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Panama verdict: How good is Nawaz Sharif’s decision to file a review petition

And it is there, the much awaited review petition in consequence of the July 28 decision of the Supreme Court bench which disqualified ex- prime minister Mr. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

The hue and cry after the decision had one positive aspect for Nawaz Sharif, it genuinely left (mostly uneducated) masses wondering if Nawaz Sharif was merely a target hit in the crossfire for power underneath the façade of the supreme court judgment.

Fingers from the more read were particularly raised on the (so-called) ever so strange and quiet behavior of the establishment with mellow voices whimpering ‘dawn leaks’.

Alas, how could the highest ranked judicial officers be so independent to disqualify the sitting prime-minister on merit? But they are, aren’t they?

Because otherwise, what was the point exactly of the N-League’s proud wearing of the badge for struggle for judicial independence?

And yet, Nawaz Sharif had become a tad bit convincing for a lot of people to doubt the decision of the superior judiciary and he could have very well emerged as a political leader that served the people regardless of being in power, while of course practically running the N-League through the image of someone from within the family.

But all this, and all of it, went down the drain with the most recent rally across Punjab and then now the review petitions.

Perhaps someone ought to have advised the ex-prime minister that the people power show just didn’t cut it for him to be able to pressurize the superior judiciary to change their stance.

Perhaps if only one sane voice had whispered that people will not fight for him, not at least in the way he was expecting them to fight, in the literal sense of the word, but that they just might fight back with their votes and surface support.

And if review had to be sought, and the consequent image of power hungriness stamped across his face, perhaps a politically mature person could have advised him of not criticizing the very judges he is pleading the review of the decision from now.

You see, seeking (or pleading, to be more legally accurate) review does not really resonate very well with the image of non-acceptance of a verdict on the basis of (drummed up) bias.

With the review petitions, Nawaz Sharif has gone down the path of self-destruction and will probably die a political death if the review petition is dismissed, probably sooner than later.

And the ghosts of the past will certainly be on the haunt for him this instant, because what if PML-N is sooner nothing more than what is left of PML-J, and because what if it becomes PML-S or PML-CN.

Looking at one of the main arguments being advanced in the review petition ( and repeatedly before the public) is that the fact of no salary actually having been taken cannot be used as an inference that he acted dishonestly in not disclosing it in his nomination papers.

Well, to quote from the judgment of the court, “..that failure of respondent No. 1 to disclose his assets deposited in his account on account of his being Chairman of Capital FZE would also call for his disqualification, as it being an asset for all legal and practical purposes was required to be disclosed under Section 12(2)(f) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976; that the respondent denied withdrawal of salary, but payment of salaries to all employees electronically, through the Wage Protection System, under Ministerial Resolution No. (788) for 2009 on Wage Protection used by United Arab Emirates Ministry of Labour and Rules 11(6) and 11(7) of the Jebel Ali Free Zone Rules, would belie his stance;..” This part of the judgment is self-explanatory. Non-declaration in this regard would work as concealment (the salary could have been drawn at any time!), and a false declaration on solemn affirmation would be a violation of 99(1)(f) ROPA, and Article 63(1)(f) of the constitution, thus rendering him dishonest” I should accede that the review raises a couple of pretty damning points.

The order of the JIT in particular led the judges nowhere but a dead end, and, in my very humble opinion, the judgment of Honorable Justice Asif Syed Khosa was how the petitions should have been disposed off in the first place.

Nonetheless, it is very difficult to see how the review, if to any extent successful, can reverse the order of the court as regards the disqualification which is very straightforward.

And if this is the case, then this could be the political death of Nawaz Sharif.

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