Pakistan politics still revolves around Nawaz Sharif

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 02:42 PM, 2 Jan, 2022
Pakistan politics still revolves around Nawaz Sharif
File photo.

When a Supreme Court bench held on April 13, 2018, that Mian Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification declared earlier under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution is for life, his political rivals celebrated the decision because they believed that now they would get rid of a strong opponent forever. 

Their ecstasy went up manifold when the three-time former prime minister left Lahore on November 19, 2019, for his medical treatment in London. He was going through a serious medical condition and it was for this reason that he had been allowed bail by a court to go abroad for treatment.  

His rivals were sure that the PML-N supremo would not survive – as a result of which his party would face existential threat because other leaders, though with vast political experience, are not popular and capable enough to take the party to the corridors of power once again. 

But after more than two years, Mr Sharif has upended all such calculations and not only is he healthier but also remains in the news almost every day. 

It would not be wrong to say that the country’s politics revolves around him. 

Every day he is mentioned in the news in one context or the other – because of which his ‘well-wishers’ (those wishing him to fall into the well) feel very disappointed. 

Now his adversaries are making speculations about his likely future plans and moves. 

The PML-N parliamentary party said a few days ago that Mr Sharif would return to Pakistan in 2022. However, the participants did not give any specific date. It was further claimed that the former prime minister would be a candidate for the same post for a fourth time, an announcement that raised many an eyebrow at all levels.  

All rivals would now make all possible efforts to thwart the PML-N plans and strategies.    

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that Mr Sharif would not come back, he will be brought back by the government.  

It is also being claimed that the government is in contact with the relevant UK authorities in this connection and time is not far when these efforts would bear fruit. 

To mount pressure on the PML-N President Mian Shehbaz Sharif, the government plans to move the court to seek action against him as a guarantor for his elder brother. (A federal minister has even urged the court to take suo motu notice).  

It was on November 16, 2019, when Shehbaz Sharif had submitted an affidavit in Lahore High Court (LHC) assuring that Nawaz Sharif will return to the country after recovery.  

He became guarantor for his elder brother Nawaz Sharif and stated that Nawaz will return to the country after four weeks if doctors said he is medically fit. 

The affidavit submitted by Shehbaz Sharif said that the medical reports attested by the foreign embassy would be submitted in court. He also said the government can question doctors of Nawaz Sharif if it is needed. 

In the same affidavit, his elder brother Mian Nawaz Sharif affirmed that he would return in four weeks after his treatment and would face the cases pending against him. 

The PML-N supremo, who had been diagnosed with an immune system disorder, was accompanied by his brother Shehbaz Sharif and his personal physician Dr Adnan Khan.  

The expected litigation against Shehbaz Sharif, who is also the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, will add to the bellicosity in politics

It may force him to request his brother to return to the country. 

And once the former prime minister is back home, he will also have to face the consequences of violating his commitment to the court. 

Before giving him any relief the court will certainly bear in mind how the PML-N supreme leader had breached his earlier undertaking. Needless to point out that his failure to return home on his recovery has dented his credibility.  

On the other hand, the Punjab government will hold local government elections in March -April.  These elections will change the political situation at the grassroots level. 

In such a situation any litigation against the Sharifs or the return of the former prime minister to Pakistan will make life full of activities. 

Ashraf Mumtaz

The writer is the Deputy Editor of 24 Digital.