Home News Analysis Why Nawaz must pay for his blunders as PM in 1990’s?

Why Nawaz must pay for his blunders as PM in 1990’s?

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People of Pakistan have a very short memory pertaining to the historical political facts of the country. We suffer from selective amnesia. People forgive and forget quite briskly. Two decades ago, Imran Khan thundered over the need for accountability. After lackluster efforts, enduring pressure from the opposition, Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto had introduced new laws to initiate accountability.

Let me take you back to 1997, as Nawaz stepped into his second tenure as a Prime Minister (PM). Soon after the government assumed its duties, it quashed all the proceedings against Nawaz in Islamabad High Court (IHC). The senior officials of Cantonment Board of Revenue (CBR), which lead investigations into financial dealings of ‘Itehaq Foundry’ were suspended.

The recommendations to put the names of Asif Ali Zardari and Farayal Talpur reflects a new dawn in the history of Pakistan’s Accountability. Nawaz must pay for what he sowed in his term as the Chief Minister and Pakistan’s premier in his first tenure.

Nevertheless, Nawaz indeed, began an ‘Ehtasaab Cell’ in the PM house, in an attempt to take a stern action against the corrupt proprietors in the country.

Read more: Connecting the dots: The London apartments since the 1990s

Who were those Corrupt Proprietors? Take a Guess?

These were the members of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), who were targeted and quite conveniently the members of Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) were ignored. Nawaz’s accountability bill was unacceptable itself, as it was passed by the ruling PML-N without any debate in the parliament. It had no resemblance to the accountability bill, originally presented in the year prior to this one.

The pertaining struggle at hand, is that of a witch-hunt, which an issue remains even today. The opposition cried foul of political victimization, as Nawaz underwent an accountability from NAB and decided to blame military establishment. Whenever the accountability boards abstain from targeting the political class, slogans of a political witch-hunt, are the evidentiary results.

Nawaz’s counsel is preparing an appeal to challenge the Apex courts’ verdict of misjudging it as an Ehtesab Commission, where a pre-arrest bail was a norm. Though, NAB claims of initiating the proceedings against other accused too-among the four hundred plus Pakistani who featured in Panama papers, Nawaz doesn’t become a party to such claims.

The alleged respite given to PPP politicians in Sindh, indeed made the entire process questionable. Moreover, NAB denies the allegations pressed against them. Additionally, the slow pace of cases against the two ex-PPP premieres’ frustrates PML-N.

People of Pakistan have a very short memory pertaining to the historical political facts of the country. We suffer from selective amnesia. People forgive and forget quite briskly. Two decades ago, Imran Khan thundered over the need for accountability.

The accountability process against Nawaz, resulted from efforts input by Imran Khan, when he sniffed the opportunity as the Panama scandal rocked the world. After Qamar Zaman’s mundane efforts to revamp NAB, retired Justice Javed Iqbal worked tirelessly to improve the anti-watchdog. No doubt, this was a quick fix but NAB officials, did try to prepare cases meticulously and defend them with their full heart and soul.

The way former PML began the incrimination of PPP and its affiliated cronies in 1997, despite belonging to PML-N’s government, witnessed unprecedented accountability as of today.

Read more: Nawaz eyes imprisonment, readies party for elections

This Decision Resulted in Enraging PML-N

Before launching a scathing attack on current proceedings, they must answer, that “what stopped PML-N government taking action against the 42,000 defaulters nominated by the State Bank of Pakistan in 1996-1997?” Back then, the list of targets compiled by Safiur Rehman and Chief Ehtesaab Commission never consisted of any former PML, now PML-N’s leader.

Though, NAB claims of initiating the proceedings against other accused too-among the four hundred plus Pakistani who featured in Panama papers, Nawaz doesn’t become a party to such claims.

“What makes the situation unique this time around?” Well, this time, big-wigs of PPP, PTI, and some ex-generals are facing investigations under the NAB 1999 ordinance.

Moreover, the Nawaz government in 1997, itself was guilty of victimization. It used the law in a way, which only targeted the culprits in the PPP era and subsequently ignored the wrongdoings of Nawaz during his tenure. The beneficiaries of an unprecedented scale of patronage in Sharif’s time period, were conveniently ignored.

Read more: What is Nawaz Sharif’s “Narrative”?

During PML-N’s era, cases were not pursued against bureaucratese and businessmen allied to it. For instance, Hussain Lawai’s arrest is a prime example and cases against Sharjeel Memon and dozens of PPP leaders suggest, that this is not a witch-hunt. The recommendations to put the names of Asif Ali Zardari and Farayal Talpur reflects a new dawn in the history of Pakistan’s Accountability.

Nawaz must pay for what he sowed in his term as the Chief Minister and Pakistan’s premier in his first tenure.

Waqas Shabbir is a Derby Business School graduate in Finance, currently working as a freelance writer. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.


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