Nawaz breaks his si­lence

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

Nawaz Sharif’s po­lit­i­cal si­lence over the past few months has been deaf­en­ing. The man who once wore dis­sent on his sleeve and roared his dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the es­tab­lish­ment to huge ral­lies of his sup­port­ers has been shying away from the pub­lic eye ever since his con­vic­tion- prompt­ing ru­mours that his stint in jail has si­lenced him and has beaten the rebel out of him. Yes­ter­day, how­ever, Nawaz broke his si­lence, and although he made brief state­ments, the sparks of dis­con­tent spilled through in his re­marks.

Nawaz Sharif made the ob­vi­ous crit­i­cism that the leader of the op­po­si­tion party makes when it is be­ing tar­geted. He lam­basted the ar­rest of his brother and the Op­po­si­tion Leader Shah­baz Sharif and ac­cused the Pak­istan Tehreek- iIn­saf ( PTI) gov­ern­ment of mis­us­ing NAB to sup­press the op­po­si­tion. More to the point, he de­manded an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the as­sets of Prime Min­is­ter Im­ran Khan’s sis­ter Aleema Khan. In a case of fight­ing fire with fire, Nawaz said that Aleema Khan should be in­ves­ti­gated for as­sets be­yond means and pros­e­cuted for it.

It is an ac­cu­sa­tion that seems petty but it catches PTI by the jugu­lar due to its strik­ing sim­i­lar­ity to the charges brought against Nawaz’s rel­a­tives of as­sets be­yond means, which even­tu­ally brought about his down­fall. Ms Khan, a mem­ber of the board of gov­er­nors of Shaukat Khanum Memo­rial Can­cer Hospi­tal, has been found to have prop­er­ties in the UAE, for which the source be­hind these pur­chases re­mains un­ex­plained. It is im­por­tant to take note that this case is not as much a mat­ter of pub­lic pri­or­ity, since Aleema Khan and her brother were not in of­fice when the prop­er­ties were pur­chased, nor is the amount al­legedly laun­dered as huge, as was in the Panama Case. Yet con­sid­er­ing that Ms Khan was on the board of gov­er­nors of SKMCH, and that ac­count­abil­ity and bring­ing money back from abroad has con­sis­tently been one of PTI’s ral­ly­ing calls, the op­tics of this case, es­pe­cially if in­ves­ti­ga­tion doesn’t oc­cur, look bad.

The PML- N has ac­cused the sev­eral tri­als and con­vic­tions against its mem­bers as be­ing “se­lec­tive jus­tice”, mean­ing that the pur­pose of these tri­als was not ac­count­abil­ity but to tar­get the party. If the gov­ern­ment truly means to lend cred­i­bil­ity to the con­vic­tion against Nawaz, then it should wel­come this op­por­tu­nity of Nawaz call­ing for ac­count­abil­ity for Ms Khan and dis­play its com­mit­ment to trans­parency by pur­su­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into these al­le­ga­tions.

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