What brought about unbelievable change in Maryam’s anti-Imran approach?

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 01:08 PM, 27 Apr, 2021
What brought about unbelievable change in Maryam’s anti-Imran approach?
File photo.

An unbelievable change has been witnessed in the consistent anti-Imran Khan utterances of PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz and her equally unwavering resolve to oust his government at the earliest. 

For the common mortals, the shift is not easy to digest and they would like to trace the factors that made what is nothing short of a miracle possible.

She has been quoted as saying in an interview to a private TV channel that although the PTI government can be pulled down in a “couple of minutes” she would like it to complete its five-year term.

Maryam Nawaz, who is more important in the PML-N than even party president Shehbaz Sharif, who is her uncle, said she would not like the PTI leaders to justify their failures by telling the electorates that they would have done a lot for them if they had got the opportunity to complete their five-year term. “He who could not do anything in three years will not be able to do anything even in five years”, she said.

This is the right political approach to expose the PTI. Once the Imran government serves out its mandated term, people would be in a better position to compare the performance of PML-N, PPP and the PTI during their respective full constitutional terms and take a right decision on who to support in the next elections.

But an important question arises as to what is it that brought such a major shift in her otherwise anti-Imran thinking? Another question is whether the PDM, the alliance of opposition parties of which the PML-N is the major constituent, will support Maryam’s newfound argument?

There are speculations that the differing policies of the powers-that-be towards Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shehbaz Sharif and the latest manifestation thereof is the key factor behind the sea change witnessed in the thinking of the daughter of the three-time former prime minister. The London-based PML-N supreme leader is being treated according to his defiant approach and the conciliatory Shehbaz being reciprocated accordingly.

Political observers point out that an accountability court in Islamabad on Thursday ordered the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) to sell all the shares that Mian Nawaz Sharif owns in various businesses and to deposit their proceeds in the treasury.

It allowed the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) request to auction the properties of Mr Sharif, who was declared a proclaimed offender by the same court on September 9, 2020 due to his failure to join the Toshakhana – gift repository – case.

The NAB has told the court Mr Sharif owns 467,950 shares in Muhammad Bakskh Textile Mill, 343,425 shares in Hudabiya Paper Mills, 22,213 shares in Hudabiya Engineering Company and 48,606 shares in Ittefaq Textile Mills.

He has eight accounts in various private banks, including three foreign currency accounts. Nawaz Sharif has Rs612,000 in his five local bank accounts. In his three foreign currency accounts, Nawaz has €566, $698 and £498 respectively.

According to the report, Nawaz owns a bungalow in Murree, a 15-kanal house in Changla Gali, Abbottabad and property in Upper Mall Lahore.

He and his dependents own more than 1,752 kanals of agricultural lands which include 936 kanals in Mouza Manak in Lahore, 299 kanals in Mouza Baduksani, 103 kanals in Mouza Mall Raiwind in Lahore, 312 kanals in Mouza Sultan, 14 kanals in Sheikhupura district and 88 kanals in Mouza Ferozwatan.

According to the ETO of Lahore and Islamabad, Nawaz Sharif also owns three luxury vehicles and two harvesting vehicles. 

With the former prime minister having already been declared a proclaimed offender, the auction order will certainly bring the Sharifs under pressure.

On the other hand, Shehbaz Sharif, who complies with the laws and has projected himself as a man of conciliation, has been allowed bail and set free.

Although orders for both the brothers have come from courts, the role played by invisible hands cannot be ruled out.

As for the future political scene, contrary to flexibility in Maryam Nawaz’s thinking the PDM has decided to launch a “mass contact campaign with full force” after Eidul Fitr, which is expected to fall on May 14.    

PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman told reporters after the alliance’s Monday meeting that the opposition alliance was determined to continue its struggle to get the nation rid of the PTI government and ensure free and fair elections in the country.

Both the PPP and the ANP, who had left the alliance recently after being issued show cause notices, had not been invited to the huddle although the PDM still wants the pair to rejoin the coalition.

Before discussing the next phase of anti-government drive, the PDM must bear in mind that in the prevailing situation there’s little possibility of them being able to bring the people out to oust the government.

Already, the government is about to complete three years in power. And at a time when Coronavirus is taking more and more lives every day it will not be possible for the people to respond to the opposition leaders’ calls against the rulers.  They are more worried about their lives.

They should have mercy on people – and themselves – and put not their lives at risk.  Lack of public response to any call will only expose the PDM.