While government ministers continued to bash the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) for its damning report, Premier Nawaz Sharif conferred with his top political and legal aides on Tuesday on the options available to the ruling family. And The Express Tribune has learnt that the huddle decided to adopt the wait-and-see policy before charting out a future strategy.
The PM chaired the high-level consultative session where attendees included his senior ministers, legal wizards and Shehbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab. Officially, nothing was shared with the media, but sources in the ruling party say the PML-N leadership has decided to wait till the Supreme Court takes up the JIT report next week in order to ‘sense the mood’ of the court before deciding its next move.
Public rhetoric aside, the PML-N leadership is concerned that the Sharif family’s allegations of partiality against the JIT might be shot down by the Supreme Court.
“Before the unveiling of the JIT report, we thought that Premier Sharif’s family, his sons and daughter, could be in trouble, but now it seems he himself is also in the spotlight – and that is nightmarish,” a senior PML-N leader told The Express Tribune requesting anonymity.
The ruling party is already worried about the ominous vibes in the Supreme Court which on Monday took strong exception to the statements made by PML-N leaders against the JIT asking for the transcripts of their speeches.
“It seems the apex court is in no mood to show leniency. And if the court shows no mercy, then the change of command at the top level will become inevitable,” the PML-N leader added.
On the political front, Premier Sharif is already facing immense pressure to step down as mainstream opposition parties, including the PTI, PPP, MQM-Pakistan and JI, are turning up the heat on him.
When contacted, PM’s Adviser Amir Muqam did not deny the top-level talk took place in the Prime Minister House. However, he refused to share details. Sources said the premier would chair another important meeting on Wednesday (today).
PML-N leaders cry foul
The PML-N leaders, including Khawaja Saad Rafique, Ishaq Dar and Barrister Zafarullah continued to slam the JIT findings on Tuesday.
Rafique tried to defend the failure of the respondents to address the key queries posed by the JIT members during their investigation.
“These questions were never asked [during the investigation],” the minister claimed. He went as far as to allege that the JIT’s plan had been orchestrated more than a year ago.
“The JIT probe and all the wrong things they collected against us is not a two months’ job. This plan was orchestrated one to one-and-a-half year ago,” he said, adding that the “drama of Panama” was planned “by some forces outside Pakistan”.
Strangely, Barrister Zafarullah attempted to dispute the JIT findings that Calibri font, which was used to prepare some documents related to Maryam Nawaz, was commercially introduced in 2007 but the fake documents were prepared in 2006. Zafarullah said Calibri font was introduced in 2004.
However, documented confirmations from Microsoft confirm the JIT’s claim that the font came into effect for commercial usage not before 2007.