After Nawaz and Zardari, Khursheed Shah shifted to hospital

Khursheed Shah of PPP has been hospitalized. Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari have already been hospitalized due to failing health. What is its political aspect?

Khursheed Shah

Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) senior leader Syed Khursheed Shah was admitted to hospital in Sukkur on Sunday. Media reports suggest that the PPP leader is not feeling well and likely to remain in the hospital.

According to the details, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) shifted Khursheed Shah to the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) after he complained of chest pain. Mr. Shah will undergo medical examinations including checking the Troponin I levels in his bloodstream.

On September 19, the NAB had arrested PPP senior leader Syed Khursheed Shah in case pertaining to assets beyond income source. The PPP stalwart will be produced before the Accountability Court Sukkur on Thursday for a remand.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Asif Saeed Khosa has once asked how everyone who was arrested by NAB fell ill and remarked that NAB should construct a state-of-the-art hospital to treat those people

The inquiry against Khursheed Shah was initiated on August 7. The PPP leader is accused of illegally registering an empty plot in his name for a bungalow in Cooperative Society. The PPP leader had also allotted to himself an amnesty plot illegally from a cooperative society in Sukkur.

It is also important to recall that NAB has decided to open Steel Mills Regularization case inquiry against Mr. Shah just a week ago. “Shah has opened as many as 105 banks accounts under his and family members name in Karachi, Sukkur and other cities”, NAB sources had claimed.

In a letter penned to the Establishment Division the accountability watchdog has sought relevant record from the establishment division regarding regularization and appointment of the employees from grade one to 15.

Read more: NAB uncovers Khursheed Shah’s assets worth Rs500 billion

The properties were made in Sukkur, Rohri and Karachi, according to the document and it had further reveals that Glamour Bungalow, Junejo Flour Mills, Mukesh Flour Mills including 83 other properties were made under Shah’s front man, Pehlaj Rai.

Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari have already been admitted to hospitals in Lahore and Islamabad respective. The health conditions of both leaders is uncertain. However, these developments also have a political aspect which needs careful attention and proper understanding of the matter. Political commentators who spoke to GVS believe that while Nawaz may be genuinely sick, impression is growing of a deal to create a sympathetic atmosphere in which he can be allowed to leave for London while cases against remain pending in courts. Those who suspect a deal point towards past. If history of Pakistan is anything to go by, then reports of a deal might as well be true.

No politically powerful person in Pakistan’s history has ever been punished in a court of law in a corruption case; convictions even if obtained in lower courts are almost always overturned by superior courts. System simply does not have the will to punish powerful people- they argue.  In this case powerful sections of media, doctors and other actors active behind the scenes may be making a case to pressurize Prime Minister Imran Khan to let Nawaz go to London under a medical emergency, its being said.

Read more: Has Nawaz Sharif finally signed a deal with the establishment?

Interestingly, in Pakistan’s politics, ailment has become a new political tool to seek public sympathy and avoid all sort of inquiries and tough questions. From Dr. Asim to the former finance minister Ishaq Dar everyone used ailment card to avoid courts and to get public sympathy. It is considered an easy task to blackmail the simple-minded people on emotional grounds.

These are not the first instances that the opposition parties are using ‘illness’ to seek political concessions. In Pakistan, it has become a trend that influential people fall ill when they are arrested due to some illegal activities. Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Asif Saeed Khosa has once asked how everyone who was arrested by NAB fell ill and remarked that NAB should construct a state-of-the-art hospital to treat those people. He further said that some people were exploiting the law that allows prisoners with health problems to be transferred to a hospital. “It has become a regular practice,” he claimed. “Medical boards grant favours to people accused of crimes.” Justice Khosa was hearing Sharjeel Inam bail application on December 2017.

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