Advertisement

The cowardice of Sharif

Had this speech been delivered in Lahore to a crowd gathered at Minar-e-Pakistan, the situation would have been entirely different, and some people might have termed it as an act of courage. But using a foreign land for the speech was indeed a display of cowardice.  

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Those who have read William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar are familiar with Brutus who killed Caesar, not because he loved him less but because he loved Rome more. Caesar, looking helplessly towards his trusted Roman senator, who also became one of his assassins, said, ‘Et tu Brute?’ Nawaz Sharif addressed the PDM jalsa in Gujranwala by video link from London and accused the army chief, General Qamar Bajwa and ISI chief Lt. General Faiz Hameed of rigging the 2018 elections. He also accused them of removing his government, muzzling the media, pressurizing the judiciary, and victimizing opposition politicians.

It seems there is a group in the PML (N) waiting eagerly for a ‘Brutus’. This group is ready to part ways with the PML (N) supremo not because they love him less but because they love Pakistan more. As such, they just cannot afford to take the weight of his statements of directly accusing the national security establishment of orchestrating his ouster and bringing Imran Khan to power.

As per what his younger brother promised, he should be courageous enough to come back to his people to serve them.

Had this speech been delivered in Lahore to a crowd gathered at Minar-e-Pakistan, the situation would have been entirely different, and some people might have termed it as an act of courage. But using a foreign land for the speech was indeed a display of cowardice.

Read more: Is PDM a product of poor governance?

Interestingly enough, on 24th August, 2016, the nation witnessed a similar situation when the MQM supremo, Altaf Hussain made an anti-Pakistan speech, persuading his loyal companion Farooq Sattar to make a dramatic statement about disassociating himself from the party in London, saying that from now onwards, all decisions would be made by party members in Pakistan. “What else do I need to say to elaborate the minus-one formula more,” he remarked. Needless to add that, in fact, their loyalty to their country forced them to part ways with Altaf Husain. The London Metropolitan Police later confirmed that he had been charged in connection with a speech he had made to supporters in Pakistan in August 2016.

A coward boasting of his courage may deceive strangers, but he is a laughingstock for those who know him

From his base in London, Altaf Hussain used to address supporters of the MQM via telephone. His messages were relayed to crowds by loudspeaker. Incidentally, this time too, the base was London. Only the character had changed. It used to be Altaf Hussain and now it was Nawaz Sharif and he was on a video link. As such, Sharif also deserved the same treatment. The modus operandi of Nawaz seems to be quite like Altaf Hussain’s earlier days when he controlled his following in Karachi, Hyderabad and other places from London. This was not the first time that Nawaz had gone after the military leadership; during the opposition’s multiparty conference in October, Nawaz had bitterly criticized the army, saying there was “a state above the state in the country”.

A tale of cowardice 

The sad fact is that Nawaz Sharif’s entire political history is a tale of cowardice. In 2000, he fled to Saudi Arabia after signing a deal with the military ruler. This, of course, could not be termed as forced exile and was, hence, an act of cowardice.  The October 17, 2007 SC verdict said: “The former prime minister’s release from prison and his journey to Saudi Arabia after getting a presidential pardon due to an undertaking could not be described as forced exile.”

Courage is a key to leadership. Aristotle called courage the first virtue, because it makes all the other virtues possible. Is Nawaz Sharif aware of that?

Nawaz Sharif’s recent exile to London has some similarity with that of his escape to Saudi Arabia. According to a report published in the days of his escapade to Saudi Arabia, an English language daily, had carried a story a few days prior to the deal. Begum Kulsoom Nawaz was reported to be creating an atmosphere for the Sharifs’ departure abroad by saying that her husband was suffering from high blood pressure and needed treatment. As such, either he should be provided proper treatment at home or the family should be allowed to take him abroad at their own expense.

Read more: PDM is upping the ante in its mission to overthrow Imran Khan’s government

This time too, Nawaz Sharif could leave Pakistan because he was diagnosed with an immune system disorder. His departure came after the interior ministry issued a notification, allowing the former prime minister to travel abroad for medical treatment, saying that the decision was an “interim arrangement” considering the LHC’s order. In its notification, the ministry reproduced the undertaking provided by Shahbaz Sharif, which stated that he would “ensure return” of his brother “within four weeks or on certification by doctors that he has regained his health and is fit to return to Pakistan”.

Now, with his return to active politics with a big bang, Nawaz Sharif appears fit enough to actually fulfill his promise of returning to the country. As per what his younger brother promised, he should be courageous enough to come back to his people to serve them. But it is obvious that he is not brave. Even in the past, he was not seen as being used to facing hardships and accountability, all at the same time. He preferred to be pardoned and quietly leave the country, abandoning his party members to a life of suffering under military rule. An existence of exile abroad has also been a convenient option for him.  The historical record of his saga of cowardice cannot be forgotten so easily. A coward boasting of his courage may deceive strangers, but he is a laughingstock for those who know him.

Courage is a key to leadership. Aristotle called courage the first virtue, because it makes all the other virtues possible. Is Nawaz Sharif aware of that?

Read more: Will lawmakers quit PML-N after Nawaz Sharif’s controversial narrative?

Khawaja Amer is a freelance journalist. He has worked in major international & national papers including Khaleej Times and The News International. He contributes frequently to Dawn and Express Tribune. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

 

Latest

Who is trying to hurt Pakistan’s cricket?

The extreme disappointment of the cancellation of the New Zealand and England tour was lessened somewhat by the historic 10 wickets win over India. In Pakistan almost for a decade now cricket is being played peacefully and to prove a point a few days after New Zealand ran off from Pakistan.