The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has constituted a two-member bench to hear an appeal filed by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif against his conviction in the Al-Azizia reference. The bench is going to initiate the proceedings after a video of the accountability judge went viral. Also, there are reports suggesting a deal between the PML-N leader and the government.
The bench, consisting of Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, will hear the appeal on Sept 18.
— Pakistan News (@pakistaninews) September 10, 2019
It is worth noting that the PML-N had released a video clip purportedly showing an accountability court judge allegedly admitting to a lack of evidence against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference.
Earlier both PML-N and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), have accused the prime minister of playing with the lives of Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari in the custody. Both leaders, allege the opposition, are not being provided with better health facilities which can be life-threatening for both of them.
It is believed that Nawaz’s anti-establishment narrative which is acceptable for the liberals and civil society at home and equally important for the western power shall help him rise again.
This is not for the first time that the opposition parties are using ‘illness’ to seek political concessions. In Pakistan, in has become a trend that influential people fell ill when they are arrested due to some illegal activities. Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Asif Saeed Khosa has once asked why everyone who was arrested by NAB fell ill and remarked that NAB should construct a state-of-the-art hospital to treat those people. He further said that some people were exploiting the law that allows prisoners with health problems to be transferred to a hospital. “It has become a regular practice,” he claimed. “Medical boards grant favours to people accused of crimes.” Justice Khosa was hearing Sharjeel Inam bail application on December 2017.
— Times of lsIamabad (@TimesofIslambad) September 10, 2019
Anchorperson Imran Khan in a show, Hard Talk Pakistan with Dr. Moeed Pirzada, said that a deal has been finalized, and Nawaz along with his arrested daughter, Maryam Nawaz, is likely to leave for London very soon. He maintained that his sources have confirmed that Nawaz will be granted bail and then allowed to go abroad for his medical treatment. Similarly, Maryam Nawaz will stay abroad but may come back before the next elections, he said.
Background of Nawaz’s Conviction
The PML-N supreme leader was sentenced to seven years in prison and was fined Rs1.5 billion in the Al-Azizia reference by an accountability court on December 24, 2018. However, he was acquitted in another reference related to Flagship Investments. He was imprisoned in Adiyala Jail and shifted to Kot Lakhpat Jail on his request.
Nawaz Sharif was granted bail for six weeks by the Supreme Court to afford him an opportunity to get treatment of his choice in the country for his complicated heart and kidney disease. The bail expires on May 7 (today) as the apex court rejected his review petition seeking permission to go abroad for the treatment.
Nawaz Sharif had filed a petition in the Supreme Court on April 30 which stated that a review petition had been filed in the Supreme Court on its March 26 decision. The petition sought an extension in Nawaz’s bail until a decision on the review petition.
Nawaz’s Political Future?
Sabir Shakir and Arif Hameed Bhati of ARY news believe that the politics of Nawaz Sharif is over. “After the verdict of the honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan there is a slim opportunity for Nawaz to maintain himself politically relevant,” said Sabir Shakir in a talk show. Since Nawaz has been barred from holding any public office or leading the political party therefore many experts and political commentators have the opinion that it is the end of Nawaz’s era.
However, there is another opinion as well which suggests that the analysis of Nawaz’s politics through legal lens may not be helpful in the context of Pakistan where laws are generally neither effective nor respected. It is believed that Nawaz’s anti-establishment narrative which is acceptable for the liberals and civil society at home and equally important for the western power shall help him rise again. Analysts believe that Nawaz is exploiting pro-democracy sentiments in Pakistan by establishing an anti-establishment narrative under the leadership of Maryam Nawaz who is composed and well-spoken. But there is a question of commitment and sincerity with the cause Nawaz and his aides are struggling for.