Panama leaks: Calm and composed Nawaz is a clear first round winner


Salahuddin Haider

BEING cool, and calculated has often been the key to success, especially for those in high position. Nawaz Sharif remains calm and composed most of the time. Seldom does he loose his cool and when he did react in haste, he invariably paid the penalty. But whenever he responded to his natural instinct of remaining quite, even when odds are heavy, he reaped rich benefits.
This instinctive quality in him has been an invaluable asset so far. Discarding the earlier rush reaction of offering answers to every bit of accusation, cost him heavily, but now that on return from London, he adopted a smarter stance, he has appeared as a clear first round winner in his battle for survival.
That however, does not mean that he has weathered the storm completely. The crisis is far from being over. Darker shadows, have, and will perhaps, continue overhead for quite some time from now. His ability to handle the situation on merit, would determine his future, both as man in authority, and as leader of a political party, which ascended to power for the third time in 2013, and has two more years to take care of the State and its people.
Stars favoured him as during the height of onslaught from opponents like PPP, or the PTI, he had to travel to London for heart treatment, Being abroad and under medical supervision for nearly 8 weeks, did him tremendous good. He not only got a new heart, a new lease of life, but was also able to reflect coolly on the situation at home. Being away from the humdrum and noise of rivalries, perhaps enabled him to take things easy, and not be swayed by emotions.
This was evident from the directive he issued to cabinet colleagues on return from England to start the dialogue afresh with those seething with anger. Finane Minister Ishaq Dar and company engaged Aitzaz Ahsan, Khursheed Shah, and Shah Mahmood Qureshi. The trick clicked, and resumption of dialogue between government and the opposition on TORs finally caused division in the ranks of the combined opposition.
Post-meeting statements from their leaders like Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, and Syed Khurshid Shah, was solid proof of reasons cited above. Their comments after marathon consultations in which, apart from PPP, and PTI, parliamentary representatives like Ilyas Bilour, Aftab Sherpao and others were present too.
Naturally the discussions were thorough dealt in detail. Resistance against street agitation obviously came from Awami National Party and Qoumi Watan party whose leaders Asfandyar Khan and Aftab Sherpao were opposed to the idea of resignation from the premier, till the time charges were proven against him.
The announcement from Khursheed Shah or Aitzaz Ahsan that street agitation has been discarded and a parliamentary committee will be formed to pass legislation in the Senate to deal with corruption. Experiences were witness to the fact that committees have often been a delaying tactic. Even if the Senate passes the proposed bill, it will fail in the National Assembly, PML being in majority there.
Also, since MQM has been maintaining somewhat passive attitude on the issue of Panama Leaks, it would be interesting to see whether they would side the PPP o PTI in voting for the bill in the upper house, or even in the lower house of the parliament. For all practical purpose, therefore, the opposition seems to have the game. The government tactic to win time, has delivered what the PML-N wanted.
But now the prime minister has to show sagacity, and do whatever the national interest demands. He has been a winner so far, but must not relax. That in essence is the lesson of the time.

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