It’ a bit rich of the selected prime minister to call for an open hearing of the foreign funding case after bending over backwards for more than six years to first have it not heard at all and then delay it for as long as possible. Perhaps, in the interest of transparency, he can start by explaining his delaying tactics to everybody. Wasn’t he the one that harped on about it forever and claimed that only people who had something to hide pulled such stunts to evade, or even delay, justice? And he only has himself to blame if accusations that he received funding from countries like India and even Israel have gained currency because he personally tried to keep the matter under wraps for more than half a decade. If he really had nothing to hide then he would have let the truth come out and put the matter to rest as soon as it appeared. And now, even after all this time, if he has asked for a public hearing why has the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) flatly ruled it out? Surely the people of Pakistan will be forgiven for thinking that those used to pulling everybody’s strings for so long appear a little confused about how to proceed because of all that has happened recently. The selected prime minister likes to say in public that he’s not been bothered at all by anything the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has done so far, yet Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz was right to remind everybody that no more proof of PDM’s success so far was needed than the fact that the foreign funding case had finally started giving the selected government some nightmares. And if they feel that the Broadsheet scandal is some sort of a godsend for them that implicates former PM Nawaz Sharif in corruption and money laundering, they will soon have more surprises coming. And nobody will be made to feel more awkward than senior ministers claiming that a foreign investigation and judgement has exposed the Sharif family, and things like that. Because while a proper legal response to their charges will come in due time, it has already become pretty clear that the basis of Broadsheet’s newfound interest in all the corruption that allegedly takes place in Pakistan as well as the London High Court’s (LHC) arbitration judgment is the 2017 JIT report that presented an inflated, indefensible list of the family’s assets and valued them at around $820 million. The selected PM’s inquiry committee, that is being headed by former Supreme Court judge Azmat Saeed Sheikh, is a non-starter because of a glaring conflict of interest that runs contrary to all demands of an impartial inquiry. And the government already has egg on its face because it was its own team of lawyers that not only pretty much dismissed this figure as ridiculous, but also fought against the final number of $100 million, which was decided by the arbitrator himself. At the time of the appeal the government’s own team argued that the final sum was based on unrealistic calculations and should be revised further down. Now you have senior government ministers, especially those that previously rode the tide with other parties when they were in power, accusing their own former masters and people most of them gladly served under of money laundering of almost a billion dollars. The selected PM’s inquiry committee, that is being headed by former Supreme Court judge Azmat Saeed Sheikh, is a non-starter because of a glaring conflict of interest that runs contrary to all demands of an impartial inquiry. The opposition has rightly rejected this committee because the said judge served as NAB’s prosecutor general during the original signing of the Broadsheet agreement, he was involved in the controversial Panama case decision and he played a role in cobbling together the Panama JIT which included Nawaz Sharif’s detractors and opponents. The law demands that justice must not only be done but also be seen to be done. Yet the only thing that can be clearly seen here is that selected PM Imran Khan is doing his best to get legal cover for his political victimisation and personal vendetta against Nawaz Sharif. That is why people have lost faith in the government’s narrative. Why else would so many thousands have come outside the ECP office the other day and what else could have made them repeat after Maryam Nawaz when she questioned, point by point, why the selected PM tried so hard to keep a lid on his foreign funding sources, why he tried to stop proceedings about 30 times, why his lawyers delayed hearings further with stay orders, and why he is so eager to put the burden of the JIT’s wrong findings on the LHC’s decision? Soon enough the legal side of all those that the government is accusing will come to the fore. And then bigwigs from all corners, especially all those that contributed to the JIT, will have to explain to everybody just how they valued the Sharif family’s assets at such a high figure. Then more facts, long kept hidden, will come out. The truth is that former president Musharraf, after overthrowing an elected government, engaged in a witch hunt by hiring what can only be described as bounty hunters to completely discredit Nawaz Sharif and bolster his own rule. But when people with friends in the army high command got him a very dubious company, registered just a few months before for about 500 pounds or so and no resume to speak of, which was not able to find any dirt on the Sharif family the matter slowly faded from prominence. But, years later, when the string-pullers wanted Nawaz Sharif once again out of power, once again after he was elected by the love and votes of the people, they engineered a JIT report that was able to manufacture all sorts of corruption allegations against the prime minister of the time. And that naturally made Broadsheet’s owners salivate at the prospect of their 20 percent promised commission from anything recovered from the Sharifs bloating beyond their wildest imaginations. And then this matter hit the headlines once again with everybody, from Kaveh Moussavi, the owner of Broadsheet LLC, to all the government’s mouthpieces, adding their own spin along the way. Soon, though, it will become legally clear that all this commotion owes to whatever was put into the JIT report. And since that exercise was undertaken for a very dubious reason with questionable intent, and at the end of the day the country had to pay $28 million in fine to a foreign company, the selectors may well begin to feel that they backed the wrong horse all along. The ruling party will still, surely, do what it can to divert attention from its own problems. But there’s only so long such a charade can go own when your own actions ultimately lift the veil from what you’ve been hiding all the time. The truth of Broadsheet will come out just when the truth of foreign funding will come out, which will be more or less when PDM is marching on the capital. Where there’s smoke there’s fire, they say, and while Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) might be good at hiding the smoke, it can no longer hide the fire. And the selected PM’s antics, like playing up the Broadsheet controversy and trying to appear clean by calling for public hearing of the foreign funding case, are only implicating his own party.