PM unfazed by Panama pinch?
-SC to announce verdict at 2pm today
ALI HUSSAIN, WASIM IQBAL, NUZHAT NAZAR & FAZAL SHER
ISLAMABAD: The federal capital on Wednesday hosted central leadership of almost all the major political parties ahead of the anxiously awaited verdict of Supreme Court on the Panama papers case today (Thursday) with a view to devising their future plans accordingly.
The heads of the major political parties including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) summoned their senior leaders to the federal capital for consultations on the expected outcome of the Panama papers case.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, according to party sources, held consultations with senior party leaders and discussed the expected outcome of the apex court verdict and its impact on the future political landscape of the country.
The Prime Minister reportedly told the close circles of the party that he was not waiting for any decision as the people have elected him “to work and not to wait for any decision”.
“I am working and will continue to work,” the Prime Minister reportedly told the party leaders, adding that the general elections would be held on time in 2018.
The sources said that those who were part of the series of meetings with the Prime Minister included Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq, Leader of the House in Senate Raja Zafar-ul-Haq, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Governor Sindh Mohammad Zubair and others.
In an obvious reference to the Supreme Court’s expected decision on the Panama papers case, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the daughter of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, stated in a tweet on Wednesday, saying: “Not for once have I seen my father or any member of the family anxious or concerned. That’s what happens when u [you] entrust yr [your] matters to Allah”.
“Eyes forward, mind focused, heart ready...Game on, world!
Wazir-e-Azam [Prime Minister] Nawaz Sharif”, she stated in another tweet.
PTI chairman Imran Khan also chaired a core committee meeting at his Bani Gala residence to discuss the party’s line of action in the wake of the apex court decision and instructed his party leaders to remain in Islamabad for the next three days. The party sources said that Imran Khan also instructed the party’s Islamabad chapter to make preparation for a public rally in the federal capital to be held after the court decision.
Talking to Business Recorder, senior party leader Dr Arif Alvi said that Imran Khan would again chair a meeting of the senior party leaders today (Thursday) soon after the apex court’s decision in which the party would decide its future plan.
“We would accept the verdict because the judges have given an indication that it would be a historical decision…we are expecting that whatsoever the decision, it would be based on justice as per the constitution,” he said.
He further said that PTI hopes that the decision is not similar to what the nation saw in the cases of Dr Asim Hussain, Ayyan Ali and Sharjeel Memon, Alvi added.
The PTI sources also said that Imran Khan also instructed the party leaders to prevent party workers from coming to the Supreme Court on Thursday and asked the seniors leaders to accompany him to the court to hear the five-member bench announce the verdict at 2:00 pm in courtroom No 1.
Leader of the opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmad Shah told a media at the Parliament House that he has high expectations, adding “the expected decision of the apex court could either strengthen or weaken the State”.
“Based on previous verdicts my expectation is not very high but it is possible that some miracle may happen,” Shah remarked.
Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad said the country is in the process of tightening the noose around corrupt. “The decision will be remembered for centuries as the corrupt will be punished, and the people, along with the rule of law, will emerge victorious. I think it [decision] would be the mother of all justice,” he added.
PML-Q secretary-information Senator Kamil Ali Agha told Business Recorder that his party would announce its strategy after the apex court’s verdict.
He said that PML-Q usually supported PTI and after the court decision, the party would announce its future course of action accordingly.
As far as the military stance on the expected decision of the apex court is concerned, a spokesperson of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) told Business Recorder that the military, being an apolitical institution, will support whatsoever decision is in Panama papers case.
Earlier on April 8, 2017, the DG ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor stated “Army, like every Pakistani awaits a decision based on justice and merit”.
Meanwhile, Islamabad police has finalized a security plan on the eve of the apex court decision on the Panama case, and high alert will be declared in the red-zone at Constitution Avenue.
Under the security plan, according to police officials, entry of ordinary citizens will not be allowed in the red-zone and entry to the Supreme Court building will be permitted only through special passes.
They further said that around 1000 security personnel including Islamabad police and Rangers will be deployed in and outside of the Supreme Court premises. Additionally, a significant number of special branch personnel will also be deputed on the occasion.
The police sources further said that the Islamabad police have been strictly directed to conduct extensive checking of vehicles entering the red-zone on Thursday while it has also been decided to give circle security to the main party leaders.
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