Panama case, the hot topic in the Pakistani political scene would have died a long time ago if not for the advancement in technology that has enabled a wider reach of information.
Pakistan over the years have seen many scandals unfold involving the top civil or military leadership of the country and there have been very rare instances where the analysis or any investigative report was made public. Consequently, the issue died an unnatural death and no one has ever been held accountable under the rule of law.
Take 1990 election rigging case for instance or in our common terms MehranGate and Asghar Khan case. It has been more than two decades since the actual criminal activity took place and we are still seeking answers to many questions. But things are different this time.
Many speculated that the Panama case would be dead end where nothing would be said and done against the political elite but due to advancements in technology, people were better aware this time. So, let us review 5 technologies that kept this case alive in pakistan:
A few minutes after the JIT report went public, WhatsApp became the primary tool for dispersion of this document. From journalists to a common man, people could access the 200+ pages report on the Panama Case to make an opinion for themselves.
In the past, with limited TV channels and no access to such communication tools, a report of such influence and importance often had the habit of go into the abyss, nowhere to be found for the common man.
But in 2017, it is quite astounding how the access to information is not a luxury rather a commodity for everyone regardless of their status and societal standing.
Social media though sometimes can be a depressive place where political extremists often try to abuse and harass people with polarizing views but in this scenario, it also acted as a major platform that connected people with various political figures who directly addressed their followers.
During and after the hearings of the Panama Case, social media helped to rapidly spread the latest news or views of judges or political analysts. People also got a chance to discuss their reservations about the said case and share their opinions with others to further broaden their knowledge via critical thinking.
In the nineties, it would’ve been foolish to think that a private TV channel can compete with the state machinery and challenge their stance openly and boldly. Thank God! with the advancement information and communication technology, we have over a dozen news channels.
From the blatant analysis of various talk show hosts to the undisputed coverage of major events, including the reruns of various interviews given by the defendants in the Panama case, television has helped the Pakistanis to be informed about even the minor details of the case.
In the recently released JIT report, the investigation uncovered that the font used in the 2006 agreement was Calibri which was commercially available in 2007, a piece of information considerably hard to acquire in the pre-internet era.
Now everyone can look up the date of Calibri font’s creation, create memes about it and share them on social media to laugh out loud on this memorable and historic piece of evidence, courtesy of Panama case.
Also, internet enabled us to stay informed with the latest happenings via e-papers and online news. People could access the original documents of the Panama papers that started this whole conversation and judge their leaders for themselves rather than listening to PTV which would love to depict that all is well in the country.
I know you might be thinking that mobile phones are the least surprising thing but don’t forget that it also comes under one of the technologies that enabled the Pakistanis to keep the Panama case issue alive.
Instant access to numerous online articles, internet, and social media helped us to see beyond the flashy statements by various political figures and find the truth for ourselves, something that was unheard of in the nineties.