The term Bahadur Shah Zafar of 1857, when used in the political context, implies a powerless and hapless ruler.
In the wake of the Panama Papers case, Pakistan’s media has already started using this term for that country’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif.
Panamagate became the biggest scandal in the history of Pakistan when the names of Sharif’s children appeared in the case of alleged money-laundering.
After much deliberation, a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was formed. His daughter Maryam Nawaz was given a clean chit by the Supreme Court. But his sons — Hussain and Hasan — were not that fortunate.
For the past few weeks, the Pakistani media – both print and visual – have been dominated by the appearance of the brothers before the JIT.
However, the situation took a serious turn when during questioning, Hussain’s blood pressure shot up and the JIT had to summon an ambulance.
As this news started appearing on the tickers of TV channels, Sharif and his family members frantically tried to contact their son to know about his welfare. But for seven hours, the Prime Minister of the country could not get access to his son, by telephone or otherwise.
Moreover, the CCTV image of a distraught Hussain sitting alone on a bench before the JIT was leaked to the media.
The next day, to protest against the intimidatory and une thical tactics used against the Sharif family, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz Group) leaders held press conferences in different parts of the country, where they said that for the first time in the history of Pakistan, the family of the Prime Minister was not only treated shabbily but also publicly humiliated.
Mushahid Ullah, a senior leader of the PML(N), said the Prime Minister of the country could not know the whereabouts of his son for seven hours. This means, he alleged, without pointing a finger at the Army, that someone is out there to destroy the family of the Prime Minister. Talal Chaudhry, another leader, while terming the Panama case JIT a ‘butcher shop’, said that the 30-day performance of the JIT amounted only to leaking a picture of Hussain.
While talking to the media, Chaudhry said: “We earlier said that the JIT is favouring only one party. When the JIT could not find anything, it leaked the picture of Hussain Nawaz. Law Minister of Punjab Rana Sanaullah said that he will be at the forefront if a campaign starts against the JIT.”
Sanaullah said that the JIT’s report getting marred due to controversy can lead to chaos in the country.
An eminent Pakistani journalist said the entire drama was staged to show that the Prime Minister and his family are being victimised at the behest of the Army.
He says it’s a pitiable sight that a Prime Minister of a country had to use his party leaders to put his case before the public.
“If he is so weakened by the Army, why doesn’t he admit that he has become a Bahadur Shah Zafar,” he added.