Fog of Sharifs’ deal attempt thickens?
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At a time a high-level medical board constituted by the government is examining the reports submitted by London-based former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif about his health, a federal minister has unleashed a new controversy about the Sharif family.
At a news conference in Lahore on Sunday, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry claimed that at least four leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz went to meet and tell ‘someone’ that they should be considered as a substitute if their supreme leader doesn’t suit them.
“PML-N’s four top leaders met someone and told him that Nawaz Sharif did a great wrong to the country [so] why don’t they consider them,” the minister said.
When pressed to identify them, he said: “You all know them as they sit in the front row of the party.
(‘Someone’ is a euphemism for the country’s most powerful person who can bring somebody in power or kick him out).
The same day, prime minister’s aide on political communication Shahbaz Gill at a press conference in Faisalabad claimed that the leader of the opposition Shehbaz Sharif has “asked for a deal for four people”.
Under the proposed deal, a “pardon” has been sought for PML-N leaders — Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz, Maryam Nawaz and Nawaz Sharif.
PML-N’s Punjab president Rana Sanaullah, however, vehemently denied the information minister’s statement about the meeting of the four PML-N leaders with ‘someone’, terming it ‘factually wrong’. “If ‘someone’ means the establishment or more precisely the army chief, no one can meet him without prior intimation and agenda,” he said.
Of the two versions coming from PTI and PML-N only one is true. Either the PTI leaders are misstating facts or the PML-N is concealing the truth.
When the two versions are so contradictory it is not possible for the people to determine which one should be trusted. As a result, the fog has thickened.
In fact, truth is the major casualty in the present era, which is very unfortunate.
In our country, political leaders have developed the habit of making misstatements to please their seniors, win their hearts and pave the way for their personal aggrandizement.
This is the shortcut to higher positions.
But, unfortunately, those using such ‘escalators’ for higher future roles are forgetting that Recording Angels are writing all these lies and the tellers thereof will be punished in the Hereafter for doing this.
That will be the time when the so-called seniors will not be able to rescue such elements.
If our worthy leaders stop lying for momentary political benefits they will be doing a great service to themselves. This will also enable the people to have a better assessment of the situation.
The controversy about the deal with the Sharifs has been going on for quite some time. But so, far, nothing has been established.
The government claims it is making all possible efforts to bring the three-time former prime minister from London to Pakistan and make him to face cases against him.
But senior PML-N leader and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says the party will not advise Mr Sharif to return home without completing his medical treatment.
When his attention was drawn to a statement made by former NA speaker Ayaz Sadiq that he would be going to London by January 20 (after three days) and bring Mr Sharif back, Mr Abbasi said the former speaker had not clarified which year he was referring to.
Unfortunately, those who are in a position to clarify the situation about the deal are tight-lipped. They say that they should not be dragged into political matters.
In such a situation the truth about the deal offers or attempts will remain buried under the thick layers of claims and counterclaims.
How this situation has affected public opinion came to light after a survey carried out by the Institute of Public Opinion Research (IPOR)
More than 3,700 people from across the country took part in the survey, conducted between December 22, 2021, and January 9, 2022.
It claims that the PML-N is the most popular party in Punjab, to be supported by 46pc of people in case of early elections. The PTI, the survey says, is second with 31pc voters’ backing. About 5pc will vote for the PPP, 3pc for the TLP, and 2pc for the PMLQ.
The PPP is the most popular party in Sindh with 44pc voters supporting it. With 13pc, the PTI is the second choice of voters in Sindh, the province which has been ruled by the PPP consecutively for the past 13 years.
Over 7pc will vote for the MQM-Pakistan, 3pc for the TLP, 3pc for the PMLN, and 1pc for the ANP.
The PTI enjoys the support of 44pc of voters in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while 17pc back the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam.
Over 11pc will vote for the ANP, 11pc for the PMLN, 7pc for the PPP, 3pc for Jamaat-e-Islami, while 1pc of people will vote for the Qaumi Watan Party.
In Balochistan, the ruling Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) is the first choice of 20pc of voters. Over 18pc of people will vote for the PTI, while 15pc would back the PPP, 14pc PML-N, 8pc JUIF, 5pc Balochistan National Party, 5pc like the PkMAP, while 2pc from the province back the ANP.
The findings of the survey provide food for thought to all parties.