LAHORE - The judgment is not conclusive as the people were expecting it to be. Things stand where they were at the start of the SC proceedings on Panama case. But there is some clarity at least on certain issues after the court verdict. 

The anticipation was that either the prime minister will get a clean chit from the Supreme Court or he would be disqualified. But nothing of the sort has happened. Many had ruled out the possibility of a further investigation into the case when the court took around two months to announce the judgment which it said would be historic.

What is clear after this inclusive judgment is that the court has not accepted the defence of the prime minister and his family about the money trail. Neither has it accepted the evidence presented by the petitioners to get the prime minister disqualified. The formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to further investigate the matter has established the point that both the defendants as well as the petitioners have failed to provide conclusive evidence before the court to prove their respective points. 

After this judgment, the onus of proof has now been clearly shifted on the prime minister and his family. They would now be appearing before the JIT to prove their innocence. The petitioners in this case, the PTI and the JI, are no longer required to prove the charges.

But the question here is what new evidence does the Sharif family has to produce before the JIT? It is important especially when the apex court has declared in its decision it was not satisfied with the explanation of money trail already presented before it. 

The proposed JIT would comprise members from the five state institutions: NAB, FIA, SECP, ISI and MI. What if there is no consensus among these agencies. It could be another 3:2 like situation we saw yesterday in case of the Supreme Court verdict. It merits mention here that the investigation committee probing DAWN leaks is yet to come up with its recommendations for the only reason that it has not been able so far to develop consensus over them.

The judgment has revived yet again the issue of prime minister’s resignation. All the opposition parties are now demanding his resignation pleading that the court has not accepted his defence.

If viewed in the spirit of the SC judgment, the ruling PML-N has nothing to celebrate as far as the court observations about the money trail are concerned. The only point which goes in its favour at the moment is that its prime minister has been saved from being disqualified for the time being.

April hues

Although the judgment of the Supreme Court was expected to change the

political scenario, it did not happen so as the status quo would continue for the next two months and, perhaps, till the next general elections.

The month of April has not been well for Pakistan’s political landscape.

On April 4, 1979, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hangedto death, which was termed a judicial murder.

In April 1985, Nawaz Sharif became the Punjab chief minister.

On April 18, 1993, President Ishaq Khan

dissolved the National Assembly and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had to quit the office.

On April 6, 2000, an anti-terrorism court sentenced Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to life imprisonment.

On April 26, 2012, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was sentenced till the rising of the court and he had to step down.

On April 4, 2016, Panama Leaks

appeared on the global scene and Nawaz Sharif was accused of money laundering.

–Staff Reporter