Panama and our politics | Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan


The Supreme Court’s judgment that sent Nawaz Sharif home served as a dark moment for the PML-N and a source of salvation for the PTI.

However, to an ordinary person, who does not support either of the camps, the decision meant little. Their reaction can be summarised by one of the sayings of Shaikh Saadi: Mara che azeen qissa ke gao, amad o khar raft (what difference does it make if the cow has gone and the donkey has come). Whether Nawaz Sharif stays or goes and whether or not Imran Khan comes, there will be little to celebrate for the common man.

Lately, there is a notion that Nawaz and those surrounding him no longer have their feet on the ground. Ahsan Iqbal went to the US and visited UCLA and MIT. At MIT, he told the people that he would set up a state-of-the-art university in Pakistan. Many years ago, I had prepared a feasibility report for a first-class university and sent it to the present government through Ahsan Iqbal. The institution was to be built along the lines of the GIK Institute – which I had also designed and which remains one of the best universities in the country.

After four months, I met him by chance on a flight to Lahore and asked him what happened about that proposal. With a poker face, he replied that he had not received it even though my driver had handed it over to his servant in person at his house. I sent him another copy. That was more than four months ago and have yet to receive an acknowledgement. A first-class university would have been of more use to the country than a motorway from Lahore to Karachi.

If we were to believe Nawaz Sharif, he and his children never did anything wrong. Meanwhile, the five honourable judges are being made out to be novices who have convicted him on a whim. He is lucky that the law does not attach any penalty to the judgment passed on him. He has done a great deal of harm to the country by surrounding himself with sycophants. But that’s what our leaders always do. We all saw and many of us were fed up of Nawaz Sharif’s cronies holding lengthy propaganda speeches every day. Now, he innocently asks the honourable judges what he did wrong.

The Panama leaks case had hijacked the whole nation. There were theatrical shows throughout the day. Nawaz Sharif’s supporters were holding press conferences at the very doors of the Supreme Court and outside the JIT offices.

They often tried to fool the public and even tried to teach the law to the learned judges. Daniyal Aziz, Talal Chaudhry, Anusha Rahman, Asif Kirmani, Marriyum Aurangzeb and many ministers accused the JIT members and the judges of holding biases and having no knowledge of the law.

The Panama pandora’s box was opened by investigative journalist Umar Cheema. Hundreds of Pakistanis held and continue to hold offshore accounts in Panama. Investigations should not be limited to Nawaz Sharif alone.

The case against him went to the SC, where two of the five judges found him guilty of lying and committing fraud. Three of the judges appointed a JIT to thoroughly investigate the matter.

Nawaz Sharif committed a blunder in this respect that ultimately cost him his premiership: he called his two sons from England to give evidence about the enormous wealth that had been amassed over a short period of time.

His sons and his daughter were questioned by the JIT and many things came to light. They all held many press conferences and much mudslinging took place. We all saw how Senator Nehal Hashmi threatened the JIT members and the judges in a crude way. Now, he too claims to be innocent. Now Nawaz Sharif, his sons, his daughter, his son-in-law and Ishaq Dar will have to face NAB courts. The chances of them going to jail are not slim.

The chances of Shahbaz Sharif being appointed as the PM carries inherent dangers for Punjab with it as the province might slip out of the PML-N’s control.

I have a personal complaint against Nawaz Sharif. After the nuclear tests of 1998, he tried to minimise our efforts and achievements. And now very year on May 28, there is always someone who claims that they did the work and we claimed the credit.

If that were the case, why did Nawaz Sharif bring Prince Sultan, the then defence minister of Saudi Arabia, and his son along with our three services chiefs to visit Kahuta to see our achievements? If I had done nothing, then why did he bother telling the public before the last elections that they would make me the president?

He also falsely accused me of asking for a Senate ticket. Had I been interested in entering politics, I could have utilised the solid offers of unopposed election from Karachi that I had received.

But I didn’t. I don’t want to be associated with any political party. I do not need politics to enhance my status. After my retirement, Musharraf offered to make me the minister for science and technology. However, I politely refused the offer and instead suggested Professor Atta-ur-Rahman’s name.

Mian Sahab also allowed Musharraf to leave the country. He never tried to get to the bottom of the nasty restrictions that were placed on me by Musharraf. He could easily have used the court order to my petition to remove all restrictions – as Musharraf had promised and Justice Ejaz Ahmad Chaudhry of the LHC had granted to me. Yet, some of the restrictions on my movement still persist.