Irshad Bhati, a prominent Pakistani political commentator, told Rauf Kalsra, renowned political analyst, that the Sharif family is defaming the country’s security institutions to save their corruption and looted money. Bhatti also revealed that a deal was underway when Muhammad Zubair, PML-N’s senior leader, met with the army chief and conveyed a private message. “However, Imran Khan was repeatedly saying he won’t ever give any NRO to the Sharifs,” he added.
The army chief had told Nawaz that “we are with you except on the Panama case where courts have to decide about the future of the former premier and his family,” Bhatti said.
Bhatti also revealed that Nawaz is telling everyone who visits him that the army was behind all the cases he is facing today. “Nawaz blames the armed forces for all the cases. But the fact of the matter is that he was facing corruption charges which the army had nothing to do with,” Bhatti told Kalsra.
Cases against Nawaz Sharif: A background
It is important to mention here that on April 20, 2017 the Supreme Court of Pakistan issued orders in Panamagate case and directed the formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the Sharif family’s financial affairs.
FIA’s Additional Director General Wajid Zia, a grade 21 officer, was appointed as head of the probe team. The JIT consisted of Amer Aziz of the State Bank of Pakistan, Executive Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan Bilal Rasool, National Accountability Bureau Director Irfan Naeem Mangi, Brig Muha¬mmad Nauman Saeed of the Inter-Services Intelligence and Brig Kamran Khurshid of the Military Intelligence.
On the basis of the JIT report, SC on July 28, 2017, disqualified Nawaz Sharif for not being honest and truthful. The court stated that “it is hereby declared that having failed to disclose his un-withdrawn receivables, constituting assets from Capital FZE Jebel Ali, UAE in his nomination papers filed for the General Elections held in 2013 in terms of Section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)”.
The bench further said that on the basis of this information, collected by the JIT, cases should be opened against then Finance Minister Ishaq Dar; then MNA Captain Muhammad Safdar; Maryam, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, and the ousted premier, Nawaz Sharif.
Supreme Court References against Nawaz: Going Nowhere?
The Avenfield reference was filed by the NAB in an accountability court against Nawaz Sharif. Judge Muhammad Bashir of the accountability court announced the decision. Nawaz Sharif was handed over 19 years imprisonment for owning assets beyond known income and 1 year for not cooperating with NAB. His daughter Maryam was given 7 years for abetment after she was found “instrumental in concealment of the properties of her father” and 1 year for non-cooperation with the bureau. Nawaz’s son-in-law retired Captain Safdar was also given 1 year jail time — for not cooperating with NAB, and aiding and abetting Nawaz and Maryam.
On July 10, 2018, Judge Bashir was due to resume hearing in the Al-Azizia reference but Nawaz’s counsel urged him to recuse himself from the trial proceedings in the Al-Azizia and Flagship references pending before the same judge. The case was then sent to Judge Arshad Malik, the only other judges available to hear the case. But Judge Arshad was transferred literally in those days from Rawalpindi. He was serving as “Sessions Judge” in Punjab and was transferred by the federal ministry of law to serve as Accountability Judge. Many political analysts find the sequence of events very strange.