Pakistan’s Political Turmoil
By admin August 3, 2017

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Last week, the Pakistani Supreme Court issued a verdict that illegitimated the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from being eligible for political office. The verdict concluded a case that was brought forward by Pakistani politician Imran Khan at the onset of the release of the Panama Papers. This latest verdict is added to a long line of failed Pakistani civilian rulers, including the dismissal of Sharif the first time he was Prime Minister in 1993 also on the basis of corruption. Pakistan has had a long history of elected rulers that have either had to resign due to corruption, or had been forced out of office due to a military coup. But this differs from previous attempts due to the highest court administering the Prime Ministers defeat.

The Panama Papers were a series of documents released by hackers of a Panamanian Law firm that showed offshore and possibly other illegal accounts held by individuals throughout the world. Nawaz Sharif and his children were shown to have at least eight offshore accounts where millions of dollars were being kept. The case was brought forward to the Supreme Court under the basis of corruption and money laundering. The court heard testimony and arguments between November 2016 and February 2017 with a special investigative unit formed on April 2017 to further probe the charges of corruption against the Prime Minister. On July 28th, 2017 the court finally made the ruling that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was disqualified from holding the office of Prime Minister.

The political turmoil can be seen as starting from the 2013 general election. Although Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League party won the election by a slim margin, the opposition party, Tehrik I Insaaf, led by Imran Khan gained massive support and momentum from a broader range of the country’s population. The Political stalemate started at the conclusion of the election until the release of the Panama Papers where politicians from multiple parties called for the widespread investigation.

This latest series of events shows how Supreme Court flexing its muscles for the first time against the ruling government. Nevertheless, the turmoil that Pakistan faces does not seem to go away. With the resignation of the former Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was elected by a majority of Parliament. As a new Prime Minister takes office, a fresh round of investigations is being requested to further look at criminal charges against the former Prime Minister and his associates. Only time will tell if the current coalition will survive the political scandals that seem to rock the country at every turn.

Further Reading:

Pakistan court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over corruption allegations

Pakistan’s political turmoil

Panama Law Firm’s Leaked Files Detail Offshore Accounts Tied to World Leaders

Pakistan’s Interim Leader Says He’s No ‘Bench Warmer’

Pakistan’s new prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi consults Nawaz Sharif to finalise cabinet

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