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India-Pakistan
End of the Sharif era?
2017-07-13
[DAWN] For a sitting prime minister, there could not have been a more damning indictment. The report of the joint investigation team (JIT) has charged the Sharif family on several counts -- from perjury and faking documents to hiding their sources of wealth and living beyond their means. Predictably, Nawaz Sharif
... served two non-consecutive terms as prime minister, heads the Pakistain Moslem League (Nawaz). Noted for his spectacular corruption, the 1998 Pak nuclear test, border war with India, and for being tossed by General Musharraf...
has refused to bow out and has vowed to take the battle to the end. Now it is left to the Supreme Court to decide his fate.

One is not quite sure how long it will take to wind up the case. But it is certainly going to be a messy endgame with the possibility of the third-term prime minister having to stand trial on criminal charges and being ousted by the court. The ensuing legal battle may drag on for long thus further deepening the political polarisation in the country. The outcome of this historical judicial action is bound to completely change the political dynamics and may well be the beginning of the end of the Sharif era.

Another shock for Sharif is that the JIT report has also alleged that his daughter Maryam Nawaz, who has long been groomed as his heir apparent, has falsified documents. This may have doomed the family’s plan for the transition of power to the second generation to failure. It was evident that such a detailed investigation into the family’s foreign assets had caught the prime minister by surprise.

Although the government had sensed the seriousness of the investigation at the end, it still appeared confident that at least the prime minister would scrape through with only some burn marks. A story published in a national daily on July 10, hours before the submission of the JIT report to the Supreme Court, and headlined to the effect that the investigation didn’t find the prime minister guilty, in fact reflected the government’s miscalculation. The government had certainly not expected such a sweeping indictment that has left the country’s most powerful political leader politically and morally damaged.
Posted by:Fred

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