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Capt. Safdar’s arrest fiasco: A full dress rehearsal for Sharif’s arrival?

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News Analysis |

Captain (r) Safdar Awan, son-in-law of the ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has been taken into custody by a team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials in Rawalpindi on Sunday. Safdar made a mockery of the system before he surrendered. Three teams of the watchdog were fielded in three areas including Haripur, Abbottabad, and Mansehra to arrest Mr. Safdar. But he went underground since after the verdict of the accountability court.

On Sunday, in an audio message sent by the PML-N’s media cell to journalists, the embattled leader, who was in the run for election from the NA-14 constituency, said that he was willing to surrender because ‘honor’ demanded it. He then suddenly appeared in Rawalpindi along with hundreds of the party workers who were gathered to show sympathy for the former premier’s son-in-law. Safdar addressed and led the workers to Rawalpindi Road 6, to the party office.

The development of Pakistan’s democratic order is apparently in its infancy. It needs time, effort and political will to become a genuinely democratic and inclusive state. Moreover, rule of law and accountability across the board are the primary ingredients of any democratic-minded polity.

Safdar told his party workers that he would surrender himself to authorities today because “honour demands it”. The decision for him to turn himself in, after he was sentenced to one year in jail for abetment in the Avenfield reference, was made by the party’s leadership, he further said.

Judge Muhammad Bashir also handed a 10-year sentence and £8 million (Rs1.29 billion) to Nawaz Sharif. He also sentenced Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, to seven years in jail for forgery and making assets through illegal sources in the landmark decision. She has been ordered to pay a fine of £2 million (Rs320 million).

Read more: Has Captain Safdar shown the real face of PML-N?

Maryam Nawaz Praised her Husband Last Night

Safdar’s wife and PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz praised him for “bravely” surrendering to NAB. “Safdar sahib is a soldier of Mian [Nawaz Sharif] sahib. I am happy that he has offered his arrest bravely, like a lion,” she told reporters.

Captain Safdar; A New Defender of Democracy

Captain Safdar is an interesting character who is known for his objectionable remarks about religious minorities in the country. Former premier’s son-in-law was very outspoken with regards to anti-Ahmediya sentiments in Lahore and other cities of the country. But all of sudden, like his father-in-law, Safdar too has become a ‘champion of democracy’. A person who had been convicted by Ahtesab court managed to gather hundreds of people, to challenge the decision of the court.

Read more: Ahsan Iqbal regrets Safdar’s hate speech but will the PML-N take…

The development of Pakistan’s democratic order is apparently in its infancy. It needs time, effort and political will to become a genuinely democratic and inclusive state. Moreover, rule of law and accountability across the board are the primary ingredients of any democratic-minded polity. Those who try to evade accountability and do not prefer to establish the rule of law cannot be called democratic.