Shehbaz Sharif going through agonizing experience
Ups and downs are part of life. Likewise, problems of various natures also affect the lives of human beings at various stages.
But the kind of situation PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif has been passing through for the past couple of years is no short of agony.
Perhaps, this is the most difficult period of his life, especially because his earlier life has been so joyful. He remained chief minister of the country’s biggest province for three terms, compared to three terms of his elder brother Nawaz Sharif as prime minister and two terms as Punjab’s chief executive.
At present, Shehbaz Sharif, on papers, is the president of the PML-N, but, in reality, it is Maryam Nawaz who has effectively succeeded him and is running the party.
Shehbaz Sharif is in jail, facing a number of serious charges like money laundering and assets beyond means. In his absence Maryam is taking all decisions with the backing of her father, who has been staying in London for the past one year.
Maryam, so far, has performed as an experienced leader and the media has also given her more projection than she deserves. Thus, she has carved out a space for herself much beyond the stature of a vice president. The duration and frequency of live coverage she gets on the electronic media have added to her stature.
Since there is no kinship in kingship, she will prefer to keep running the party like this.
Her father will also like her to run the party - and play a future role in country’s affairs if she gets an opportunity - for the sake of dynastic politics.
It will not be wrong to draw an analogy between Shehbaz Sharif and Prince Talal of Jordan, who was the crown prince but King Hussain appointed his son Abdullah – now the king – as his successor. This established that children are dearer than even real brothers or sisters.
As of now, Shehbaz is left with no role to play in the foreseeable future.
All party leaders, no matter how senior, are striving to get closer to Maryam, the real boss and decision-maker.
There are reports of resentment in the party over the way she treats leaders and passes orders. However, nobody dares to bring this resentment on record because of the likely adverse consequences of freedom of speech. They call such a policy as foolhardiness and want to keep themselves safe and secure.
As party president Shehbaz Sharif is a strong supporter of the policy of conciliation, dedia reports say that even after his recent meeting in jail with PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari he wants the PDM not to go to a point of no return by tendering resignations from assemblies and keep the doors of conciliation with the establishment open. However, none in the party gives this opinion any importance. Party leaders and supporters prefer to follow the confrontational politics of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam.
It is said that sane voices in the party, privately, endorse the conciliatory policy of Shehbaz Sharif; however, because of expediency they don’t like to bring their views on record.
As of now there are no takers of Shehbaz Sharif’s policy as a result of which the incarcerated PML-N party chief also stands isolated.
As a matter of principle Shehbaz should step down as party chief because his opinion is not given importance by leaders of all tiers - and because he stands no future in the party.
On the other hand, he also faces a plethora of cases concerning money laundering and possessing assets beyond means.
So far, he has failed to come up with a convincing rebuttal of the allegations levelled by the NAB. Every now and then he says he has not committed corruption worth a single penny. But such kind of impotent statements in the absence of solid proofs can’t effectively prove his and family’s innocence.
The very fact that his wife, son and son-in-law have been staying in London for years and are not picking courage to return to Pakistan to face cases, weakens Shehbaz Sharif’s oft-repeated innocence plea.
The best course for the ‘titular’ PML-N president is to ask all his family members in the British capital to come back to Pakistan, no matter what the consequences. Courts have summoned them again and again and they remain unmoved.
Propriety demands that those campaigning for vote’s respect should also give due respect and importance to courts and their orders.
Otherwise, already cornered by the party and jailed by the government, Shehbaz Sharif will lose respect in the eyes of the common man.