News Analysis |
Shebaz Sharif, the Chief Minister of Punjab, seems to have been roiled by the activism of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Supreme Court in recent times, prompting him to criticize the institutions simultaneously.Addressing a gathering on Tuesday, the President of ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) expressed that the Supreme Court was taking notice of every irrelevant detail.
Besides the top court, Shehbaz Sharif also lashed out at the anti-corruption body and welcomed its activism, but also warned that he would not allow any bias in this regard.The 66-years-old politician expressed that NAB was scanning some of the issues with tough scrutiny, but was ignoring other corrupt practices.
PPP government lashed out at the central government for using NAB to ‘black mail’ some of the top leaders of the second largest party in the country.
Shehbaz Sharif also expressed that the sun of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was shining over Punjab.The younger Sharif also fired a broadside at those who got their loans written off, declaring it the biggest crime, ignoring that Barrister Zafarullah had expressed before Mian Saqib Nisar, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, that Nawaz Sharif was among those individuals who got their loans written off.
The Chief Minister, in his traditional style, expressed that he should be held accountable provided an iota of corruption is proven against him.The outburst of Sharif family against the top court and national Accountability Bureau is not something new.Nawaz Sharif, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, has been casting aspirations over the accountability process initiated against him. The former premier had categorically declared that the judges were harboring a grudge against him.
Nawaz Sharif, who was disqualified by a five-member bench in the Panama Papers Case, had also declared that dictatorship was prevalent in Pakistan under the leadership of the Chief Justice, Mian Saqib Nisar.Moreover, Maryam Nawaz, the former first daughter, also slams the top judge and the Supreme Court sporadically as she decries the Panama Papers judgment to this day.
With this in mind, Shehbaz Sharif’s statement might appear to be a repetition; however, it is also of prominence that the Chief Minister of Punjab has never been so vocal against NAB and Supreme Court in recent times.Shehbaz Sharif, along with his close confidante and former Federal Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has been advising the top leadership of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz not to engage in conflict with the superior judiciary.
Addressing a gathering on Tuesday, the President of ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) expressed that the Supreme Court was taking notice of every irrelevant detail.
Recently, when around 45 workers of the party were arrested in Kasur, near the eastern city of Lahore, for anti-judiciary and abusive comments, Shehbaz Sharif had clarified that he would not allow such type of commentary.Moreover, Nawaz Sharif had slammed the top judge for inspecting hospitals; however, Shehbaz Sharif had welcomed the move when Mian Saqib Nisar made his first visit to Mayo Hospital in December 2017.
The reason behind the stance of Shehbaz Sharif could be the recent cases taken up by the top judge.Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar now spends two of his days at the Lahore Registry of the Supreme Court and listens to public complaints besides visiting state-owned facilities.
He is also hearing a suo moto case regarding the establishment of 56 private companies in Punjab, formed by Chief Minister Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif.The top judge had categorically remarked that the said companies were formed to facilitate relatives.Mian Saqib Nisar also ordered the officials, linked with the companies, to pay back the extra salaries they were receiving.
Another reason that could have prompted Shehbaz Sharif to take a tough stance regarding NAB is the detention of Ahad Cheema, the former Director of Lahore Development Authority. Cheema is also considered a close confidante of Shehbaz Sharif and had a say in major development projects in Lahore, however, his actions regarding the Ashiana scheme and Paragon City landed him in jail.
Shehbaz Sharif’s son-in-law, Ali Imran, has also appeared for multiple times before the National Accountability Bureau regarding an inquiry against the former chief financial officer of Punjab Power Development Company Limited and others.Not only that, the top judge has also ordered Pakistan Railways to conduct a complete audit and submit a report regarding the losses incurred, in a span of six weeks.
Shehbaz Sharif’s statement might appear to be a repetition; however, it is also of prominence that the Chief Minister of Punjab has never been so vocal against NAB and Supreme Court in recent times
Shehbaz Sharif’s anger is well justified considering his fragile position in many of the cases. Though he is not being summoned by NAB and Supreme Court in corruption cases, even then his family members and other officials are facing a tough time to defend their position, prompting Shehbaz Sharif to issue a stern warning against both the institutions.
Similar criticism against state institutions was witnessed when NAB carried out its activities in Sindh. PPP government lashed out at the central government for using NAB to ‘black mail’ some of the top leaders of the second largest party in the country. At that time, neither the ousted premier, nor the incumbent Punjab Chief Minister uttered a single word against anti-graft bureau.
The recent outburst by the leader of Pakistan’s ruling party indicate that it is under huge pressure and is relying on multiple tactics to ease the pressure on it which is only expected to increase in coming weeks and months.