Justice Served: A New Era Begins
Panama leaks refers to the leaking of 11.5 million documents which held details of financial and attorney-client information referring to over 214,448 offshore companies. These leaked papers became the source of global outrage as it contained information of shell companies which were being used by politicians, businessmen, celebrities and other privileged people, to save money obtained through corruption, to commit tax evasion, fraud and evasion of international laws. As a result of this many powerful people became less important as inquiries were launched and world leaders along with others lost their public offices. It hardly came as a surprise when, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s family members were named in these lists. These documents were leaked in 2015 and on July 28, 2017 Supreme Court of Pakistan’s larger bench of 5 senior judges unanimously ruled that Mr. Nawaz Sharif is not fit to hold such a prestigious position. While almost everybody was aware of the ruling class’s corruption, its magnitude came as a shock. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was always considered to be a man who put Pakistan first when it came to matters of National interest, however, this time when he was elected his intentions and mindset seemed to be different. It seemed as if he almost held a grudge against the defense institutions of the very country he was governing. In order to weaken those institutions and bend the country to his will, he formed alliance with Pakistan’s neighboring country India, the very country whose leadership is hell bent on destroying Pakistan. Mr. Nawaz Sharif during his tenure as Prime Minister surrounded himself with his family members and most of his cabinet consisted of his relatives or friends. It seemed as if he was looking to establish a monarchy and wanted to establish himself as the king. All his decisions were made without any regard for law, as he considered himself and his family to be above it. Mr. Nawaz Sharif was often accused of bringing his daughter to official meetings of sensitive nature and sometimes Ms. Marium Nawaz chaired meeting discussing state matters despite the fact that she did not hold a public office and was not an elected representative. She was able to do this, only because she was the Prime Minister’s daughter and the rules for the common folk did not apply to her. Another matter of concern during Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s tenure was of the non-existence of a foreign policy and everything was being done according to the whims and wishes of the Prime Minister and his family. The lack of policy meant that there was no direction and that last minute decisions were being made. This lack of direction came with a serious cost and it was evident in the Qatar-Saudia or Saudi-Iran dispute where the Prime Minister was unable to take a constructive decision as he was and always has been under Saudia Arabia’s influence. He relied heavily on Saudia Arabia for funds and was willing to risk everything in order to advance his wealth.. Most of the cabinet of the Prime Minister were generating income from UAE or Saudia Arabia which is clear from the fact that many of them are iqamah holders. The importance of iqamah is that if the government of Pakistan would request the Swiss authorities to reveal the wealth details of the accused people, this income from UAE and their wealth would remain hidden as Swiss banks would refuse to comply on the grounds that these people are not citizens of Pakistan. This decision by the Supreme Court of Pakistan to disqualify Mr. Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister of Pakistan is historic in every aspect. It lays the precedent that no one is above the law and it serves as an example for the entire world that Pakistan is a country where the legal system is quite strong. Furthermore, it lays the foundation against all forms of corruption and it serves as the first step towards eradicating corruption from this country. Such a decision has instilled hope in the hearts of Pakistani’s living in Pakistan and abroad and has displayed to the world that Pakistan is headed towards rule of Law, growth and prosperity.