News Analysis |
Former Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif–who has been at the hospital– wants to go back to jail, said his daughter on Tuesday. According to local media reports, Ms. Maryam Safdar visited her father at Services Hospital, Lahore. “Nawaz Sharif doesn’t want to stay in the hospital and wants to go back to jail,” she said while speaking to reporters. Mr. Sharif was shifted to the Services Hospital, Lahore from the Kot Lakhpat Jail on Feb 2 on the recommendations of a special medical board constituted by the Punjab government to examine his health condition.
The medical board had sent the report to the provincial home ministry, urging the Punjab government to shift the ousted PM to a hospital. Sharif has reportedly developed cardiac complications.
Many Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders earlier stated that their leader was not being given due care and protocol in the hospital but government officials rejected all such claims. Punjab Information Minister Mr. Fayazul Hasan Chohan said Mr. Nawaz Sharif had been given complete protocol [in his detention]. He said Mr. Sharif’s medical report would soon come out and it had no serious indicators regarding his health. “Only a stone is detected in his kidney,” he added.
This has created an anti-PML-N perception. Political experts maintain that the deal will cost much and both establishment and PTI do not afford it at this juncture of history.
It is worth mentioning here that Nawaz Sharif was sent to jail by an accountability court last year after he was found guilty of corrupt practices in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference. The court also imposed a fine of Rs1.5 billion and $25 million on Mr. Sharif — a total of Rs5bn. A disqualification of 10 years from holding any public office is part of the sentences awarded to the former PM and will come into effect following his release from jail after serving the seven-year sentence.
Since in Pakistan sickness is used for political reasons, therefore, the case of the former prime minister has also become a matter of public debate. Many analysts in media believe that Mr. Sharif has signed a deal with the establishment and is likely to leave for London in a few days. But some observers completely reject such speculations and maintain that there is no deal between the establishment and embattled Nawaz.
To back their claims, they quote Prime Minister Imran Khan who has repeatedly said that the purpose of his presence in the PM office was to ensure the rule of law and eliminate all extra-legal methods used to attain political ends. Therefore, signing a deal with a convicted corrupt politician will damage the credibility of PM Khan. It is also added that the presence of Mr. Sharif in Pakistan is no longer a threat to the establishment or the PTI itself.
As a matter of fact, public support is increasingly lessening since the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has filed references against many of the leaders of former ruling party for misuse of authority and alleged corruption. This has created an anti-PML-N perception. Political experts maintain that the deal will cost much and both establishment and PTI do not afford it at this juncture of history.
Some political commentators believe that the former ruling party wants to exploit the public sentiment over the health condition of Mr. Sharif and therefore there are different tactics being used to seek ‘sympathy’.
Opposition leaders have also rejected claims about the deal and have argued that Mr. Sharif is to stay here and will soon come out of the prison. Mr. Pervez Rasheed, a prominent PML-N leader, and former Federal Minister, also said that his party has not signed any deal with the government. “Mr. Sharif will be soon with all of us,” he added.
Moreover, there has been a war of words between the PML-N leaders who claim Mr. Sharif is not so well and the government ministers who maintain that medical reports of the former PM suggest his health conditions are not too bad. Some political commentators believe that the former ruling party wants to exploit the public sentiment over the health condition of Mr. Sharif and therefore there are different tactics being used to seek ‘sympathy’.
In a state of uncertainty, the government is yet to decide whether Mr. Sharif shall remain in the hospital or in prison?