Panamagate Circus – Take aways

It has been more than a year that Panama leaks surfaced. Since then, the Circus has been going on first on media, among political opponents and then for the last six month or so in Supreme Court of Pakistan. Who knows how long will it take to resolve and what would be the outcome? As we speak, irrespective of the final verdict by Supreme Court of Pakistan, there are several takeaways from this episode:

  1. A minuscule group, consisting of politicians, intellectuals and media, day in and day out, talk about nothing but corruption in the system. They, naively believe, that corruption, that you can never completely eliminate, is cause root of all our problems.They harp this tune this while sitting in the comfort of their homes, leading a lavish and comfortable life. They refuse to acknowledge that Pakistan is progressing. This Group has little or no sympathy to the people in the lower cadre of the society, except for drawing room discussions and providing some financial assistance to a very select group. Unfortunately, this group has not demonstrated the capacity to look at the big picture and always try and find shortcomings in everything positive that is happening in the country. Some go on tangents and others provide weak arguments to justify their view point. They simply refuse to accept that Pakistan is moving forward. Their motives are questionable.
  2. On the other hand the workers and the less fortunate show  a better perspective of whats happening in the country. They see that development is taking place and pin their dreams and hope in continuation of the present regime for a better future. They take a holistic and more realistic view than our so called minuscule middle, upper middle and the elite class. The have a very straight forward and credible thought process, that is, who is likely to provide better livelihood for them and their future generations. While our politician and intellectuals harp about education, these people want employment. If they see something tangible done, they appreciate it and pin their hopes around that. They are the real voice of masses who have pin their hopes on the present government for better future for themselves and the next generations. And that where vote shall go
  3. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has shown immaturity and seems to be on a predetermined track to disqualify PM, come what may. In the process, it has lost its mandate and legitimacy. There is also some indications of the age old Judiciary-Army nexus to dislodge an elected PM hasn’t died. Never in the 70 years history of Pakistan, an elected Prime Minister is allowed to complete his term. This is no coincidence and one is forced to assume that the history is repeating itself again. The posturing of the army and the judiciary over the last 4 years suggest that they don’t want to see Nawaz Sharif in Power any more. The two Supreme Court Justices have illegally disqualified PM without a trial. The other judges commissioned a joint investigation team (JIT) to conduct an inquiry, the report produced by JIT is nothing more than the piece of paper it is written on. The judiciary did not follow the law that is the burden of proof lies on the plaintiff. Unfortunately, in this case, the Judiciary has become the plaintiff itself by appointing a JIT under the umbrella of judges who are hearing the case. The Supreme Court has become a trial court, that has nullified its justification for existence, which is to be an appeal court with a responsibility to review judgement from lower courts. Furthermore, by becoming a trial court, it usurped the basic right of every individual to a fair hearing of his appeal by not offering him a different court and a forum. Review petition in front of new judges or a larger bench, unfortunately does not meet the criterion for justice.
  4. The army remains ever hungry for publicity, flexing its muscles and appear to subvert democracy and meddling in politics. As a result, it has to publicly re-assert its position as a neutral player in this and other similar episodes. However, its demeanor does not support that posture. Not too distant in the past the COAS met Imran Khan from among all political parties.The COAS has to be meet almost any foreign dignitary who comes into the country. It has never let go of the fact that there is a civilian government running the country and never attributes anything positive to govt, other than itself (Raad ul Fsaad etc.) A large section of the people feel that the army has not fulfilled its job of routing out terrorism from the country, Their intelligence and execution is weak, resulting into continuing deaths of thousands of brave soldiers and innocent civilians. The COAS and the army wants a pat on the back for doing the job they are supposed to do. This is neither fair nor acceptable. Behind the scenes they refer to civilians as “bloody civilians”. On media, they portray themselves to be their saviors. It is too obvious. The COAS, repeatedly claims the army to be a champion of CPEC, while its sole responsibility is to provide security to Chinese and other companies working in remote areas. The army is subservient to the govt and must act on its orders, yet it refuses to acknowledge this fact and portrays as it is the driver of the good work in the country.  It has protected Musharraf and its COAS have minted wealth. The army Generals do not like to salute the civilian Head of State, and do that unwillingly and with the grudge.
  5. Politicians, instead of fighting their battles in the elections like they are supposed to do, are using  other means. the party in the forefront is Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI). It is a bunch of discarded politicians and is likely to lose in the next elections because they have nothing to show, hence it is resorting to these tactics.
  6. The media is playing a destructive roles. They have the same old faces and so called experts, who have nothing but to criticize and pass judgments. They have nothing positive to say and are not worth listening to. They have become the judge and the jurors. In their round the clock transmissions you hardly see or hear anything positive. The anchors are jack of all trades master of none, including their own profession. Their news begins with a bad news and their experts give points as if they are preaching to kindergarten children. Really disgusting. They are among the top of various mafias operating in the country.

So, In a nutshell, one can clearly see that the so called educated group, media, politicians, army and Judiciary does not want to see a powerful Prime Minister, who is always a strength for any country. They fear that they would lose grip on the country if the Prime Minister becomes too powerful. They want to be ahead in the dirty power play game they are playing. They don`t care if the country suffers in the process. They just do not want to let go of illegally usurped power which is out their own mandated spheres. It also appears that some section of educated class, media and so called experts in the media, politicians are also not happy the progress Pakistan is making. They leave no effort to negate it through frivolous arguments. These people do not want to listen to the voice of people or want them to respect their mandate. This is in justice of the highest lot. In the end, but not least, they want to kill peoples hopes and dreams by removing the present government, simply because the present govt has its own way of operating and want every institution to work within their sphere of responsibility.

Conspiracy Theory; Minus One Could Mean PTI minus Imran Khan?

This is based on the unfolding events in the last three months. The theory is only intuitive with no input or information from any person or any agency.

If we look at the events in the since March 2014, we see that Imran Khan has taken a more aggressive stance against the government than ever before. It started from 4 seats and now it has come down to Nawaz Sharif’s resignation. We all know that forcing an elected PM to resign is unconstitutional and tantamount to treason. The only way the PM is asked to go is through the parliament vote of no confidence or by a voluntary resignation. The PM has made it clear that he will not resign voluntarily, at least that is his position as of now

Now lets get back to a conspiracy theory that hidden hands want PTI minus Imran. Why would they want that? The reasons could be as follows:

  • Imran Khan is known to have links with Taliban and he holds a soft corner for them. In 2013 elections, while the other party rallies and corner meetings were threatened to be bombed by TTP, PTI’s rallies were supported by TTP. As such, Imran Khan got an unfair advantage of getting an unchallenged ground for campaigning during 2013 elections, which cost some loss of seat for Awami National Party (ANP) in KPK and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in all the four Provinces.
  • Buoyed by the success of operations in South Waziristan (SW), the Armed Forces wanted to conduct similar operation in North Waziristan (NW). Kiyani, however, thought that talks were a better option. Imran Khan did not support army action and protested against it.
  • After Kiyani left, the new Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) decided to go for the military operation and deal with Taliban once and for all. Imran Khan is considered an impediment to the successful completion of the military campaign against TTP and the following key factors for the success of military operation:
    1. A go ahead and an unequivocal support from the government, which army finally got from, initially reluctant, Nawaz Sharif’s government. If Imran Khan comes to power this support could be withdrawn
    2. Remove, as far as possible, the tacit support of the political parties like Jammat e Islami (JI), Jammiat e Ulema e Islam (JUI), Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf (PTI) and likes.
    3. To make it a longer-term endeavor, possibly lasting a decade to clear the region of Taleban and establish a complete government’s administrative writ.
    4. In order to do that, Taleban and their supporters are not be allowed to get a foothold in North and South Waziristan again.
    5. Southern Punjab and Karachi are the next targets against which the operation is likely to start in the next few months, possibly in the winter.
  • While JI & JUI gave their open support to the military operations, PTI does not support the military action in NW. Instead, Imran Khan started complaining about the displaced persons and used it as an excuse to demonize the military operation.
  • Imran Khan’s demeanor in this regard clearly showed that his sympathies lie with Taleban and he cannot be trusted with regard to his loyalties with army and the military operation.
  • Hence, it is considered, in the best interest of the country that Imran Khan is neutralized for good. Of course, he could be assassinated, but this route is never advisable until other options are exhausted.

With this backdrop, It may have been decided:

  • To isolate Imran Khan politically
  • To use him to discredit all institutions. Use abusive language. Harp about unsubstantiated allegations
  • Stage a long march and sit in, take over the Parliament House, the PM Secretariat, cross into the red zone and create law and order situation, as we saw recently.
  • Create reasons to file criminal cases against him under the terrorist act. Remember, how quickly the cases were registered against Imran and Tahir ul Qadri – essentially in 2 days after the incidence.
  • Create a dissent in the party, remove him from the party leadership and then get him convicted or sent in exile. The partial resignation of MNAs only was used as one tool to create dissent. The party President, who is probably the most respected politician in the country, publicly disowned Imran Khan’s action to move into red zone and bring into knowledge public the “Woh kehtay hain” theory. Every body dislikes any association with “Woh” hence further loss of reputation politically and strengthened belief among the general population that PTI has ISI support, which is also not appreciated.
  • Have Imran Khan meet with the COAS to show the third umpire neutrality. Remember after this meeting, Imran Khan and Tahir ul Qadri entered the red zone.
  • Bring out in the open the unholy alliance between PAT and PTI to further damage PTI’s image. Imran Khan, who initially planned the long march and sit in on his own, was given to understand that he would need some die hards to achieve his long march and sit in objectives and that TUQ can only provide that. Hence this unholy alliance was struck in London.
  • Encourage Imran Khan to make increasingly unacceptable demands; the real non-starter among them is PM’s resignation.
  • Allow Imran and TUQ continue a sit in until the postponement of all important visit of the Chinese President was the final nail in the coffin and will have broad and long-lasting implications on Imran Khan.

All of the above actions and some more, that are not mentioned here, have now isolated Imran Khan – both within his own party and politically.

Now where can things go from here?

  • It is quite likely that a vote of no confidence is moved in Khyber Pakhtoon Khwa (KPK) against the Chief Minister to topple his government
  • A criminal proceeding to start against Imran Khan for inciting violence, damage to the property, asking Pakistanis not to pay taxes, do money laundering, civil disobedience etc. There is evidence to easily convict him for life, disqualify him to run a political part and having anything to do with the politics.
  • The final delivery, as Imran Khan puts it, could be a Yorker that will bowl him out from the politics and spend the rest of his life in jail or in London like Altaf Hussain.




Mohammad Masood

Political Analyst and an Economist