Nawaz buries the conciliatory policy of Shehbaz
What three-time former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif said in his address from London to the PPP-hosted multi-party conference participants on Sunday has established once again that he has no tolerance for army’s role in governance.
In other words, he doesn’t like the idea of power-sharing between the politicians and the army, of which his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif is a strong supporter.
On a number of occasions the three-time former chief minister of Punjab, who has been leading the party since the disqualification of his elder brother by a court a few years ago, said that politicians and the army should run the country jointly to steer it out of the multiple problems.
Elder Sharif’s address means burial of this policy – and even thinking – for good.
Now the PML-N president is just a titular head who doesn’t have the power to give the party any policy.
It’s an open secret that Shehbaz Sharif is acceptable to the military establishment for a bigger role at the country level because of his ‘conciliatory policy. But Nawaz Sharif’s thinking is a major hurdle. It’s like spanner in the works. And since the vote bank belongs to the elder brother, Shehbaz can’t afford to part ways with him.
He has to follow what comes from MNS, even if he doesn’t like it.
Keeping in view the future of the party, the former prime minister is preparing his charismatic daughter – Maryam – as his successor. She has a mindset similar to that of her father’s- and is popular among other leaders and workers.
Even senior party leaders are willing to work under her leadership.
The harmony of thought between the father and the daughter came to light once again on Sunday when the former premier referred to the assets of Gen Asim Salim Bajwa, the CPEC Authority chairman who has been in the news for the past several weeks.
A few days ago, Maryam had also named the same general and had sought his accountability.
It is strange that MNS himself was a discovery of the army leadership and he became the Punjab chief minister and then prime minister with the support of this institution. Had the army not been behind the industrialist-turned-politician, he could not have countered Benazir Bhutto, who was a far more capable leader.
As for Mr Sharif’s health, while addressing the APC participants he looked far healthier than when he had left the country in November last year on court’s and government’s permission.
Now the court has issued nonbailable arrest warrants for him and directed the government to bring him back. But the former prime minister did not say when he would return to the country and face cases against him. This attitude is unbecoming of a former prime minister. He is supposed to uphold the law in all situations.
Significantly, along with the former prime minister also took on a section of the judiciary and the National Accountability Bureau and its chairman.
The three-pronged attack by a man whose entire family is facing a number of cases cannot be without a reason. Either he has the support from certain unknown hands or it is total foolhardiness that will make situation difficult for his party.
While criticizing the judges supportive of the ‘doctrine of necessity’ and their role in helping dictators, the former prime minister forgot the way he had used a Lahore judge (Malik Muhammad Qayyum) to get his then opponent Benazir Bhutto convicted.
Saifur Rehman, then Chairman of the Ehtesab Bureau, was passing on instructions to the judge.
The nexus between Saifur Rehman and the Sharifs is still there.
Now Saifur Rehman’s daughter is going to marry Maryam’s son Junaid.
Ehtesab Bureau was subsequently converted into the National Accountability Bureau whose chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal was criticized by Mr Sharif for his “vindictive” policies.
He has been targeting this institution for the past several years, although its chairman is committed to making Pakistan a corruption-free state. He claims to have recovered Rs 466billion from the corrupt elements.
The impact of Mr Sharif’s speech on the working of the NAB will become clearer in the days and weeks ahead.
Ostensibly, after Mr Sharif’s speech the PTI government’s reliance on the military establishment will go up and the two will work in close coordination.