Why are you celebrating, Nawaz Sharif? It’s not over as yet!
By Shakir Lakhani Published: April 20, 2017

The long wait is finally over. The honorable judges have announced the verdict in the Panama Leaks case, and the overjoyed followers of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are distributing sweets under the assumption that their leader has been exonerated and declared innocent of any wrongdoing.

Dear Nawaz Sharif, they are wrong. It was a split verdict, and you escaped by the skin of your teeth. Two out of the five judges ruled that you should be disqualified, because you are not “sadiq” (honest) and “ameen” (upright) as required by the Constitution. The other three judges stated that further investigation is required and ordered for a judicial investigation team (JIT) to ascertain how money was sent by your family from Pakistan to Qatar, which ultimately resulted in the purchase of the London flats by your sons.
So then why are you celebrating, Mr Nawaz? Don’t you realise that your submissions to the honourable court have not been accepted, and you have not been declared completely innocent as yet? Three judges have been very polite, saying that there is not enough evidence yet to prove you guilty, and have given you time to produce credible information which could exonerate you. But it is doubtful if you’ll be able to do it, because if you did indeed have any such evidence, you would have produced it in court by now.

Do you know what a decent, upright man in a civilised country would have done if he’d been implicated in a corruption case? He would immediately have resigned until proven innocent. The prime minister of Iceland was one of those named as having an offshore company, and he had to resign. But you, of course, did not do so, thinking that you could buy your way out of trouble.

Right from the start, when the Panama Leaks surfaced about a year ago, you have tried your best to deflect people’s attention from the issue. You did not speak the truth in the National Assembly where you did not mention anything about your family’s involvement with the Qatar prince, you hemmed and hawed and said that your family had been victimised by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, as if that gave you the right to loot the people.

The nation has had enough, Mr Nawaz. The poor, toiling masses of course have no idea what Panamagate is, they are too concerned with trying to survive. But those who pay taxes are bitter at the fact that it was their money which has gone into making you and other politicians filthily rich. You have lost the high moral ground which makes you think that just because your party keeps winning by-elections, the people love you.
And I’m not the only one who thinks you should resign; even Imran Khan and Asif Ali Zardari are saying the same thing. According to Zardari,
“Today the nation has been deceived…On what grounds is PML-N celebrating and distributing sweets? Are they celebrating that two senior judges called for the prime minister’s disqualification?”

Don’t be selfish, Mr Nawaz. If you are not flexible enough and are determined not to let go, remember what happened to the obstinate Bhutto, whose intransigence first dismembered this country and then cost him his life. Please think of the country, which is in danger of sliding into a civil war if you are determined to cling to power, despite what the judges said today.
So do the honourable thing, Mr Nawaz. Just resign, move abroad, and live the good life, or you will come to a disgraceful end, like Ayub Khan and Bhutto did. The people of Pakistan have suffered enough, and it is only a matter of time before the spark is ignited and you are forced out of office. You still have a chance to make an honourable exit, do so before matters do not turn out in your favour like they did today.

Engineer, former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College, industrialist, associated with petroleum/chemical industries for many years. Loves writing, and (in the opinion of most of those who know him), mentally unbalanced. He tweets @shakirlakhani (

Dear Imran Khan, if you want justice for Mashal, then start with your councillor, Arif Mardan

  Published: April 18, 2017


Imran Khan visited the parents of the slain student Mashal Khan, who was lynched for reasons which will perhaps never be known.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Imran Khan visiting the parents of the slain student Mashal Khan, who was lynched for reasons which will perhaps never be known. 

1. This morning I condoled with Mashal's family and was moved by their amazing courage and dignity

So congratulations, Mr Imran, you knew that you would offend your coalition partners, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government by openly condemning the brutal murder of the innocent student. Even your chief minister, Pervez Khattak, said that there was no written or verbal proof of him committing blasphemy. But you, Sir, displayed exemplary courage by visiting and sympathising with the bereaved family. You even deserve commendation for stating that you would ensure no one is allowed to wrongly accuse or kill anyone over blasphemy charges in the future, and that those responsible for Khan’s murder will be given exemplary punishment.

Brave words, Mr Imran, and kudos to you for ignoring the danger to your government and to yourself by openly siding with the silent majority of this country.
Dear Imran, I have spent a considerable amount of time in K-P, and have realised that the people in your province are intolerant and easily inflamed when they hear someone say anything even remotely critical of their cherished beliefs. During my visit to K-P in 1996, I remember I once heard a preacher in Mardan stating that all unveiled women should be kidnapped and brought to him, and he would then arrange for each of the kidnappers to marry these unveiled women. Then there are those who openly preach hate speech in K-P’s mosques and madrassas, as a result of which we have seen so many bomb blasts and killings in Charsadda and Parachinar.
So, Mr Khan, I would like to point out to you that while you were condoling Khan’s parents and family members, your own party’s councillor, Arif Mardan, was seen celebrating Khan’s brutal murder and pledging that he and his supporters, who are alleged witnesses, would never reveal the name of Khan’s shooter. This can be seen in a video which has been making rounds today.

So while I heartily support you for finally speaking your mind, I have a few suggestions for you which can, at the very least, help you in taking the first steps to reducing extremism and obscurantism in your province.
For starters, please expel Arif Mardan from your party immediately, for openly celebrating Khan’s murder and proclaiming that the person who discloses the shooter’s name would be guilty of apostasy. In today’s press conference, you said,
“No matter which party the suspects belong to, they will be punished. We will make sure those involved in the murder and those who conspired against Mashal will be held accountable and it will become an example in Pakistan. Those involved in the killing and the conspiracy need to be exposed. Mashal was killed on the pretext and under the garb of blasphemy. Even animals don’t behave this way. I will ensure justice for Mashal’s death.”
Perhaps you can set an example by starting with members of your own party.
Secondly, you need to arrange strict monitoring of sermons delivered in all mosques in your province, and immediately arrest any preacher or cleric stating that those suspected or accused of indulging in blasphemy should be killed. Similarly, any mullah preaching hate speech against minorities and unveiled women should be tried swiftly in an anti-terrorism court and sentenced accordingly.
Furthermore, as per rumours on Twitter, your coalition partners have allegedly sent their representatives to ensure that those arrested for Khan’s murder be released immediately.

clergy form an alliance, ShujaUl mulk GS JUI,Ji leaders,ex deputy speaker Ikram shahid part of meeting demands release of Mashal murderer

If true, please clarify your stance on the matter to your coalition party that you will not tolerate this kind of behaviour, and if they don’t agree, ask them to resign from your government.

Mr Imran, you have no idea how upset your followers have been in the recent past due to your pandering of those who want to take Pakistan back to the Stone Age. Please stick to your principles, Sir, and do not think that you will lose the upcoming elections if you follow your liberal views; you would be surprised at the appreciation and admiration it will garner. Speak up for those who are in danger of being killed just because their views are different from the beliefs of those who barbarically and brutally murdered Mashal Khan in cold blood.
I, along with majority of the country, pray that you succeed!

Shakir Lakhani

Engineer, former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College, industrialist, associated with petroleum/chemical industries for many years. Loves writing, and (in the opinion of most of those who know him), mentally unbalanced. He tweets @shakirlakhani (