ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan believes his moment of political triumph has finally arrived.
On Monday, the Supreme Court will begin a series of hearings in a highly anticipated corruption case that could result in the removal of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office. "I think he is gone," Imran Khan said of the premier, his bitter political rival. "The long, dark night is finally over." But a top aide to the prime minister said that a verdict resulting in such a removal would be "a judicial coup". For more than a year, Nawaz Sharif has been mired in a bruising controversy over revelations that his family owns expensive residential properties in London through offshore companies. Imran has pestered Nawaz Sharif and his family to provide the paper trails for the purchase of the apartments. "Show the receipts," is a common slogan of the PTI supporters and party workers. In a damning report, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the Panama leaks case accused the members of the ruling family of living beyond their means, hiding their assets, perjury and forgery. "The report is a pack of lies," Nawaz said in response.
Meanwhile, other opposition politicians say they believe the prime minister is running out of time. "The situation is very serious for Nawaz Sharif," Moonis Elahi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) said. "I don't see how the Sharifs can refute the documents they themselves presented to the court." Elahi said the prime minister had no one but himself to blame for the latest crisis. "Someone who has had so much power, he cannot cry foul," he said. "In the past, the Sharif family managed to manipulate the judicial system. But this time, we have a very different kind of judiciary."
Published in Daily Times, July 16th , 2017.