Awaam by Raza Ali

The July 2017 decision of Pakistan's Supreme Court to convict Nawaz Sharif for his part in the Panama Papers scandal should not come as a huge shock. Since the country's inception seventy years ago, every single ruler has been forced out of office prematurely. The reasons have been multitudinous: military intervention, assassination and so forth. The surprise lies in the fact that a nation so numbed to the rotting corpse of corruption at the core of its political institutions should decide to hold its head of state accountable.

Sharif's party, the Pakistan Muslim League, has long positioned itself as the voice of the centre-right. What is interesting is that one of the protagonists in his downfall could be about to step into the vacuum he leaves behind. Step forward the populist hero of the moment, Imran Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. Khan has consistently demonstrated he is free from the financial sleaze that permeates Pakistani politics. His financial dealings have been notably and uniquely transparent since his cricketing days. But is he really the answer to Pakistan's prayers?

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Critical Muslim.