ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Selective Accountability and the Politics of Repetition

Sharif’s Dismissal

Examination of the accountability process in Pakistan reveals that it falls into the trap of repeating inter-elite rivalries from the past, rather than marking a point of departure. The investigation’s sole focus on elected officials does little to alter the almost-complete impunity for the country’s armed forces and the judiciary. This dialectic of accountability for parliamentarians and impunity for the military continues to structure political dynamics in Pakistan.

On 28 July 2017, the Supreme Court of Pakistan announced its decision to sack Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on corruption charges. The allegations against Sharif and his family ranged from money laundering, possession of assets disproportionate to disclosed income, and tax evasion. However, he was eventually dismissed on a technical (and arguably a minor) detail. He had failed to disclose his unwithdrawn income of 10,000 dirhams (PKR 2,87,000) from his time as Chairman of the Board of Capital FZE in his nomination papers in 2013.

As expected, the decision produced a state of euphoria among opposition parties, particularly Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which was the primary petitioner in the case. Most online media reflect the sentiment of the opposition, hailing it as a new dawn of “justice and accountability” in Pakistan. Sharif is the third Prime Minister to resign (after his counterparts in Iceland and Spain) due to the Panama Leaks that rocked the world in 2015.

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Updated On : 24th Aug, 2017
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