The decision by Pakistan’s Supreme Court to disqualify Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reaffirms the iron law of Pakistani politics: a politician can amass wealth and engage in corruption only as long as he does not challenge the ascendance of the country’s powerful national security establishment. Although Mr. Sharif has ostensibly been disqualified over the so-called Panama Papers, which exposed holders of offshore bank accounts, the verdict against him has little to do with the revelations in the Panama Papers.
Mr. Sharif and his family have definitely expanded their assets several fold since his entry into politics more than three decades ago as a protégé of the Islamist military dictator, General Zia-ul-Haq, and the former chief of the notorious Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). But he was not put on trial for corruption and convicted.
Instead, the Supreme Court acted politically, as it often does, and created a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that included military