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Fawad vs Shahbaz: Who is afraid of accountability?


News Analysis |

The leader of opposition Mr. Shahbaz Sharif who is in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for alleged misuse of authority when he was chief minister of Punjab was produced in the NA after the speaker Asad Qaisar ordered to bring him in the assembly. He thanked the speaker for keeping party politics aside and passing the order of his production.

It is worth mentioning here that the PML-N president was arrested by NAB on last Friday in the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case and was produced before accountability court Judge Najm-ul-Hasan. The court granted a 10-day physical remand of Shahbaz to NAB.

No matter how much noise they make, this process will not be halted as it will be a public loss.

Moreover, former CM Punjab bashed the NAB and the current government for allegedly being the two sides of the same coin. The PML-N president clearly said that there was “an unholy alliance between the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)”.

He also regretted that it was the first time that the elected leader of the opposition was arrested in such a manner and that too without any charge.” “PTI and NAB work closely,” Mr. Sharif alleged without providing any evidence. Shahbaz Sharif also said that Mr. Khan was the outcome of rigging and the by-polls had proven that the present government did not enjoy popular support across the country.

Read more: Shahbaz Sharif: Trapped in his own cobweb

He was alluding to recent by-elections whereby the PTI remained unable to perform well. But analysts give credit to the PTI for being in the government and not controlling the electoral process. As a matter of fact, this happened for the first time in the history of Pakistan.

Government Counters Shahbaz Sharif

As Shahbaz concluded his speech, Law Minister Farogh Naseem took to the floor and said, “I would like to remind the opposition leader that prejudiced matters cannot be discussed in the National Assembly. Any case ongoing in the court cannot be discussed here as this is not a court of law and cannot decide whether NAB’s inquiry is legal or not.”

As a matter of fact, all these apprehensions expressed by PM Khan are becoming reality as demonstrated by the opposition leaders.

Dismissing Shahbaz’s claim that his arrest was a combined act of the NAB and the PTI-led government, Naseem said, “NAB has the power to arrest whether the issue is pending or not. The accountability bureau is an independent institution and did what it did without any interference from the government.”

Moreover, Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry also countered the opposition leader and reminded him that the current NAB Chairman was appointed by none other than the PML-N and PPP. “The accountability process was not initiated by us nor are we interfering in it,” he said. “No matter how much noise they make, this process will not be halted as it will be a public loss.”

Read more: NAB vs Shahbaz – The Ultimate Royal Rumble! – Maleeha Hashmey

The minister has, however, offered to hold talks with the opposition for amending the NAB laws. Prime Minister Imran Khan made it clear during his maiden speech to the nation that whenever powerful and corrupt people would be brought before the law there will be propaganda against the government. A narrative would also be established as if the democracy was under threat, he added.

Similar observations have been made by the information minister. He maintained that the government was facing and would face more challenges by the political opponents for allowing the NAB to independently conduct inquiries into financial matters of those who had been holding the public offices. As a matter of fact, all these apprehensions expressed by PM Khan are becoming reality as demonstrated by the opposition leaders.

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