News Analysis |
Nawaz Sharif’s GT Road rally had entered its third day on Friday; it culminated in a somewhat impressive show of strength from Gujranwala onwards. However earlier in the day, a 12-year old boy Hamid died after being crushed by one of the cars in Nawaz Sharif’s motorcade. Nawaz was not in the BMW car, though tv footages show him leaving in the same vehicle from Islamabad, so someone close and important was in that vehicle. The cavalcade – of Nawaz and close associates – which also included well equipped mobile ambulances did not stop; Hamid, the injured child that could have been saved, succumbed to injuries. His father, on hearing the news of his death, developed a heart attack and lost consciousness. TV screens showed the distraught mother screaming and cursing the disqualified premier, Nawaz Sharif. This event will continue to haunt Nawaz’s politics in the days to come.
One that their martyr narrative has become less appealing. If anything, the optics of a blood-riddled child laying on a street while Sharif’s state-of-the-art ambulances were passing
Accidents do happen on road. But accidents impose human, civic and legal responsibilities. Eyewitnesses and relatives told media that the entourage didn’t stop as the child was draped in blood. Nawaz apologists do point, to a video footage, that shows a black vehicle stopping a few feet behind the body of the child. But this vehicle appears to be the vehicle that was coming after. The vehicle that actually crushed the child never stopped. In any case, no one stopped to offer any help. Police never stopped or chased any VIP.
In any part of the world, not stopping for police after such an accident will have serious legal consequences. For a politician it will certainly be the end of political career. But in this case, pedestrians and onlookers took the child to a hospital in a rickshaw. Child had died before any medical help could be given. After his death, no representative of the ruling party went and condoled the tragic demise. Several hours after the incident, ruling party’s MNA/MPA were seen influencing the police while FIR was being registered.
Despite the immediate media and national uproar, PML-N top men showed little remorse. Nawaz apologists were found arguing that incident is being exaggerated by media. PMLN supporters on social media made callous comments treating the death as a routine matter. Railway Minister Saad Rafique expressed his sympathies for the bereaved but astoundingly called the 12-year old the first martyr in their struggle. He said:” The first martyr of this struggle, which is aimed at bringing the supremacy of law and justice to everyone in the country.”
Capt. Safdar (retd) Nawaz Sharif’s tainted son-in-law (against whom supreme court has sent references to NAB for trial) was rather nonchalant in equating the death with the sacrifices rendered by the people during partition. He said:”Seven lac people had sacrificed their lives during Pakistan’s creation.” He added the dead child to those sacrifices.
Later it came to light that the boy was crushed by BMW SS-875.It was the very car in which Nawaz Sharif started his excursion from Islamabad
The event was cautiously admitted by pro-government media houses. PML-N leader, Rana Sanaullah, Punjab’s law minister, responsible for all administrative control in Pakistan’s largest province, and technically responsible for law enforcement, rejected the notion that the child was hit by a vehicle of the cavalcade. Questions remain:why the procession of cars didn’t stop especially when ambulances in the convoy were adequate enough to save the innocent soul; why no police case was registered then and there? why police did not stop the vehicle that trampled the boy? Most media observers and opposition leaders considered it a criminal negligence, taking a dig at the apathy of the ruling for a common man’s life.
— SAMAA TV (@SAMAATV) August 11, 2017
The deposed former premier Nawaz Sharif called Hamid as a martyred worker of the league; this led to criticism galore. Sharif – in what might appear heartless to any neutral person – also called him a person who sacrificed his life for the establishment of actual democracy in the country. While the relatives of the deceased were hard, against a reluctant police, to register a FIR, Nawaz was seen having a scrumptious dinner in Gujranwala.
While the relatives of the deceased were trying tooth and nail to register a FIR, Nawaz was seen having a scrumptious dinner in Gujranwala
Later tv footages revealed that the boy was crushed by BMW SS-875.It was the very car in which Nawaz Sharif started his excursion from Islamabad. Whether Nawaz was inside the vehicle or some close associate is not known. But the fact that the vehicle neither stopped, nor police stopped it raises difficult questions. These questions will continue to haunt public and Nawaz’s politics.
— Nazia Memon (@NaziaMemon01) August 11, 2017
If the entire event is replayed, it will exert pressure on the handlers of the rally. As evident from the footage, the child was hit by a vehicle of the caravan; the convoy didn’t stop and the hapless child lost his life. Add the fact that attempts are being made to tinker with the FIR, the PML-N has put itself in trouble. One that their martyr narrative has become less appealing. If anything, the optics of a blood-riddled child laying on a street while Sharif’s state-of-the-art ambulances were passing by are dangerous for the already-bruised Sharifs. Perhaps, it may go on to haunt him, the Sharif family and the PML-N