After his disqualification from premiership by the five-member bench of the Supreme court, Nawaz Sharif is likely to face more problems with the opening of the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case. Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar has ordered formation of a three-judge bench to hear a reference of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) pertaining to Sharif family’s Hudaibiya Paper Mills. The bench will formally begin hearings on November 13th.

The NAB had appealed to the apex court against the Lahore High Court’s 2014 verdict acquitting Nawaz Sharif and other members of his family in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case. Shahbaz Sharif, Hamza Sharif and others are also named in this case. On Wednesday, Nawaz Sharif was indicted separately in each of the three references. He however pleaded ‘not guilty’ to all the charges. However, by maintaining aggressive posture, he will create more problems for himself.

Nawaz Sharif has once again become head of the party by amending the Political Parties Order (PPO) despite the court’s ruling, which previously barred him from holding any public office.

This amendment has been challenged by PTI Chairman Imran Khan, and there is likelihood that the apex court would undo that amendment. While the government claims that an amendment to the order was part of the party’s reform agenda, it is widely believed that the amendment to PPO is only an effort to restore Sharif’s grip over the party. But such attempts and statements of Nawaz Sharif and other PML-N leaders show that they are on collision course.

One has to admit that today’s judiciary is different, and will not show any lenience to even those who had supported the judiciary when former CJ Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had challenged Pervez Musharraf’s illegal orders

The court had listened to Nawaz Sharif’s litany that he was disqualified only for iqama and not on corruption charges. Hence, the court in its detailed judgment responded to Nawaz Sharif’s question as to why he was disqualified.

The 23-page judgment said: “He (Sharif) tried to fool the people inside and outside Parliament. He even tried to fool the court without realising that ‘you can fool all the people for some of the time, some of the people all the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time’.

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) rejected the detailed verdict of the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers review case, The communiqué said: “The verdict is an “awful example of prejudice, bigotry, anger and provocation; the language used in the detailed verdict was also not up to the judicial standards.” It further stated that reason behind the damages to the state was questionable judgments issued under ‘doctrine of necessity’ that allowed ‘bandits’ to rule the country.

No one in the party has the courage to tell him that he should come out of confrontational mode and be cautious while commenting on the apex court’s judgements. However, according to reports senior party leaders believed that Sharif was angering the judiciary at a time when crucial cases are pending against him and his family members in the courts.

There is a perception that Nawaz has only himself to blame for his problems, as he had refused to form a commission under special legislation suggested by the opposition, and also failed to agree over the terms of reference (ToR). Immediately after the release of Panama Papers, Nawaz Sharif had offered himself for accountability and promised to provide all evidence about sources of his assets. The statements issued by his sons and his daughter contradicted each other that caused more confusion and gave rise to more questions rather than answers.

According to prosecution, he neither gave satisfactory answers to the Supreme Court and the JIT, nor utilised the opportunity provided to him in the accountability court. Nawaz Sharif does not seem to have many choices; and reportedly he is considering clipping the powers of judiciary through another piece of legislation, which will stir the clash between the institutions.

He has to bear in mind that judiciary after 2007 is different and independent. On October 19th 2012, Supreme Court of Pakistan had handed down a verdict of the century in the famous Asghar Khan case; an epoch-making ruling it was in every manner, and could have been fully eventful had it been carried to its logical conclusion in line with the roadmap the apex court laid down in its order for execution. But that was not done by the elected governments, neither by the PPP nor by the PML-N.

Civilian dictatorship, Bonapartism and praetorian political adventurism legitimised by the court and politicians that joined the bandwagon have indeed been the bane of this nation ever since its inception. However, the apex court had said that Late Ghulam Ishaq Khan, retired General Aslam Baig and retired General Asad Durrani acted in violation of the constitution.” The court had ordered legal proceedings against former head of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) General (Retd) Asad Durrani and former army chief General (Retd) Aslam Baig.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had recorded the statements of more than half of those named in the Asghar Khan case. The Supreme Court had ruled that “the general election held in the year 1990 was subjected to corruption and corrupt practices.” One has to admit that today’s judiciary is different, and will not show any laxity to even those who had supported judiciary when former CJ Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had challenged Pervez Musharraf’s illegal orders.


The writer is a freelance columnist. He can be reached at

Published in Daily Times, November 14th 2017.

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