End of Khawaja Asif: Is Judiciary sidelining Nawaz Sharif’s loyalists?

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The Islamabad High Court on Thursday April 26th 2018 disqualified Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif under Article 62(i)(f) of the Constitution for holding a work permit — iqama — issued by the UAE.

This is a grievous blow to the PML-N as Asif was one of the true heavyweights, a politician of real heft and clout with a parliamentary history stretching back to 1993. His argument that he had never hidden his UAE work permit cut no ice with the bench and there is a more clear-cut decision than in the case of his erstwhile leader, Nawaz Sharif.

This leaves the PML-N in considerable disarray. Apart from the disqualification of Asif and Nawaz Sharif there is discord in the ranks with a former interior minister — who is also a past senior figure in the party — playing a catch-as-catch-can hand which leaves all guessing as to whether he is going to jump ship for another party, plus there is also the rolling difficulty of the alienation of MNAs in south Punjab. There is a caretaker prime minister (who most would agree has acquitted himself well under difficult circumstance) who is holding the government together until the dissolution. The matter of an interim PM to manage the interregnum is also yet to be resolved.

None of this bodes well for the PML-N that gives every impression of being in a kamikaze dive to the gloating delight of most of the other mainstream parties. The politicians have nobody to blame but themselves for this travelling shambles, undone as they are by their many dishonesties large and small. We have little sympathy.