Kashmir netizens thrilled, draw parallels with India
Riyaz ul Khaliq
Srinagar: The disqualification of Pakistan’s Prime Minister by its Supreme Court will have no impact on the Kashmir issue, Srinagar-based political commentators said on Friday. However, Kashmiri netizens on social media were excited, terming the ruling as a marker of the “strength of Pakistan’s institutions”.
In a landmark judgement in the Panama Papers case today, a five-judge bench unanimously pronounced the disqualification of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif from the office of prime minister and directed its National Bureau of Accountability (NAB) to file a case of corruption against Sharif and his family. Following the judgement, which was hailed as historic for Pakistan, Sharif resigned from the post, thus dissolving his government.
“If the transition (of government) is smooth, it should not (impact) the Kashmir issue,” academic and political commentator Prof Noor Baba told Kashmir Reader. “Nawaz Sharif was considered a man of peace, but (his stepping down) won’t affect Kashmir.”
Referring to the ‘Lahore Peace Process’ initiated by Nawaz during Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s time, Baba, however, kept his fingers crossed. “We will have to wait and watch, but change of face does not change the policies (of the state).”
Chief of his faction of the Pakistan Muslim League, Nawaz Sharif never once completed a full term whenever he was in government. He was dethroned in a military coup by the then-Pakistan army chief, General Pervez Musharaf, after the 1999 Kargil war. However he returned to the National Assembly with a full majority in 2013; the country’s next elections are set for August 2018.
Noted political commentator and an expert in international law Prof Sheikh Showkat Hussain too believes that Sharif’s removal won’t impact Kashmir in any way. “On Kashmir, Pakistan has a national policy, and all its political parties follow it,” he told Kashmir Reader. “The disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz has nothing to do with Kashmir.”
However, Professor Hussain, who teaches law at the Central University of Kashmir, said such judgements by the Pakistan judiciary show its “supremacy and impartiality”.
“The decision of the Pakistan Supreme Court (against Nawaz) shows the supremacy of law and is a positive sign for any nation,” said Prof Hussain, adding that the history of Pakistan’s judiciary bears witness to its impartiality. “The judiciary is one of the most potent forces in Pakistan. It is recorded in history how the Pakistan judiciary has been impartial in all cases, be they against ZA Bhutto, General Musharraf and now PM Nawaz Sharif.
“Pakistan judiciary has guts and they can take on any party or institution.”
Ever since the Panama Papers were leaked in 2015 by an anonymous source, Nawaz Sharif has become the fourth-highest office holder globally to quit after the Pakistan Jama’at-e-Islami chief, Sirja ul Haq, approached the top court against the Sharif family as their names figured in the papers.
The Panama Papers, which belong to Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca, are 11.5 million leaked documents that detail financial and attorney-client information for more than 2,14,488 offshore entities.
As TV screens flashed the big news, senior Srinagar-based TV journalist Nazir Masooditweeted, “Let’s give it to Pakistan judiciary – After Musharaff, PM Geelani & now Nawaz.”
“Big day for #Pakistan,” tweeted Syed Nazakat, an award-winning investigative journalist from Kashmir.
Drawing parallels between the Indian and Pakistani courts, Muhammad Faysal, who has a huge Twitter following, wrote, “Indian media did not even report it in primetime, that their Supreme Court rejected a petition in the Kashmiri Pandit killings this week.”
It may be recalled that earlier this week, the Supreme Court of India rejected a petition which had sought investigation into the killing of Kashmiri Hindus in the 1990s.
On Facebook, the largest of all social media sites, excited Kashmiri netizens continued to share the news related to this year’s major development.
“A great day for Pakistan. Nawaz disqualified. No collective conscience – hail Pakistan,” posted technocrat Ubaid Zargar on his Facebook timeline, making an apparent reference to the verdict against Parliament attack convict Muhammad Afzal Guru, who was hanged inside Tihar Jail in 2013 after the SC said it “satisfied the collective conscience of India”.
Columnist and author Ess Ahmad Pirzada in his Facebook commentary on Nawaz’s disqualification recalled the killings of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. “[The] courts of so-called largest democracy of world not only set free killers of three thousand Muslims but even aided them to the government quarters,” he posted.
Pirzada, who has authored a book profiling the slain youth of the 2010 uprising, also made reference to how the accused in the Sabarmati Express, Mecca Masjid and Malegoan blasts were released “due to political interference”.