‘Stunned’ PM cancels plan to address nation after adverse judgment

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz might have heaved a sigh of relief – for now. But the storm is not over yet, though the ruling party euphoric over the Supreme Court verdict in the Panamagate case.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif conferred with his top political and legal aides to review the post-verdict situation. “Beyond joy and jubilation, there is much more than meets the eye,” said a source with firsthand knowledge of developments in the ruling party’s circles.

According to the source, Sharif first decided to address the nation over the apex court verdict at 7pm on Thursday. But then he changed his mind on the advice of his legal wizards, who after skimming through the 549-page judgment discovered that “all is not well”.

Sources said the ruling party was deeply concerned that none of the five judges on the apex court bench has given Premier Sharif or his family a clean chit. Two judges recommended Sharif’s disqualification, while the rest called for a further probe by a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) while sharing strong observations against the Sharifs.

The PML-N believes the JIT formation would allow the opposition parties – the PTI and the PPP in particular – to exploit the situation by resorting to street agitation in pursuit of their demand for Premier Sharif to step down.

Moreover, the ruling party is also worried that the JIT would also comprise representatives from the security agencies which cannot be influenced, it is learnt.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Sharif’s Adviser Ameer Muqam, however, struck a happy note. “Truth has triumphed today,” he said. “Our prayers have been granted.”

Asked about the bench’s strong observations regarding the Sharif family, he said: “I haven’t gone through the detailed judgment. Once I do, I’ll get back to you.”

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