The normally calm and collected Finance Minister displayed a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde transformation on Monday before and after his appearance in the Panama JIT. In the hot seat for just under an hour, as compared with the extended interrogation of other ‘invitees’, he appeared rattled by the unusual experience to such an extraordinary degree that throwing all propriety and caution to the winds he launched a fierce frontal tirade against the nemesis metaphorically yelling at the PML-N leadership’s heels, Imran Khan. For a while, he appeared not as the de facto deputy prime minister, but one of the choruses of those loudmouth loyalists who habitually congregate after hearings to verbally defend and show their total servility to the party leader, often using vulgar language against all opponents. Dar’s wildly gesticulating and the hot-tempered display was definitely a comedown of sorts, an unpleasant and surprising revelation to many, and he might be privately ruling his momentary loss of control. But then the most poignant words in any language are probably these, ‘O! God, O! God, would it were possible, to undo things done, to bring back yesterday…’
Undoubtedly, the political atmosphere is highly charged, and has been for months, with the case against the first family heard initially by the Supreme Court Bench, and now under investigation by the JIT. But political rivals and the electronic media added fuel to the fire in prime time talk shows, with some biased anchors and political guests making inflammatory and highly personal remarks about the PM’s family members, of which Dar is a member by marriage. Still, the provocative and aggressive remarks about the PTI leader’s personality, character, morals and first marriage, casting aspersions on Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital, and questioning Imran’s loyalty, and the remarks on his siblings were totally uncalled for and in undoubted bad taste. With the JIT endgame fast approaching, the tit-for-tat atmosphere heating up, and with so much at stake, the tension can be cut with a knife. Dar simply couldn’t handle the pressure.