders and courts that accountability begins at the top, now it must trickle down and any public office holder or member of the parliament who does not fulfill the article 62,63 should be shown the way out of parliament and not only for the parliamentarians but its coverage should be extended to the judiciary and armed forces. Only then, there shall be true accountability and a new dawn would rise in the country. Let this be the start of it.