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The Panama case has changed the political landscape of the country. This case was filed by the political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf last year against the Muslim League (N) party.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has completed hearing of the Panama leaks case but has reserved its verdict. It will be announced at a later time when the Supreme Court will present a detailed decision. The consistent delay regarding the famous Panama scandal has been disappointing. Several months into the case now, a progress was expected on Thursday, February 23, 2017. However, the judiciary panel has asked for more time, evidence and findings to resolve the case.

What Is The Panama Scandal All About?

Panama papers are a staggering 11.5 million leaked papers, having the detailed financial and attorney-client information of more than 214,488 offshore entities. These papers were leaked back in 2015 by an anonymous source. Some even date back to the 1970’s and have the financial information of wealthy individuals which had been kept as a secret in the past. Most interestingly, they unfold the corruption of corrupt politicians, criminals and individuals linked to the underworld.

How Did The Authorities React?

As soon as the papers were leaked, enquiries were called for straightaway in India, Iceland, Australia and New Zealand. China and Russia claimed that this is a ‘western conspiracy’. They think that the CIA is behind all this as the names of individuals mentioned were those who had resisted the US policies lately. The UK Prime Minister David Cameroon had refused to speak about it when asked about his father’s name being mentioned in the list. He said that it is a private matter.

Pakistan was among the last countries to call in for an enquiry or any action.

Panama
The Supreme Court of Pakistan, Islamabad

Previous Delays In The Supreme Court Verdict

Prior to this, multiple delays in hearings were announced. It was said that that was due to the lack of evidence and their findings. The case was not reaching any conclusion for months when the previous Chief Justice, Anwar Zaheer was to retire. Claims were made that the judge didn’t have enough time in his grasp to reach to a decision.

It can be said that at least the proceedings of the case should have gone on. The information gathered could have been made to be helpful for the next panel of judges. Sadly, it doesn’t work like that in Pakistan. Rather than that, the judiciary was found relaxed about the whole situation. Instead, they seemed more focused on bidding farewell to Anwar Zaheer, resulting in the case moving back to square one!

A Verdict Was To Be Given On Thursday

The Supreme Court was likely to give out a verdict this Thursday, but it reversed that decision saying that a proper scrutiny of all the documents submitted has to be carried out. The Supreme Court has been hearing about this case for 126 days now and the counting is still going on. The new Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said that 26,000 pages were submitted regarding the case. He further declared that the judges will have to go through every ‘single’ word in order to resolve the case.

The question which comes to every Pakistani’s mind is this: What have you all been doing for almost a year now?!

Five-Member Bench

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa has been hearing the case on a daily basis. Other bench members are Justice Ejaz Afzal, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan. The court did not give any ruling saying that they might be looking for more evidence, but the opposition is claiming that they have given all they had and now it is up to the court.

The result of this case is very likely to be a landmark in Pakistani politics and legal system. The journalist Hamid Mir said in an interview a few days ago, “Panama case would surely decide the future of Pakistan judiciary.”

Saying ‘NO’ to corruption 

This is certainly not the first and the last time that the government has been accused of illegal actions in Pakistan’s history. The judicial system of Pakistan, at the same time, has also not been a remarkable one. Sadly, in Pakistan no government ever has worked for its people like they should have. You can say that developments and changes in infrastructure have always taken place, but either these changes have always come late or have been non-effective for the ordinary citizens.

There is no doubt that politicians in Pakistan have been involved in various corruption scandals over the decades involving trillions of dollars. The further the decision will be prolonged, the more the case filed would seem to look like a legit one. It is now for the Supreme Court to lay out a decision soon enough because any further delays from their side will point out to their credibility towards the nation and its people.

 

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Mehdi Ali

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