Sardar Khan Niazi
ISLAMABAD: With problems growing for the Sharif family with every passing day, the family is now once more looking for foreign help to ‘soothe matters’ at home. The Sharif’s are under mounting pressure since the 28th July Supreme Court judgment, which disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from holding public office in a landmark decision on the Panama Papers case. The judgment brought Nawaz Sharif’s third term in power to an unceremonious end, roughly a year before the scheduled general elections.
However, the misery for the Sharif family didn’t end here as the Court also ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file references against the Sharif family (and a reference against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar). Earlier this month the references were filed by NAB in compliance with the Supreme Court verdict.
After their no show before the accountability court, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has given former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other family members another seven days to appear before the accountability court in connection with the Supreme Court-mandated corruption references. NAB ordered that the family should appear before the court on September 26, further directing that the summons be dispatched to the Sharif family’s London address.
Sources close to the family have indicated that the Sharif family has no intention of appearing before the accountability court. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz in a recent message posted on microblogging website Twitter had also indicated that members of Sharif family will not appear before the accountability court.
Replying to a journalist on Twitter, the former Prime Minister’s daughter quote tweeted a tweet ‘Will Nawaz Sharif appear before NAB court’ by saying ‘He should not. Must not. Should not be a part of political & personal victimization in the garb of accountability. It’s a FARCE.’
The ruling family and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz leaders have repeatedly claimed that the ouster of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is a result of a ‘conspiracy’. The ruling family and party leaders however, as of now have refrained from naming the ‘conspirators’.
In a fiery press conference after her appearance before the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) back in July, Maryam Nawaz had said ‘The secrets he (Nawaz Sharif) carries and the conspiracies against him — don’t push him to the point where he must reveal those.’
According to sources close to the Sharif family, the family is now looking for ‘foreign mediation’ to help soothe matters. The ‘mediator’ will try to engage the ‘power’ that the Sharif family claim is the reason behind their ouster.
Back in December 2000, roughly a year after the 1999 coup d’état in which General Pervez Musharraf seized control of the civilian government of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the Sharif family was ‘let off the hook’ in a surprising development and allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia under a ‘secret deal’.
The then military government of Pakistan in a statement had announced that ‘This decision has been taken in the best interest of the country and the people of Pakistan.’
The Sharif family has maintained that their ‘escape’ from Pakistan in 2000 was not result of any deal but in fact a ‘forced exile.’ However, in his book titled ‘In the Line of Fire’, General Pervez Musharraf has clearly stated that the deal was arranged by Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
If sources close to the Sharif family are to be believed the Sharif family is now looking to use its close ties with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a possible ‘mediation’ that may relieve some pressure on the family.
Last week Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif had called on President Erdogan in Istanbul. It was reported that during the meeting, ‘Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that they wanted to see Pakistan politically, economically as well as security-wise fully strengthened and Turkey will continue its unconditional cooperation with Pakistan.’
However, there was more to the meeting than meets the eyes and sources say Shehbaz Sharif’s visit of Turkey was an effort to seek President Erdogan’s help in possible mediation between the Sharif family and the ‘power brokers’ in Pakistan.
Whether such mediation will happen remains to be seen but sources privy to the developments are certain that the Sharif family is indeed looking for ‘outside’ help once again.