News Analysis |
Former President and Co-Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Asif Ali Zardari has demanded the immediate arrest of ousted premier Nawaz Sharif and his family in order for them to face accountability the way he did. Zardari said this on Friday, hours after Nawaz Sharif was indicted in his third graft reference pertaining to the Flagship Investments, after being indicted in two references on Thursday.
The indictment has not only compounded the legal problems but news of rifts and dissent within the PML-N have also surfaced. A forward block is shaping up in Punjab while the senior federal minister, Riaz Pirzada has also called upon CM Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif to take over the reins of the party. In this backdrop, Zardari’s tirade against the family will add to the pressure.
Despite backchannel efforts to bring Zardari and Nawaz on the same page, seemingly, the former is not willing to lend support to whom once he called his ‘bara bhai’. There are two schools of thought on the future of ties between the two parties
Zardari categorically said that his party would not accept any double standards in how he and Sharif will be treated while facing accountability. Noting the difference, Zardari said that while it took him two and a half years to get bail, Nawaz and his family get bails quickly, besides getting VIP protocols. He said it was a custom to “arrest us and send us to jail first before even looking at our cases”. He also said that he was taken to different places for investigations and trials while adding that the Sharifs should be meted out with a similar treatment.
Read more: Nawaz wants Martial Law: Zardari
The PPP and PML-N have enjoyed an indifferent relationship since the past 9 years; the brief period when both were coalition partners and later parted ways. However, despite opposing each other, both never went the full throttle against each other. Analysts, critics, and opponents have often termed their ties as part of the Muk Mukka politics, where both parties will save each other in the garb of saving democracy. This narrative is especially propagated by cricket-legend-turned-politician, Imran Khan.
The PPP and PML-N have enjoyed an indifferent relationship since the past 9 years; the brief period when both were coalition partners and later parted ways. However, despite opposing each other, both never went the full throttle against each other
Zardari has so far steered clear of extricating Nawaz from the muck that he is in. He has clearly ramped up his criticism of the former premier. Earlier this month, the 62-year old said that Nawaz wants to invoke Martial Law by continuing his confrontational politics; this assertion is echoed by others too. Even voices within the PML-N including Shahbaz Sharif has warned against an institutional clash.
Read more: Egoistic Nawaz replicates the Benazir case of 1998
Despite backchannel efforts to bring Zardari and Nawaz on the same page, seemingly, the former is not willing to lend support to whom once he called his ‘bara bhai’. There are two schools of thought on the future of ties between the two parties. One believes that the threat of Imran Khan’s brazen politics is enough to bring them on the same page; the other is of the opinion that Zardari, seeing that it is almost end of the line for the Sharif may stay away from saving a sinking ship.
It would be intriguing to see how rifts in the PML-N, the political future of Imran Khan and Sharifs’ accountability will affect how Zardari changes his tact regarding the PML-N especially the Sharif family.