Home News Analysis Nawaz is back to Kot Lakhpat: PML-N has formally launched Maryam Nawaz

Nawaz is back to Kot Lakhpat: PML-N has formally launched Maryam Nawaz

Kot Lakhpat

News Analysis |

Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minster of Pakistan, has finally returned back to Kot Lakhpat jail. Nawaz left his Jati Umra residence in Lahore for jail with a procession of PML-N workers led by Maryam Nawaz around 8:30 pm on Tuesday 7 May. The procession was attended by all senior PML-N leaders including; Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Khawaja Asif, Pervaiz Malik, Javaid Hashmi and other top tier party leaders.

Justice Khosa remarked that Nawaz was given six weeks for medical treatment, but it seemed he had spent the entire time in tests alone.

Although the PML-N supremo was meant to reach the prison before 6pm as per jail manuals, senior leaders claimed he need only to reach there before midnight. However, his motorcade progressed slowly due to the traffic jam caused by the supporters. He eventually reached the jail around 12:15 am. A heavy contingent of police was deployed on the road adjoining the jail. Special permission was granted to open the jail to let him in at that time.

Read more: Law vs. Politics: What future holds for Nawaz Sharif?

Completion of Nawaz’s six-week exceptional leave for bail on health grounds

On March 26, 2019, Nawaz was granted sa ix-weeks bail on health grounds for treatment anywhere in Pakistan. On May 3, he approached the court to extend his bail and let him go abroad for his treatment yet the court turned down his plea and ordered him to surrender before the authorities on May 7. Justice Khosa remarked that Nawaz was given six weeks for medical treatment, but it seemed he had spent the entire time in tests alone.

Nawaz left his Jati Umra residence in Lahore for jail with a procession of PML-N workers led by Maryam Nawaz around 8:30 pm on Tuesday 7 May.

The rally to return to Lakhpat jail yesterday was organized by PML-N lawmakers to show-off street power and to convey a message to the sitting government that the support base of the former ruling party is still intact. There are media reports that the PML-N MPAs were directed to bring political workers along with them and prepare Iftar for them as well to ensure a good show-out for the rally.

Read more: Nawaz, Shahbaz, Hamza on same page

Media’s Perspective

Political commentators believe that the rally was organized to formally launch Maryam Nawaz who has recently been made vice president of the party. Maryam was leading the rally and updating her followers on Twitter about it. Dr. Moeed Pirzada tweeted “PMLN definitely deserves Nobel Prize in “Sales & Marketing” It has turned Nawaz’s surrender to jail into a victory parade! But its also a hopeless comment on mental level of politics & common sense in Pakistan”.

Some analysts and public intellectuals believe that “Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif is back to jail. #KotLakhpatJail #KotLakhpatWelcomesBaoJi. Wasted the relief given by Court, wasted a political opportunity to get things sorted out for him.”

Raza Rumi, journalist and prominent columnist, noted that the support base of the PML-N in Punjab is intact.  He said that “Former PM Nawaz Sharif returns to jail with a sizeable crowd of supporters. That his support base is intact is a fact. But mainstream media blackout of this rally is simply shameful. It is only through social media that we know about the past few hours in Lahore.”

TV channels showed the rally extensively – so it is not clear why Raza Rumi, who currently lives in the USA thought there was a blackout.

PTI slams PML-N for Glorifying a Convicted Criminal

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that former Premier Nawaz Sharif should not be ‘promoted’ as he is not a suspect but a convicted criminal who was sentenced to jail by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Addressing to a conference, she said it is unfortunate to see that a convict is going back to jail with such pomp and show by his party. She said in civilized societies convicted persons are not glorified, adding that glorifying the convicted person is tantamount to committing the same crime.

Read more: Nawaz not getting off easy: Bail plea hearing adjourned

“Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is promoting him like he has won a World Cup in corruption.” She added. Firdous expressed that he should be ashamed rather than going back to jail in such grandeur. “If he feels like taking the corruption World Cup trophy back with him to jail, we do not mind”, she said.

It is also believed that Shahbaz Sharif former CM Punjab and President of the PML-N did not return to Pakistan as he did not want to attend the rally. Sources claim that Shahbaz Sharif does not want to confront the establishment and that Maryam and Nawaz have taken another path. Well-placed sources also claim that there is a tense situation in Sharif family where Nawaz and Shahbaz have completely different positions and want to follow contrasting narratives. However, Hamza Shahbaz driving the car was seen as an attempt to show unity in the family.

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