Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has agreed to attend the upcoming All Parties Conference (APC) of the Opposition parties via video link. According to a report published in The Express Tribune, senior PML-N leaders have confirmed the development.
PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had on Friday disclosed on his social media that he had invited Sharif to virtually attend the upcoming conference. Political analysts, commenting on the news, opine that if Nawaz attends the APC, his legal troubles might increase.
The Islamabad High Court had earlier this month asked Sharif to surrender before the court in late September after his bail expired. However, Sharif had submitted a plea seeking exemption from appearance in court on health grounds.
In his message, Bilawal said on his Twitter handle that he had spoken to the PML-N supremo to inquire after his health. He added that he had invited Sharif to virtually attend the moot to be hosted by the PPP on September 20 (Sunday).
Just spoke to Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif. Enquired about his health. Also invited him to virtually attend opposition APC, hosted by PPP, on 20th September.
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) September 18, 2020
This was quickly responded to by PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, who appreciated Bilawal for his gesture. Maryam Nawaz also confirmed that Nawaz’s address was likely to be live-streamed on social media platforms.
After Nawaz left for London last year, the former ruling party’s consistent position has remained that “he is unwell and needs to stay in the UK for his treatment”.
Medical reports, though allegedly fabricated or manufactured, have also been furnished before the Punjab government and courts. Notably, Nawaz’s medical reports were rejected not only by the government, but also by the IHC.
Nawaz’s lawyer repeatedly argued that the former premier was not well and could not travel as per the advice of his doctors. PML-N leaders also slammed the government for not taking Nawaz’s health seriously.
Thank you Bilawal. Warm regards & prayers. https://t.co/pl5P6CmR1Z
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) September 18, 2020
We are doing that Insha’Allah. https://t.co/Cnw5njHJoc
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) September 19, 2020
Sharif is a proclaimed offender, rules IHC
A few days ago, an accountability court declared Nawaz Sharif proclaimed offender in the Toshakhana vehicles reference, initiated the process to confiscate his properties and directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to make his arrest through Interpol.
A two-member division bench, comprising Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, had issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Nawaz on Tuesday during a hearing of appeals against a sentence by the accountability court in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference.
In a brief ruling, IHC’s Justice Kayani remarked that the PML-N supremo neither underwent a surgery, despite citing it as a reason behind obtaining bail to travel to the United Kingdom, nor was he admitted to a hospital.
The Registrar’s Office of the Islamabad High Court has sent a non-bailable arrest warrant for former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the foreign secretary in light of the court’s orders to ensure his presence in court.
— Siddique Jan (@SdqJaan) September 19, 2020
The new don in London
There is a growing perception on Pakistani social media that Nawaz is the new Altaf Hussain – MQM-L’s chief who controlled Karachi and spread violence while staying in London, with an ambition to control Pakistan while sitting in the UK.
Some people are comparing the case of Nawaz Sharif with that of Altaf Hussain. Both Nawaz and Altaf are controlling Pakistan politics from London, and there are several other similarities between the two, according to reports.
Altaf Hussain, a leader of MQM-London, who is now not allowed to appear on TV screens, is not allowed to carry out political activities in Pakistan due to a series of anti-Pakistan comments he had made a few years ago.
Altaf Hussain, in a video message posted on MQM-L’s official social media platforms on 23rd March 2017, requested Indian help to regain control of Karachi, the business capital of Pakistan.
A QUESTION OF LAW: I understand that anyone who has been declared an absconder by Pakistani law cannot shown on Pak TV or his statements telecast. Examples Altaf Hussain, Ishaq Dar. So how will Nawaz Sharif be different. Is he becoming a NEW NAWAZ BHAI in London? https://t.co/FVUH2vWkv2
— SHAHEEN SEHBAI (@SSEHBAI1) September 18, 2020
Karachi has witnessed a spate of violence and acute law and order situation since the 1990s. Several people were killed, looted, exploited or made criminals for the political interests of Altaf Hussain, argue many political experts.
However, during the last government of PPP, the Pakistan Rangers were given the task to restore peace and order in Karachi. The situation has improved significantly in recent months as the state regains control of the metropolis.
Pakistan has also arrested Indian spy Commander Kulbhushan Yadav, whose codename was Hussain Mubarak Patel from Balochistan, and who later admitted that his job was to meet people in Karachi and Balochistan and spread violence.
Some experts fear that Nawaz may assume the role of Altaf Hussain and encourage his followers to come in the streets to topple the present government. Inside sources told GVS that the party is planning to organize protests against the government in the coming months.
Before that, the PML-N workers attacked the NAB Lahore office. Many of them have been indicted by the courts and other were able to secure pre-arrest bails. There is a perception that the leader who is sitting outside Pakistan may encourage disruption and instability in Pakistan.
There is a precedent in this regard as well. Many accuse Sharif of masterminding an attack on the Supreme Court of Pakistan back in the 1990s. The case of Gullu Butt, a notorious PML-N political worker who was caught on camera destroying public property, also speaks of the violent tendencies of the PML-N.
PTI leaders getting frustrated
Analysts believe that as Nawaz Sharif went to London, his party in Pakistan based their political narrative on two basic premises; PTI’s government mistreated ailing Nawaz and this could have led to some unexpected outcomes, and Nawaz won’t come back to Pakistan unless he is well and allowed to travel.
Sources inside the PTI government told GVS that a few ministers and the premier were of the view that the party’s narrative on accountability is getting compromised as Nawaz is enjoying coffee and walks in London.
Nawaz’s speech is likely to create more frustration in the ruling party where some leaders have already expressed their reservations on the premier’s decision to let Nawaz leave for London.