THE Supreme Court had allowed Mian Nawaz Sharif to go abroad for treatment and ordered Shahbaz Sharif to submit an affidavit to bring him back home in four weeks as if Shahbaz Sharif was obliged to bring his elder brother back home in four weeks. Even eleven months later, Nawaz Sharif did not return home, which is a violation of the court order. Mian Nawaz Sharif is still justifying his alleged illness, while during this time many pictures have been published by media in which he seems to be very happy. In recent days, during the APC and subsequent video speeches, he has been seen as a healthy person. The federal government is in constant touch with the British government to ensure the return of Nawaz Sharif so that the process of accountability that has begun can be brought to a logical conclusion.
There is no doubt that the political leadership of the country has no right to protect itself and not the people, so a long reconciliation silence has been broken after the failure to pursue the interests. Government circles say that by making an excuse of a serious illness, Nawaz Sharif, who has left the country, has exposed himself that he is not ill and his 54-minute speech in the APC and later presiding over the party meeting is a clear proof that he left the country under the pretext of illness and has started practical politics. He has been presiding over political contacts and party meetings, but despite being healthy, he has not returned to the country to face the courts. Nawaz Sharif has held the post of Prime Minister three times and is claiming to restore true democracy. They also want to get justice, but when they return to Pakistan, they are reluctant to complete their sentence and face their appeals in the courts. However, it does not allow them to sit outside and attack the institutions and please India.
It is true that Prime Minister Imran Khan was not in favor of letting convict Nawaz Sharif to leave the country. According to Sheikh Rashid, Prime Minister regrets it now. It seems very difficult for the government to bring Nawaz Sharif back home. In principle, as a political leader, Mian Nawaz Sharif should return and wait for a court decision, but Nawaz Sharif’s policy seems to be that he will not return to the country and seek treatment in open air of London instead of being imprisoned at home. Anyway, why does Mian Nawaz Sharif need to come to Pakistan and spend his life in prison? He is continuing his politics even when he is out of the country. For some reason, his silent politics has been running since he moved to London, which has now found a language in the APC. Nawaz Sharif’s aggressive speech in the APC and the recent activities of the PDM apart from the PML-N seems to suggest that someone has laid a hand of sympathy on his head during his stay in London and at own country, someone in power is in touch with him. The effect of this sympathetic support is that for the first time the issue of the role of the army in politics has been made a direct part of the political agenda and Nawaz Sharif is apparently leading the campaign. He does not seem to care about the cases against him in the courts and does not appear to be suffering from the fear that his daughter is still in Pakistan and could be arrested at any time.
Nawaz Sharif is keen on a policy of blackmailing the authorities while putting pressure on the government, as he has made it clear through his messengers that more concessions are possible from the state and the government nor is Maryam Nawaz likely to go abroad. That is why Mian Nawaz Sharif seems to be hunting for two with one arrow. He wants to divert attention from the cases pending in the courts against him and to paint the government’s efforts to bring him back home as political revenge. But to some extent, he fears that the government may not really be able to deport them from the UK, while the remarks of the courts make it clear that they are not in a position to provide further relief.
In view of this situation, Nawaz Sharif is threatening to reveal secrets by burning his boats, but this is not a unilateral act. Nawaz Sharif’s and Maryam Nawaz’s hot speeches have also embarrassed in front of Imran Khan those who thought that release of Mian Nawaz Sharif on bail and voluntary deportation by PML-N would not weaken the existing transitional structure and confrontation and non-confrontation – the culture of instability will be discouraged. Although the Maryam Nawaz group has become stronger in the PML-N after the arrest of Mian Shahbaz Sharif, many like Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in the presence of senior PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, do not feel comfortable and they are forced to think that Mian Nawaz Sharif himself does not want to live a life of slavery, but is forcing us to enslave under their children. This internal turmoil within the PML-N will overwhelm the party, but the country cannot afford any internal turmoil and institutional confrontation, the consequences of confrontation can be very dangerous. To come out of this situation safely, a conciliatory attitude with a cold heart and mind must have to be adopted. If the government adopts the same attitude that Pervez Musharraf adopted during the Judiciary Restoration Campaign, then not only individuals but also institutions will be at stake in the conflict. Thus, no one knows what will be the outcome of this confrontation?
—The writer is freelance columnist, based in Lahore.