News Analysis |
Nawaz Sharif, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, has once again hinted at the possibility of being sentenced to jail in the accountability cases, currently under scrutiny by Judge Muhammad Bashir. He has been advising his party workers to prepare for the upcoming elections. While addressing the senior leaders of the party in Lahore, the former premier expressed that he was unaware of his future in the next 10 to 20 days, affirming that his stance regarding purported ‘sanctity of vote’ would remain the same.
The remarks of Nawaz Sharif, against whom three corruption references have been filed, are not new since he has hinted the possibility of imprisonment on multiple occasions. Consequently, with the proceedings of accountability court nearing to an end, Nawaz Sharif’s disheartened commentary about his future speaks volumes about the bleak future of ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and especially the Sharif family.
With Nawaz Sharif’s observation in mind, Rana Sanaullah, the Law Minister of Punjab also expressed, on the same day, that the vote bank of PML-N will remain intact, even if the party’s ‘Quaid for life’ is sent behind bars. Rana Sanaullah went a mile more and noted that going to jail was a part of politics and falsely stated that this was not going to happen to Nawaz Sharif for the first time. The law minister, who is a close confidante of Shehbaz Sharif, the younger brother of Nawaz Sharif, declared that the party was fully prepared for the jail sentence.
Having this in mind, the accountability probe would end its proceedings in the first week of May and as per the expectations of Nawaz Sharif and legal experts, serious troubles are lying ahead for the Sharif family.
Nawaz Sharif’s speech on Saturday was not the first one in which he alluded to his murky future, as a consequence of of damaging documents submitted by the National Accountability Bureau. Nawaz Sharif, after appearing before the accountability court on April 11th, has expressed fears that the Adiala Jail was being readied for him.
During the first week of April, the elder Sharif vowed that he would lead the masses from behind bars. Nawaz Sharif, who has been casting aspirations over the accountability mechanism, especially in the Avenfield reference, claimed that people will respond to his call even if sent from behind bars. Besides Nawaz Sharif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the Prime Minister, also expressed in March, that Nawaz Sharif could lead the party from jail, while declaring the rumors of a jail sentence as a mere hypothesis.
Khaqan Abbasi, who was handpicked by Nawaz Sharif to be his successor, revealed in September last year and in the ongoing month, that he would execute the orders of Nawaz Sharif’s arrest if the accountability court orders to do so. Besides the first tier leaders, the firebrand minister for Railways, Khawaja Saad Rafique, has also expressed concerns that illicit efforts were being made to put Nawaz Sharif in jail. The apprehensive commentary of PML-N leaders, especially by Nawaz Sharif, confirms that troubling times are ahead for the embattled party.
Rana Sanaullah went a mile more and noted that going to jail was a part of politics and falsely stated that this was not going to happen to Nawaz Sharif for the first time.
The accountability court in Islamabad has received fresh documents by the anti-corruption watchdog, which implies that Nawaz Sharif was in possession of upscale London flats from the 1990s, contrary to Sharif family’s assertions that the flats were purchased in 2005-6. What exacerbates the situation for the Sharif family is the claims of Wajid Zia, head of six-member Joint Investigation team, insisting that Maryam Nawaz, former first daughter, submitted fake trust deeds before the Supreme Court. Maryam Nawaz’s submission of forged documents can also land her in jail for seven years because a three-member bench, constituted after the interim order in the Panama Papers Case, had categorically warned Sharif’s heirs in this regard.
What has sent shock waves across the ruling Sharif family is the fact that The National Accountability Bureau had sought two months extension, in the prescribed time period of six months, for winding up probe against the Sharif family. The request, made in March, was finally approved after NAB’s additional prosecutor, General Mohammad Akbar Tarar, asserted that the time period was enough.
Having this in mind, the accountability probe would end its proceedings in the first week of May and as per the expectations of Nawaz Sharif and legal experts, serious troubles are lying ahead for the Sharif family. After the bloodless coup of General Pervez Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif was able to flee the country after having spent 14 months in jail, however, the political dynamics and the reputation of Sharif family has altogether changed now. This suggests that the Sharifs might not be able to get off the hook this time, for which they are now preparing their party workers.