The big question in accordance with events unfolding in Panama case is whether during the 2018 election campaign the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif will end up in jail or not, and how will that impact PMLN’s performance in the elections? Nawaz Sharif is mentally ready for jail, and that means only one thing; he sees political gain in such a situation. Nawaz has prepared the ground well for a political uprising by winning majority seats in the general elections scheduled to be held in July 2018. He has done all that was needed to be done to keep his and party’s political aspirations alive. The stage is set for both the scripts; a script with Nawaz in jail and a script with Nawaz acquitted of all corruption/money laundering/asset beyond means charges. If he lands in jail as a result of the ongoing case against him in the accountability court, then a major sympathy vote may help his party to sweep the election. At least that’s what they are hoping for. And Nawaz has been trying to convince his supporters that there is no evidence against him in the case, so in case of a conviction, his supporters might stay loyal to him. So, his incarceration can potentially be a game changer in the 2018 election. And if he is acquitted of all charges and walks out of the court an innocent man, then what will happen to his lifelong disqualification? The Supreme Court’s verdict against him will come into question, according to which he isn’t truthful and honest because of non-declaration of an asset of receivable salary from his son’s Dubai based company. Hence, declared disqualified to be the member of the parliament. Nawaz is not acceptable to the deep state, that is an open secret, but they seem unable to get rid of him Although the case in which Nawaz was disqualified by the SC isn’t under hearing in accountability court, how can acquittal in a different case bring disrepute to SC? That is the tricky and interesting part. A politician has the power and liberty to play with perception. Nawaz will build up a narrative that will blur the difference between the two cases. And that is why this outcome seems unlikely, as it can hurt the Supreme Court’s reputation. But if such a decision comes forth, it would be the ideal situation for Nawaz. Such a decision will serve as a certificate of his honesty and dedication to the people of Pakistan; throw in the development projects, a revised slogan: ‘why was I ousted from the prime minister office, even though no corruption charges are proven’, and you have a perfect recipe spiced with a slogan of performance and victimization to win the election. Hence, Nawaz and PMLN are sitting comfortably with the thought of possible prison time by the Accountability Court. It seems that the accolade of Siasi Shaheed (political martyr) is acceptable to Nawaz at this point, and why shouldn’t it be, as it has already earned him enough support and popularity since his ouster from the prime minister house. It is pertinent to remember that at the time of his ouster after a verdict against him by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, he had a choice to settle down in the mist of his disqualification or to resist against his possible political demise; his choice to resist any unfavourable political outcome has worked well for him. Nawaz is not acceptable to the deep state, that’s an open secret, but they seem to be struggling with getting rid of him. Only time will tell if they succeed in obsoleting Nawaz from Pakistan’s politics. For all this to happen, the most essential requirement is the transparency and timely conduct of the general election. Any political or electoral engineering will result in an irrepressible chain of events that will hurt the system. The writer is a member of the staff at Daily Times, with a keen interest in social, economic and security issues facing Pakistan. He can be reached on twitter @waqas464 Published in Daily Times, April 30th 2018.