A PML-N insider said the option of early elections is being discussed by the leadership in case the court’s decision affects the prime minister.
Pakistan Braces For Supreme Court Decision Involving Nawaz Sharif
As Pakistani’s waited anxiously for the verdict of the much-awaited Panama case, expected Thursday, the ruling PML-N party Wednesday weighed its options of an early election in case of a decision that could disqualify Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over corruption allegations.
Dawn News reported that a PML-N insider said “the option of early elections (this year) is being discussed by the leadership in case the apex court’s decision affects Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.”
According to the report, the insider said there had been two points of view in the party in case of an adverse verdict; one supporting the option of going into early election so that the PTI could not exploit the situation. This camp believes the party can easily retain its present position in the next polls.
The other group in the PML-N was reportedly against going for early election. “We should complete our tenure no matter what the decision is. The party should go for the option of replacing PM Sharif as early election will not be a good option,” Dawn quoted the source as saying.
Sharif has denied any wrongdoing, but the Supreme Court agreed to investigate his family's offshore wealth late last year after opposition leader Imran Khan threatened street protests.
The Supreme Court could take a range a of steps.
Reuters reported it could clear the prime minister, or order a further judicial commission of inquiry or even declare him ineligible to hold office, as it did in 2012 with then-Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani over a contempt of court case.
According to GEO TV, Talal Chaudhry, a prominent leader of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz said: "There is no chance that decision will come against our leadership. Our government and entire leadership are performing their duties as per routine."
Dawn also reported that the PML-N was holding an important meeting Wednesday to discuss its post-Panama verdict strategy.
Jammat-i-Islami party’s chief Senator Sirajul Haq said the Panama case decision would result in a “major change” in the country. “It is hoped that the decision will help stamp out corrupt system. April 20 will be remembered for the apex court’s land mark decision,” he said.
Corruption is endemic in Pakistan, which ranks a dismal 116th out of 176 in Transparency International's annual index of the world's most graft-ridden countries.