In a surprising turn of events, former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been banned from participating in Pakistani politics for life. Nawaz Sharif was previously disqualified from the post of Prime Minister in July after a probe ordered by The Supreme Court on panama Papers found him guilty of not disclosing monetary assets from his son’s Dubai based company.
Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar observed that the public deserves politicians of good character before handing out the verdict on the issue. It might come as a surprise to many that the Pakistani Supreme Court considered the expectations of the people, since the same Supreme court just a few months back directed the Pakistan government to not stand in the way of Hafiz Saeed’s social work campaigns, but that is an issue for another day.
Nawaz Sharif’s dismissal and now life-ban is only indicative of the abysmal condition of Pakistan as a state. A prime minister who is accused of siphoning money from people and hiding it in tax havens abroad can only mean that the state and its stature as a democracy in the international arena have touched a new low.
The Pakistani economy has been sluggish, and their debt to GDP ratio is abysmal, but even with these dire conditions politicians such as Sharif continue to loot the country. With dwindling foreign reserves and their investment risk portfolio being higher then what it has been in the last decade, the country is steadily but surely inching towards collapse. Although some may argue that it is already a failed state running solely on Chinese life support. This life support also seems to be choking Pakistan with ever increasing trade deficits. Many financial experts believe that Pakistan may soon need their 13th bailout since 1988 to stay afloat, while the current US government’s policy towards Pakistan and their bonhomie with China will also create hurdles in getting further bailouts from the IMF.
But the real reason behind the ousting of Sharif from Pakistani politics is the falling out that Sharif had with the military establishment. The Pakistani Military has always run a shadow government in Pakistan, and since their independence they have successfully dismissed three civilian governments and have controlled the others by coercion and manipulation.
Out of those three successful coup d’état, the last one was in 1999 with the then Army chief Pervez Musharraf arresting Nawaz Sharif. The Pakistani army has unchecked power in Pakistan, it has the highest budget in terms of defence allocation to budget ratio in the world. Pakistani army not only runs the government there, it also has movie theaters, runs petrol pumps and all kinds of other institutions. It is well known that the army establishment was not happy with Shariff growing closeness with India and the approach he took internationally.
In the end, Pakistan is left with politicians who loot and plunder their country and then flee the country in order to save themselves. An economy that is only equal to a banana state and a military establishment which dictates and runs the country like a family owned business can have very slim chances of survival. Pakistan is a geo-political ticking time bomb with minutes left till detonation.