Nawaz Sharif gets the axe

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  • Legal remedy is the way out

The former prime minister has been acquitted in Flagship reference as NAB failed to prove the case, sentenced for seven years in jail, debarred from holding public office for 10 years and fined $25m in Al-Aziziya reference. The PM’s lawyers will do exactly what they did when Nawaz, daughter Maryam and son in law Safdar were sentenced in Avenfield Properties reference. They will appeal against the case in IHC, hoping that once again Nawaz will be bailed out. In its judgment the IHC had laid down a set of parameters that accountability courts are required to follow. If the accountability court’s verdict is in not in line with the parameters, Nawaz will be free once again. Otherwise, his legal team would pursue the case in the SC. It is a sensible move on the part of the PML-N to follow the case at all legal forums for relief can only come from the courts.

The PML-N has also decided to protest against the judgment both inside and outside Parliament. The way the cases have been conducted has provided enough material to the party to agitate. NAB is accused by many of cherry picking, taking up cases only against the two mainstream parties while turning a blind eye to the sinners in the PTI and its allies. While arguing his case in the Supreme Court Nawaz Sharif’s counsel maintained that supervision of the accountability court’s proceedings by the apex court would affect fair trial as the SC itself would thus become the complainant, prosecutor and judge in the matter. It would be unfortunate if a perception was created that the establishment, the courts and NAB are working under a plan to have governments of their own liking, depriving people of their right to choose their representatives.

With the PPP making similar complaints there is a likelihood of both joining hands in parliament and outside over the issue. What one expects is that their protests do not hinder lawmaking or turning parliament ineffectual. Much will depend on how the PTI handles the situation. One hopes that whatever protests are being planned outside the assemblies will remain peaceful and orderly.