All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. The 70-year-old Orwellian delineation of hypocrisy in Stalin regime would best describe the ‘House of Sharifs’ and, perhaps, the country’s judicial system. Balzac believed that laws were spider webs through which the big flies passed and the little ones got caught. Earlier, Voltaire had tried to ignite some optimism arguing that injustice in the end produces independence. Yet Mirza Ghalib put the entire debate to rest after he shared his nostalgic thought: “Who is going to live until your hair-locks get untangled.” What happened in the Court Room No 1 on Friday left one side flabbergasted and the other flabbergasted too, but in a good way. The Panamagate case would now be heard afresh next year. Teachers who witnessed the critical moments in Pakistan’s political and judicial history had a fair idea what course the case of Panama leaks would take. They were not surprised. Since winter vacations were approaching the alleged corruption of a sitting prime minister and his family members might not qualify to be a matter of national urgency. It’s a vile thought to spoil relaxing rendezvous in front of fireplaces. Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali is retiring on December 30. The next chief justice, Saqib Nisar, would constitute a new bench to hear the case from the very beginning. Nobody knows whether the Supreme Court would dismiss the case or constitute a judicial commission to probe Panamagate. What’s evident is that months would require to get the hair-locks untangled. Or may be more. Whether the case reaches it conclusion or not, the prime minister would complete his tenure and brace for another five-year joyride. Volumes are needed to jot down pending cases against the Sharif family before the courts and different investigating agencies. They have, somehow, survived while the inquiries rot under the heaps of files. Manipulating state institutions had been forte of the House of Sharifs. They were more brazen in the past, and rather tacit today. How they dealt with Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah with the help of their friendly judges left a permanent stain on the credibility of superior judiciary. It was the same sorry chapter where a well-orchestrated attack on the Supreme Court was executed at the behest of Sharifs. Justice Shah narrated the entire story in his autobiography: Law Courts in a Glass House. He also left a priceless advice for the judges that their role was to decide according to the book, ignoring the consequences of their decisions. After the famous trial of then prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the people were compelled to believe that laws could be interpreted differently for a Sindhi prime minister or, to be precisely, for a People’s Party prime minister. The notion solidified after Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry sent then prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani home on contempt of court charges. Sharifs were among the rare lucky breed. Old cases were quashed on one single application, including a murder case. The case of Mehran Bank scandal may never be taken up again during the lifetime of Asghar Khan (May he live long). What happened to the list of mega scandals, submitted to the Supreme Court, by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)? The names of the Sharif brothers adorned that list. The stories of strong-arming or appeasing the investigators and judges were rife in the past. Whether it has changed now can be gauged without applying complex algorithms of Euclid. The apex court’s decision to defer the Panamagate till next year and resume it from the very beginning would add to the lethargy in December. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan might spend Christmas holidays with his sons. Perhaps, he would do some soul searching, analyse his options and consider firing nincompoops around him. The PTI suffered one set back after another in the court. After 2014 dharna, the Panama leaks provided Khan with another great opportunity to capitalise on. The battle that was to be fought on political battlefields was conveniently taken to the legal arenas. And the rest is history. A similar mistake was once committed by Islamabad’s famous politician and lawyer Syed Zafar Ali Shah. He challenged October 1999 military coup in the Supreme Court. By then, chief justice Irshad Hassan Khan and his fellow judges, including Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, had taken oath under the PCO. The order restricted the courts from passing any judgement against the coup or the coup makers. The apex court not only validated the military takeover, it put a cherry on top by granting absolute powers to General Musharraf to amend the constitution (if he deemed necessary) for three years. Years later, Nawaz government argued that it could not try General Musharraf for October 1999 military coup because that had been validated by the apex court. What if members of the Sharif family get a clean chit in Panamagate Khan & Co would lose legal as well as the political battle. The day the Sharif family got a respite, President Mamnoon Hussain cracked a joke. “Shameless and disgraceful corrupt people are roaming around freely,” he stated at a seminar on Anti-Corruption Day. He did not name anyone. Who exactly are those people? Perhaps quick investigation with a few biggest construction companies or a couple of top bureaucrats would reveal their names. Tailpiece: Poor peasants of Bhakkar district, who perhaps had no knowledge of relevance and importance of Prince Jasim of Qatar, were subjected to traditional brutality by the Punjab Police. The prince and his huge entourage damaged their crops during their hunting spree of endangered bird species. The farmers wanted the prince to leave their area. They should have known that Prince Jasim and Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif are pen pals.