News Analysis |
The ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has once again blamed the Pakistan Army as the sole reason behind all of his political troubles. During a press conference at the Punjab House, Nawaz Sharif made some interesting remarks regarding his disqualification from the court in Panama Papers case. Nawaz, who has been disqualified and barred from assuming any public office by the highest court of the country, has said that “the legal cases against him were punishment for his pursuit of a treason case against the former president.”
Sharifs are facing three references pertaining to the Avenfield properties, the Al-Azizia Steel mills and the Flagship Investment Co. filed by the NAB under the directives of the Supreme Court in its July 28, 2017 Panama Papers judgement.
Read more : Nawaz Sharif- traitor or trader?
Nawaz alleged that he had already been punished once for his unwavering stance on civil supremacy – reminding the press: “Nineteen years ago, I was detained in torture cells, I was sentenced to life imprisonment and I was handcuffed and jetted off. Was there a Panama at that time? The answer is simply no. At that time, too, I was demanding civil supremacy. I wanted foreign and domestic policies to be in the hand of the elected representative.”
Nawaz Sharif’s government was toppled by the then-military dictator Pervez Musharraf who, later on, ruled the country for almost 9 years.
Musharraf alleged Nawaz Sharif for being politically naïve and incompetent to maintain law and order in the country. Nawaz Sharif was also blamed for unnecessarily interfering into the Army’s affairs.
During his press conference, Nawaz Sharif also defended his government’s record over the last five years, saying: “I am a son of the soil. I don’t need a certificate of patriotism from anyone. In the last five years, the growth has been phenomenal — unmatched under any regime in the last 65 years.”
While praising the Armed forces of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif claimed that he upped the defense budget to facilitate the institution. He further praised the role of the Pakistan Army and acknowledged its sacrifices in the War on Terror. He also pointed out that “only a few people in the armed forces staged a coup but the entire institution has to pay the cost.”
Did the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehrik conspired against Nawaz?
Nawaz Sharif also alleged two political parties for conspiring against him when he was in office. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led by Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehrik by Dr. Muhammad Tahir–ul–Qadri were supported by ‘someone’ else to topple my government, alleged elder Sharif. “Before the filing of the treason case I had met Imran Khan and he never demanded my resignation. But surprisingly after Musharraf was booked, he met Tahir-ul-Qadri in London where they decided to stage a sit-in against my government.”
Imran Khan staged a sit-in across the country and demanded the government for re-counting in three constituencies where, he believed, has been massive rigging during the 2013 general elections. Nawaz’s government declined to address the demands initially and focused on silencing Khan. Later on, the PTI’s head started demanding the resignation of the then-PM Nawaz Sharif.
The PAT protested in the federal capital to demand justice for its 14 members who had been killed in the Model Town massacre in 2014. The PAT also alleged the PML-N’s government for the killing of their innocent members. A number of political parties supported the PAT and its demand for justice for the families who had lost their loved ones during the tragedy.
General and Judges:
Nawaz Sharif also voiced his displeasure over the Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict. He made a point that the decision against him did not prove positive for the country. He also maintained that the decision ‘might’ have satisfied some few but not the whole nation. He said “that judgement may satisfy some people but it was not good for the overall image of Pakistan. It did not contribute to the judiciary or criminal justice system because of the uncertainty arising after the verdict.”
Further, Nawaz Sharif questioned the NAB court as to why judiciaries of the past did not do anything against dictatorial regimes.
“Why was Liaquat Ali Khan martyred, why was Zulfikar Bhutto hanged, and why was Benazir Bhutto also martyred? I wish there was a court that could dare to ask generals why they abrogated the Constitution and why the judges legitimized their dictatorial regimes.”
Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated in 1951 during a public meeting of the Muslim City League at Company Bagh (Company Gardens), Rawalpindi. Zulfikar Bhutto was hanged in 1979 during the time of military dictator Zia-ul-Haq.
Nawaz Sharif: a new voice for civilian supremacy?
Nawaz Sharif is being termed as ‘a staunchest supporter of democracy’ these days in Pakistan and abroad. Nawaz has been bashing the superior courts and the military establishment since after his disqualification in Panama Papers case in 2017.
The court has said in the Panamagate judgement that “it is hereby declared that having failed to disclose his un-withdrawn receivables constituting assets from Capital FZE Jebel Ali, UAE in his nomination papers filed for the General Elections held in 2013 in terms of Section 12(2)(f) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 (ROPA), and having furnished a false declaration under solemn affirmation respondent No. 1, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is not honest in terms of Section 99(f) of ROPA and Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and therefore he is disqualified to be a Member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament).”
Sharif came out on the streets and addressed his supporters and urged them to support his anti-establishment struggle to maintain civilian supremacy.
But analysts in Pakistan point out several points from Nawaz’s political career which give a different impression of his political life; he had some ‘understanding’ with the establishment in 1990 when he was the opposition leader and helped toppling Benazir Bhutto’s government. Later on, Nawaz was elected as PM of the country.
Again in 1999, Nawaz himself took some extraconstitutional steps to ensure he completes the term in his office. Everything was going well when Nawaz felt threatened from the then-Army Chief General Mushharaf and took some quite unnecessary steps.
Dr. Hassan Askari Rizvi, a defense analyst, wrote in his book that “the military was perturbed by the civilian government’s political and economic mismanagement and especially by growing civilian disaffection in the smaller provinces. But the senior commanders would have continued to tolerate civilian government in view of the complexities of the domestic socio-political and economic landscape, and a global environment that was not conducive to military rule. The military overcame the inhibitions caused by these factors and dislodged Nawaz Sharif because the latter forced a situation on the senior commanders either to accept the dismissal of the Army Chief, who was on an official visit to Sri Lanka, or contest the decision.”
Nawaz Sharif, who blamed the judiciary and the military for their alleged role in the political process of Pakistan, needs to remember his own ‘understanding’ with the establishment in 1990, his political insecurity in 1999 and the “assets beyond their (Sharif family’s) known sources of income” in 2017. It may help him to understand the reasons behind his removal from the office.