I write this article in Calibri to honour those who have lost their jobs to this font, the former PM Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar amongst others. If I were bold enough I would definitely apply for these current vacancies.
July 28th, 2017 was undoubtedly a day to be marked in the historical calendar of Pakistan.
The road to disqualification:
- Nawaz Sharif was disqualified unanimously by a five member bench of the Supreme Court concluding a 15 month long battle which started with the leaked Panama Papers. As a result of this decision, the ECP has denotified him as the Prime Minister along with the cabinet and the advisors.
- Nawaz Sharif was the 18th Prime Minister of Pakistan and much like his predecessors, he too did not conclude his term successfully. The reason for Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification was his dishonesty in not disclosing his earnings from Capital FZE, a Dubai based company, in his election nomination papers in 2013. The Supreme Court also recommended opening up anti-corruption cases against Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz amongst others.
- It was in 1997 that Nawaz Sharif, set to appear before the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in a contempt case, aided, abetted and instigated an attack on the corridors of Supreme Court. As fate would have it, two decades later, in 2017, the same Supreme Court decided his political fate. It is certainly not the same case as 1997, but the scribes of his fate are from the same institution, which he dreamed of subduing twenty years ago.
- It is quite interesting that the then Chief Justice Nasim Shah, leading the majority judgment in 1993, set aside the Presidential Order of the dissolution of Assemblies and dismissal of Nawaz Sharif; in 2017, his son-in-law, Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, leading the unanimous bench, declared him to be disqualified for the same charges of corruption, which have been echoing for decades. Perhaps, these are not just co-incidences but a reflection on the pathology of power in Pakistan, where families’ rule as dynasties, and where the same institutions have been in a constant and seemingly unending tug of power.
The Effects of this verdict:
- The good news doesn’t stop here. The Chinese government has deemed the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif as ‘an internal affair’ and hopes that political parties in Pakistan will work towards their national interest. This essentially means that the $60 billion dollar CPEC will remain unaffected. However there is a possibility that the projects linked to CPEC may fall under the corruption probe given that our former Prime Minister was ousted on said charges.
- The White House has also said that Nawaz Sharif’s dismissal is an internal matter. Reactions from other political leaders have been far and few in between.
- The foreign media has expressed their concern over how foreign relations might crumble if this is in fact a move by the ‘establishment’. At the forefront were concerns over relations built with India by Nawaz Sharif and what will become of them upon his dismissal. However, at this point it is hard to gauge how this will pan out.
- As is often the case, political stability or therein the lack of, can have a massive impact on the stock market in a country. The clouds of uncertainty have loomed over the stock exchange in similar political scenarios. The KSE was doing well amongst the Asian markets but as a result of the verdict it lost over 1300 points by midday. However, the uncertainty over Sharif’s dismissal was over and buyers found it an opportunity to buy stocks resulting in the KSE closing with a gain of 6.27% towards the end of Friday.
- The Pak Rupee had remained somewhat stable since mid-2015 but fell earlier in July 2017. The verdict has had little to no impact on the foreign exchange rate. Our currency has however devalued by 5% annually over the past ten years.
- The current government will serve out its term and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has been nominated as interim Prime Minister until a new Prime Minister is elected. The most popular choice by far for this position is Shahbaz Sharif, the chief Minister of Punjab.
I would like to thank Ghazanfar Shah for his legal genius!