The political unfolding unleashed after Panama has left Pakistan Muslim League- Noon (PML-N) befuddled. Admittedly, it came to nought in addressing the momentous questions emerged in the aftermath. Nawaz Sharif, through a public tirade, has tried to neutralise the narrative on his corruption and guided the debate towards the abstract undercurrents of the system, which he believes are orchestrating the entire milieu to impede his way of ensuring civilian supremacy. The mindset that the state institutions are covertly behind every political impulse is also akin to conspiracy paranoia. It is the same as the rightist argument that America is triggering all problems in the world. Both dispositions are equally preposterous yet profoundly adhered. The ouster of Nawaz from the office of the prime minister ushered an onslaught against state institutions and a prevalent rhetoric defined the contours of the political landscape. The dismissive diatribe and pejorative venting led to further polarisation and have taken polity further closer to the edge. The entire liberal intelligentsia thinks that nothing in the Pakistani political landscape is driven by nature and everything is nurtured. It has led to the perpetuation of a mindset, which is just as shallow, illogical, and unreasonable as the rightist or conservative side. Nawaz Sharif, in the last year, has tried to establish his ranks as an ideologue and a steadfast civilian supremacist — but reality tells a different story. Democracy refers to the rule of law, accountability, civic liberties, and functionality of the institutions. The four years of Nawaz’s rule vindicate a marked absentia of all these elements. The theoretical niche of democracy calls for representation, participation, and accommodation of dissent. Nawaz’s current self-proclamations illustrate the intellectual bankruptcy the Pakistani state and society are dealing with. Democracy is inextricably linked with constitutionalism and the rule of law. Democracy speaks sense when it is directed towards the welfare of the masses and thrives in social innovation. The frame of the rule, where selective deliverance is patronised and the entire statecraft tends to perpetuate the aristocratic dispensation, turns irrelevant for the masses. The elitist orientation of the social contract in the South Asian polities leaves no avenue of representation and subsequent integration to the middle class. The politics of infrastructure is only presented as a substantive remedy and the fissures within the society lead to disproportionate development, or rather development in patches. The global norms of democracy don’t take democracy in isolation but as part of a nexus with governance and development. The five years of political rule under PML-N were nightmarish for the ideals of democracy. The freedom of speech and autonomy of action dwindled. The outright elimination of dissention within the party and the statecraft has further revealed this sham democracy. Nawaz Sharif, in the last year, has tried to establish his ranks as an ideologue and a steadfast civilian supremacist — but reality tells a different story. Democracy refers to the rule of law, accountability, civic liberties, and functionality of the institutions. The four years of Nawaz’s rule vindicate a marked absentia of all these elements The fudged figures of the economy, loha-sarya vision and showcase projects span over the entire tenure of PML-N in power. With administrative centralisation at large, the policy of pick and choose and a colonial way of governance at the centre, and in Punjab, remained subject to a statecraft which was termed democratic but was otherwise. With the elections in the near sight, the political strategy of PML-N is still vague, obscure and in a disarray. It is banking on the victim card and is cultivating a narrative whereby the upcoming elections have already been proclaimed to be rigged. It is even more ironical that in the elections of 2013, PML-N was the beneficiary of this uneven playing field. PML-N is deliberately insinuating a narrative that state institutions have been colluding and condoning against its triumph in the coming elections. Nawaz presents himself being marginalised for standing up for civilian supremacy and his party leaders and workers have been pushed to the wall. The body language of the entire PML-N is self-defeating and apologetic. The countrywide surveys, which still rank PML-N as the most popular party, are apparently in stark contradiction with PML-N’s method of contesting elections. Pakistan is going to experience a more murky, haphazard and precarious trajectory of politics in the coming months. The writer is a faculty member at the School of Politics and International Relations at Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad and can be contacted at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, July 9th 2018.