Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday has said that he was shocked to hear Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif directly accusing military leadership during his speech in Pakistan Democratic Movement‘s (PDM) Gujranwala rally.
In an interview with BBC, the PPP leader said that taking names of military leaders was Nawaz Sharif’s personal choice. It was decided in the PDM agenda to use the ‘establishment’ word and not to take the name of any national institution, he said.
The statement sparked a debate in the civil-military circles. Many quarters termed the statement as ‘negative’ but many quarters also criticized the PPP for not taking a clear stand like the PML-N.
PPP chairman also added while preparing the PDM agenda, PML-N or any other party did not mention the name of any military leader.
Nawaz Sharif blamed the COAS and DG ISI for ousting him through ‘controlling and dictating the courts’. It was not for the first time that Nawaz slammed the security establishment for ‘political engineering’. On September 20, he claimed that then DG ISI approached him and asked him to step-down.
However, former DG ISI, retired Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam, has said he never asked for the resignation of former premier and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in 2014. “I never sent anyone to convey any such message to [Nawaz], this is absolutely wrong,” he said while speaking to The News.
Nawaz’s received mixed reactions. Prominent anchorperson Rauf Klasra revealed that “I spoke with some senior PML-N leaders and they are shocked to watch Nawaz vilifying the army”.
He also that the senior leadership of the party now thinks that “we may not be able to do politics in this situation”.
There is also another view that if the current army chief was behind Nawaz’s removal as the prime minister then why did his party vote to grant an extension to the same person? Does it imply that a deal was underway but some unexpected circumstances led Nawaz to vilify the establishment?
Why was Nawaz disqualified?
It is important to mention here that on April 20, 2017, the Supreme Court of Pakistan issued orders in the Panamagate case and directed the formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the Sharif family’s financial affairs.
FIA’s Additional Director General Wajid Zia, a grade 21 officer, was appointed as head of the probe team. The JIT consisted of Amer Aziz of the State Bank of Pakistan, Executive Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan Bilal Rasool, National Accountability Bureau Director Irfan Naeem Mangi, Brig Muhammad Nauman Saeed of the Inter-Services Intelligence and Brig Kamran Khurshid of the Military Intelligence.
On the basis of the JIT report, SC on July 28, 2017, disqualified Nawaz Sharif for not being honest and truthful. The court stated that “it is hereby declared that having failed to disclose his un-withdrawn receivables, constituting assets from Capital FZE Jebel Ali, UAE in his nomination papers filed for the General Elections held in 2013 in terms of Section 12(2)(f) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 (ROPA), and having furnished a false declaration under solemn affirmation respondent No. 1, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is not honest in terms of Section 99(f) of ROPA and Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and therefore he is disqualified to be a Member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)”.
The bench further said that on the basis of this information, collected by the JIT, cases should be opened against then Finance Minister Ishaq Dar; then MNA Captain Muhammad Safdar; Maryam, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, and the ousted premier, Nawaz Sharif.