Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that he would not give NRO to the opposition as it would be a betrayal of the nation’s trust, soon after the Senate rejected the Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020. However, analysts are mulling over an intriguing question: Can PM Imran Khan give NRO? They believe that the premier is not the one to decide who will get an NRO or otherwise. In Pakistan, deals are discussed and signed behind the curtain, and the public is not informed about these deals. Rubbishing PM Khan’s stance, analysts argue that the opposition has already obtained a suitable deal.
Today in Senate the opposition defeated 2 critical FATF-related bills: Anti Money Laundering & ICT Waqf bills. From day one I have maintained that the self-serving interests of the opposition leaders & the country's interests are divergent. As accountability noose has tightened,
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 25, 2020
Taking to Twitter, the prime minister said that yesterday in Senate the opposition defeated two critical FATF-related bills, Anti Money Laundering and ICT Waqf bills. “From day one I have maintained that the self-serving interests of the opposition leaders and the country’s interests are divergent,” he said.
The prime minister said that as accountability noose has tightened, the opposition leaders have become desperate to save their corrupt money by trying to prevent parliament from functioning, by seeking to undermine government’s effective Covid-19 strategy – a recognized global success story – and now by trying to sabotage Pakistan efforts to exit FATF grey list.
“Opposition tries to hide behind the facade of democracy to protect their loot & plunder,” he said and added that to blackmail for NRO by defaming NAB, they would even have Pakistan put on FATF blacklist to destroy nation’s economy and increase poverty. “They keep threatening to bring down govt unless given NRO.”
Opposition tries to hide behind facade of democracy to protect their loot & plunder. To blackmail for NRO by defanging NAB, they would even have Pak put on FATF black list to destroy nation's economy & increase poverty. They keep threatening to bring down govt unless given NRO.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 25, 2020
The prime minister said that let him make clear that no matter what happens, my government would not allow any NRO as it would be a betrayal of the nation’s trust in holding plunderers of public wealth accountable. “Musharraf gave NROs to the two political leaders which quadrupled our debt and a destroyed economy. There will be no more NROs,” he concluded.
The remarks of the prime minister came after the opposition withdrew its support towards the government in ensuring passage of the anti-money laundering (second amendment) bill 2020 in the upper house of the Parliament.
The bill was tabled by Adviser to PM on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan and was rejected by the Senate, where opposition parties enjoy a majority.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has, on multiple occasions, made it clear that he would never allow any compromise, or a National Reconciliation Ordinance-like deal with the former premier Nawaz Sharif, and former President Asif Ali Zardari, amongst other opposition leaders facing corruption charges.
He recently said that he is satisfied with the proceedings of the accountability process, and maintained that for the first time in Pakistan’s history, the accountability system is not influenced by any political interference. He pledged that the accountability proceedings will continue, and the corrupt will be held accountable for plundering the nation’s wealth.
Can PM Imran Khan give NRO or NRO given?
There is a growing perception that Nawaz Sharif went to London after signing a deal with the establishment. Those who suspect a deal point towards the past. If the history of Pakistan is any witness to help then it may be true. No politically powerful person in Pakistan’s history has ever been punished in a court of law; convictions even if obtained in lower courts are almost always overturned by superior courts. The system simply does not have the will to punish powerful people- they argue.
Sheikh Rasheed, Federal Minister for Railways, on Sunday hinted at the possibility of some developments in the “ongoing negotiations for a deal” with the PML-N leadership. Sheikh Rasheed had said, “Shahbaz Sharif is back in the market, and he appears to be in a good position to bargain. Shahbaz is an expert when it comes to navigating his way through a complicated situation by engaging in dialogue.”
How Nawaz went to London?
It is important to note that the federal cabinet granted in-principle “conditional” approval to remove Nawaz’s name from the ECL. The government had asked the Sharif family to pay Rs.7 billion as surety bonds — equivalent to the fines imposed on him by an accountability court in two corruption cases Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield properties — in which he was convicted.
The PML-N leadership rejected the offer. While addressing a press conference after consultation meeting of senior party leaders in Lahore, Shehbaz Sharif said that the incumbent government of PTI wanted to take ransom from the Sharif family in the name of indemnity bond.
The Lahore High Court on Saturday (usually an off day) allowed former premier Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad for four weeks for medical treatment, saying the duration could be extended based on medical reports.
A two-judge bench, comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem, started hearing the petition at 11 am and after multiple breaks and back and forth, delivered the verdict close to 6 pm.
In the court-approved undertaking, Nawaz assured that he would return “within four weeks” ─ a time frame that was missing in the initial handwritten undertaking. The question can PM Imran Khan give NRO seems to have lost its worth as the available circumstantial evidence suggest that a deal might have been signed between Sharifs and the power that be.