ISLAMABAD :(APS)April 18, 2017-The Supreme Court will announce the verdict in Panama Papers case on Thursday afternoon.
The verdict was reserved by the apex court on 23rd February this year.
The case was heard by 5-member larger bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.
In a statement, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Supreme Court’s decision will be according to law and constitution.
She said the government believes in respect of institutions.
Minister of Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique has said that Panama Papers case was a conspiracy against development of the country.
In a tweet message on Tuesday, he said that the opponents of the Prime Minister had completely failed to prove their allegations against Nawaz Sharif. He said that the case was a conspiracy against development, stability, and continuation of democracy in the country.
Minister of State for Capital Administration and Development Division Tariq Fazal Chaudhary has said the government will accept the Supreme Court’s verdict in Panama papers case.
In an interview on Tuesday night, he said the decision of the Apex court would be purely merit-based.
He said opposition leaders are promoting negative politics in the country and continuously leveling baseless allegations on the government, but they have failed to produce any proof in favour of their allegations.
However, observers and analysts say regarding the case of Panama, that No doubt, the political stakes are high for both the government and the opposition, particularly the PTI, the prime mover of the Panama petition. But it is the prime minister and his family who stand to lose the most in case of an unfavourable judgement. The scandal has already caused him huge political damage and it is extremely hard to recover from it even if the court spares him the ultimate humiliation of being removed from office. There is certainly a precedent where the Supreme Court disqualified a sitting prime minister, but few believe it could happen to Sharif. That is perhaps also the reason for the confidence of the ruling side.
But some would argue that the present court is very different from courts in the past with far more independence allowing it to bear pressure even from the most powerful executive. The observations made by the judges during the hearing reinforce that perception.
Surely the judges are not supposed to decide the case along political lines but on its legal merits. Most legal experts agree that the Sharif family has failed to prove the money trail to the offshore companies and the London properties that it owns. But is this sufficient to declare the prime minister guilty of wrongdoing? This is for the judges to decide. Whatever the ruling may be, it is not hard to envision the political fallout.
It could not have come at a worse time for Nawaz Sharif, as he finally looked politically more stable with civil-military relations seemingly better and no real threat from the opposition political parties. His supporters appeared extremely confident of the coming elections. But it may not be that easy any more irrespective of whatever the ruling may be.
There seems to be no good scenario for Sharif even if he is personally not held guilty. It appears that it will be hard for the courts to grant a clean chit to the entire family with so many anomalies in their statements. One thing is certain — Sharif cannot get out of the Panama scandal unscathed. What are his choices in case of an unfavourable ruling?
There is strong speculation he will dissolve the National Assembly and call early elections. But that would be quite risky. One is not sure that all the provinces will follow suit. Such a situation could create greater political chaos. It may be true that the party is still deeply entrenched in Sharif’s stronghold of Punjab.
But an adverse judicial verdict could change the electoral situation quite drastically. There is a big question mark about whether the party could retain its unassailable position in Punjab and hold on to the periphery in other provinces. He may well have to wait for the general elections that are only one year away.
It is now just a matter of time when the judges will come out with their ruling on the Panama scandal. The judgement will surely be remembered for many decades with Sharif’s political fate at stake.