ISLAMABAD: On Friday morning when the country was awaiting, with bated breath, the verdict in the Panamagate case and the media was ablaze with speculations, all eyes were on the Supreme Court – both literally and metaphorically.
The judgment was set to be announced at 11:30am but the Courtroom 1 was brimming with politicians, lawyers, bureaucrats, journalists and families of judges even at 10am.
Outside the court – on the Constitution Avenue – heavy contingents of police and Rangers were deployed. Strict security arrangements were also in place inside the court and nobody was allowed to enter the courtroom without a pass.
The courtroom was also abuzz with anticipation and the people – engaged in gossiping and guesswork about the impending decision by the five-judge bench – continually cast a glance at the huge door behind the judges’ seats from where the bench members were to enter.
As the time for announcement of verdict drew nearer, even the aisles were filled with lawyers and other people jostling for space in the already-packed courtroom. The sounds of whispers became so loud at times that a senior police officer had to make a couple of announcements to keep voices down.
A gallery above the audience was also opened for families of judges. There, sons of Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and daughter of Justice Umar Ata Bandial could be spotted.
As the judges entered the courtroom, the crowd hushed and stood up with a number of people craning their necks to have a better view of the bench members.
As Justice Khan announced the court’s unanimous decision to disqualify the PM, the PTI’s Jahangir Tareen, Asad Umar and other party loyalists literally jumped up, saying: “Yes, yes”.
The PML-N members were utterly shocked. Daniyal Aziz stood up and stared vacantly at the courtroom’s walls. Marriyum Aurangzeb and Anusha Rahman like many others were straining hard to hear the judge’s voice which at times became almost inaudible due to a poor audio system.
It was never the ruling PML-N’s day as all its firebrand members were stiff-faced, teary-eyed and disappointed with the judgment of the PM’s disqualification.
However, members of the opposition parties – especially those of the PTI – were going berserk and were wildly celebrating the decision.
Flashing victory signs, Tareen, Umar and Shibli Faraz of the PTI came out of the court building and reached the media corner to speak ahead of AML chief Sheikh Rashid and Jamaat-e-Islami’s chief Sirajul Haq. The PTI’s young lawyers started chanting ‘go, Nawaz go’ slogans at the top of their lungs.
All the TV anchors and journalists also rushed with their cameras and microphones to live-broadcast what the jubilant leaders had to say. Putting on a brave, PML-N lawmakers left the premises silently and refused to comment or answer questions of journalists holding cameras.
Only Marriyum and Anusha briefly talked to media as tears rolled down the cheeks of Marriyum’s mother, Tahira Aurangzeb.
The PTI lawyers and loyalists now spotted Daniyal Aziz leaving the premises. They taunted him for not speaking to the media, unlike as he used to do during the Panamagate hearing.
Amid the celebratory clamour, a small group of policemen kept asking journalists as to what lay in store for Pakistan. Some of them also tried to make sense out of the live transmissions of television channels.