For right reasons, the Panama leaks refuse to fade away in Pakistan. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has tried his best to shake off the charges involving tax evasion, money laundering, perjury and violation of election laws. With the Supreme Courts taking up the case again in January, the nation remains divided and uncertain whether the honorable judges would be able to come up with a verdict that could pacify general public and in some way serve as a firewall against corruption. The dominating view is that nothing would come out of the court case. At most, the judgment would be such that each side would project it as its victory.
The government is back on the offensive in and outside the Parliament and refuses to concede to any demand of opposition parties. PTI has grand plans to reach out to public. PPP is also threatening more aggressive public protest. TV anchors are putting in their share to keep the Panama leeks case afloat. The government is confident that there will be no popular rising against it despite frequent reference to impeachment of South Korean President.in the local media
Presently most of the Islamic states are known to have corrupt governments and repressive systems of governance. Pakistan is perhaps in the lead. Majority among us think that nothing will remedy the situation in Pakistan. However, it is our choice whether as a nation we really want to slur our state for not cleansing our society. Nothing stops us except our greed.
Our religion and national legal system is capable of addressing the issue of accountability and corruption. Impartial reviews of early Islamic history reveal that the ruler in Islam is accountable for his conduct and governance. Political accountability can be traced in the declarations of the early Four Rightly Guided Caliphs. Caliphs held them- selves subject to impeachment in case of deviation from the Islamic values and trust imposed in their leadership. For instance, the first Caliph Abu Bakr said in his very first public speech:
“Obey me as long as you believe that I obey Allah in ruling and conducting your affairs. But as soon as you believe that I disobey Him, you must cease obeying me”.
The second Caliph U͑mar Ibn Al-Khattab said, ‘O people, whoever of you sees me sway or go crooked, he must correct and set it right.’
When the conduct of the third Caliph U͑thman ibn A͑ffan in appointing his kinsmen in official positions agitated the people’s anger, ͑Uthman spoke to the people saying, ‘[I] will never return to something that you [the people] condemn . . .
Likewise, the Fourth Caliph A͑ li ibn Abi Talib said, ‘The Caliph must rule with justice and perform the trusteeship.’
Our Constitution has articles such as 62 and 63 and a plethora of regulations and commissions, which set out clear and high morality standards for those who offer themselves as candidates for public trust.
Who is going to clean the politics and corridors of power? Accountability is the most popular political slogan. The caveat is that no party is ready to propose a serious package of remedies. Each party is interested in point scoring and big headline.
Who does not know that money laundering and tax evasions take place with full connivance of government officials? If the Prime Minister is allegedly held responsible for laundering money and buying properties abroad with bad money, he should be the first guy to clear his name.
Negative politics from both sides will adversely impact on public empathy for nascent democratic set up in the country. The Panama leaks case may not erode Noon League votes in 2018 elections; the scandal is likely to blemish the good work the three-time Prime Minister has done in his long political career.
The author Mian Sanaullah is a former Ambassador, political analyst and Advisor to Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.