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Nawaz Sharif – From a patient to a ‘doctor’

By Ashraf Mumtaz

October 1, 2020 06:42 PM


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When Mian Nawaz Sharif was allowed to go to London for medical treatment in November last year, his life was ‘at risk’. The ‘patient’s medical reports had moved even the courts as well as the government,  because of which they granted him permission on humanitarian grounds.

During the intervening ten months in London he was not admitted to any hospital, nor did he undergo any other procedure because his daughter –Maryam – was not there with him to take care of him.

But he spent time in ‘diagnosing ailments of the political system’ that had brought him to power – thrice as prime minister and twice as Punjab chief minister.

During seclusion, it dawned on him that it was the establishment that was running the country and the role of parliament was no more than that of a ‘rubber stamp’.  

He also realized that his life in his own country was no more than that of a slave, and decided to live with the dignity and pride of a free Pakistani, whatever the price.

In his Sept 20 speech through video-link he had identified the real enemy – the establishment – that had brought ‘incapable’ Imran Khan to power, and in his second address on Sept 30 he said if nation stayed together, the change may take place within weeks.

However, he did not say what kind of change it would be and how would it be brought about.

His party leaders, who are in constant contact with the Pakistan Democratic Movement bosses, are finalizing a schedule of protests in various cities.

So far, Mr Sharif has not announced when he would return to Pakistan or as a law-abiding citizen what was the justification for him to prolong his stay in the British capital when the court was summoning him again and again and he also looked much healthier than before.

The future course of action of the newly-launched opposition alliance would be known in the days ahead, but the former premier must clarify his position on certain issues for the information of the nation. This is imperative because there are obvious contradictions in his words and deeds.

For example, if it is accepted that the establishment is running the country, what justification would he offer to vote recently for the extension in the service of Gen Bajwa, father of the institution that he is accused on encroaching upon civilian supremacy?  Why the ‘brave’ leaders of the revolutionary party did not dare oppose the extension plan?

Will it be right to infer that Mr Sharif has adopted the confrontation course as the party has not received the kind of relief it expected in reciprocity?

This question becomes even more relevant because PML-N supreme leader has alleged that the army leadership had asked the JUI high-ups at a meeting to keep away from the “Azadi March” and not to interfere with the actions being taken against the Sharifs by the government.

Ostensibly, for any principled party, there was little justification to support extension in the term of Gen Bajwa after attributing such a negative role to his institution.

Another contradiction is visible in the role assigned to Mian Shehbaz Sharif, the party president.

He could not have been elected as party chief without the consent of the former prime minister. But Shehbaz Sharifs is a strong supporter of the policy of conciliation, not confrontation.

If hypocrisy is not the name of the game, how can an advocate of conciliation honestly defend the confrontational policy of his elder brother?

Let’s assume that Maryam being a convict can’t lead the party, why some other senior leader is not offered the mantle of chieftainship?

It is also a valid question of how millions and billions of rupees were allegedly transferred to the accounts of various members of the Sharif family from the accounts of low-paid employees of the family?

Logically, the parliament’s role and powers can be enhanced by all political parties joining hands.  

In other words, the opposition alliance and the ruling coalition should cooperate with each other for the common cause. The PDM will not be able to achieve its objectives if more than half of parliament members are taken as rivals. Such a strategy will only lead to anarchy, chaos.

Nobody should forget that already an Islamabad court has ordered the confiscation of many valuable assets of former prime minister. And those toeing his line may have to face similar action on one pretext or the other.

The PML-N leaders must also bear in mind that only a handful of its top leaders can be categorized as ideologically committed. Others are constituency-politicians who have to safeguard their personal interests in all situations.

They had switched loyalties when the Sharifs had been banished to Saudi Arabia during the Musharraf rule – and they may adopt a similar course in a difficult situation in times ahead.

If Sharifs can follow contradictory policies to meet the requirements of a situation, other party adherents will also be free to do what suits their interests.


Ashraf Mumtaz


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