Editorial: Question marks over Maryam’s tweets

The Panama Papers battle is not yet over, and no clear victor so far. Only the battlefield has changed; it will now be fought in the amphitheatre of the Joint Investigation Team, under the watchful supervision of a three-member bench of the Supreme Court.

But that’s not the understanding of First Daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif – to whom battle is over, the victor being her family, of course. This, she insists, was expected, given that the Panama Papers were nothing but “crap,” and their leaks have been “trashed in the rest of the world.” To her, the Panama Papers were not about corruption, and “those relying on it to bring down (Nawaz Sharif will) bite the dust.”

As if what she tweeted was not enough to celebrate her victory, so she went a step further and took a potshot at journalists who had unearthed the Panama scam. “The misery of journalists who broke the Panama story is understandable. Their overt & covert efforts to bring the government down came to a naught,” she said in yet another tweet.

Pat came a riposte and from the very journalists who broke the news that the Sharifs are part of the elite who used offshore outfits to stash their ill-gotten wealth. And “we found an astonishing number of corruption cases in the documents – and all real.”

Maryam Sharif’s wits are pitted against the host of political opponents who are out in the field, day and night, proclaiming the Sharifs as the nation’s thieves. And that the Supreme Court’s verdict – which opens with “The Godfather” epigraph that behind every big fortune is big crime – was also split and not final, given that the court has ordered further investigation.

And that is happening around the world. By now no less than 150 investigations, audits and investigations have been conducted in over 80 countries, resulting in some spectacular developments. The prime minister of Iceland stepped down after people took to the streets demanding his resignation. Then British Prime Minister David Cameroon resigned as his late father was identified in relation to investments set up by Mossack Fonseca. FIFA president Gianni Infortino called it a day.

And if many others identified in the Panama Papers did not step down, it was not because their involvement was doubtful. Those facing the severe charges in Pakistan are guilty too, but the law of their land happens to be subservient to their wishes. Whether Maryam Nawaz is involved as well, is for the joint investigation team to decide. But what is now public is the tweet by one of the investigating journalists, Frederik Obermayer, who posted an image of her passport attached with documents contained in the Panama Papers. “Do you want to claim this is not your passport?” he has asked.

Whether Maryam Nawaz goes into this tweet storm by accident or by design, both are possibilities. Given the Supreme Court’s split verdict ruling out disqualification of Nawaz Sharif as prime minister, she must have felt the comfort of the eye in the storm. As if the storm has blown over and the future is secure.

So why not claim that it was an international conspiracy against her father? The other possibility is that she tried at beating back the PTI’s never-ending call for Nawaz Sharif’s resignation when the dissenting members of the Supreme Court say he is neither “ameen” (trustworthy) nor “sadiq” (truthful), and therefore unqualified to be member of parliament and prime minister.

Whatever the motive behind the First Daughter’s tweets, and no matter how unpredictable the outcome of the joint investigation team may be, the question is: how come the political leaders in question, who never tire of sermonizing others to invest in Pakistan, themselves stash their wealth abroad?-Business Recorder