Maryam, Fazl pursuing a dangerous political line
Maryam Nawaz, the de facto chief of the PML-N and daughter of the three-time former prime minister, has been summoned by the National Accountability Bureau in Lahore on March 26 in connection with investigations into Chaudhry Sugar Mills (money laundering) and 148 kanals of land that she allegedly purchased in Lahore illegally.
For that day the PML-N leadership has directed all its members in the national and provincial assemblies from Punjab along with other supporters to accompany party’s vice president to the NAB office at Thokar Niaz Beg.
Since the PML-N is also an important component of the 10-party opposition alliance, PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has also directed all coalition leaders and workers to be present on the occasion in hundreds of thousands to make the power show a great success.
In view of the situation likely to emerge on the day the NAB has also sought “foolproof security” from Rangers and police. Efforts are also being made to get the area declared “red zone”.
Because of the preparations being made by the PML-N and its allies and the help sought by the NAB from the law-enforcers no one is in a position to predict the likely situation to emerge on the day.
But nobody should forget the past conduct of the PML-N when it faced a difficult situation.
During the second PML-N tenure, then prime minister had serious differences with then chief justice Sajjad Ali Shah.
Party workers, under instructions from the party leadership, invaded the Supreme Court. The court was working when attacked, as a result the judges had to leave courtroom to save lives.
Some of the party leaders had even been convicted in subsequent trial, but the PML-N has not changed its thinking towards institutions. Those convicted in that case included: Akhtar Rasool (a known sycophant), Mian Munir (now in the PML-Q) and Tariq Aziz (now deceased).
The very thinking of any political party targeting institutions is regrettable, especially by a party that has spent some three decades in power and has become a ‘power addict’.
Regrettably, PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif is targeting the heads of the army and the ISI, telling them that they would have to be accountable for their acts, an attitude that encourages the party followers to use derogatory language against them.
The party is also accusing the NAB as a tool of victimization of the government opponents.
But propriety demands that instead of making preparations to gather large crowds outside the NAB offices Maryam should come up with irrefutable evidence against the NAB allegations. Such an approach would add to the popularity of the party, which is already the largest among those sitting on opposition benches.
It should also not create a law and order situation at a time when the country is already facing countless problems. The PML-N should set an example of adherence to law for its supporters.
If cases have to be decided on the basis of muscle power, then there is little justification left to keep various institutions intact. Any accused who can bring more people on the streets can intimidate any organization accusing them of any wrong act.
It may be recalled that in the money laundering investigation, Maryam has been on bail since November 2019.The anti-graft body had recently moved the Lahore High Court seeking cancellation of her bail. The court has issued her a notice for April 7.
The NAB had also summoned Maryam Nawaz in August last year, but upon her arrival clashes between PML-N workers and police broke out outside its Lahore headquarters.
The role being played by PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman is still more deplorable. Since he is also head of the JUI, a religious party, he is not supposed to encourage his supporters to do anything that leads to anarchy.
He should first set his own house in order.
Only a few days ago, a former leader of his party- Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, who had also served as his spokesman, had levelled very serious allegations against the JUI chief.
His statement was published on the front page on an English language daily.
He had said the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s rental march can’t be called off abruptly owing to “predetermined financial issues”.
He said the holding of a face-to-face meeting (between Maryama and Fazl) was necessary in Lahore to collect rental march’s first instalment of Rs1.25 billion.
He asked when would the supporters of long march and sit-ins allow fair intra-party elections in their parties. He believed that fathers of Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto and leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz would be the final nail in the coffin of the narratives of Nawaz Sharif and Maulana Fazlur Rehman.