Without Nawaz’s return opportunity, provided by Imran to quit assemblies, can’t be used by Shehbaz to make Pakistan genuine democracy. By Hem Raj Jain (
29 Nov 2022
Allah only knows when will Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif will understand that whatever traction of public opinion the PTI Chief and former Prime Minister Imran Khan is getting is mainly due to the fact that former PM and PML- N supremo Nawaz Sharif has been portrayed by PTI as corrupt hence allegedly disqualified to lead the party & contest elections though Nawaz was removed from power in 2017 by Pak military through judicial coup as mentioned at https://www.pakistanchristianpost.com/opinion-details/4036 . Shehbaz doesn’t understand (that if as Prime Minister he can’t get justice to his party PML-N and to the supreme leader of his party Nawaz Sharif then how will he get justice to the ordinary people of Pakistan) hence Shehbaz so-far has failed to get Nawaz back in Pakistan to lead his Party in elections and to face corruption charges under due process of law which was denied to Nawaz in and since 2017.
No-one says Shehbaz is not getting Nawaz in Pakistan because he feels threatened (that his Prime Ministership can be taken back by Nawaz through coming elections) and it may be an uncharitable suspicion about his loyalty to the party and to his mentor, his elder brother. Moreover in democracy it is the party chief who matters as happened in India too where Sonia Gandhi remained the leader of her party Congress whereas she installed Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister. Similarly Nawaz can lead the party and install Shehbaz as PM through next elections too.
But the sure victory of PML-N in next election is possible only when Nawaz comes to Pakistan to take the winds out of the sails of Imran call for Jihad [which he gave while calling-off the long march to and then ‘dharna’ (sit-in) at Islamabad for the acceptance of his demand of early election] by saying that he will ask his party to leave all the assemblies as he doesn’t want his party PTI to be part of this corrupt system where small thieves are languishing in jail but big ‘dakoos’ (dacoits as per him Nawaz, Zardari etc) are moving freely and getting their cases dropped through Shehbaz government (as reported at https://www.dawn.com/news/1723392/situationer-political-bombshell-or-bid-to-engage-with-new-brass ). Shehbaz should know it is neither Shehbaz himself nor Mariam Nawaz nor Hamza Shehbaz nor any other PML-N leader who has mass appeal & vote catching ‘karishma’ (magic) even remotely comparable to Nawaz.
No doubt if Nawaz Sharif immediately comes to Pakistan then he may have to spend SOME time in prison before he gets relief from the Judiciary but it shouldn’t be a big issue for any politician, which Nawaz is. Moreover Shehbaz can utilize the opportunity which following two factors have provided to counter Imran politically and to bring suitable amendments in law through legislation in National and State assembles when Imran has asked PTI to leave all the assemblies (for making it possible that Nawaz is allowed to lead the party PML-N also in elections including in 2023 National Assembly election and at the same time let Nawaz face the fair trials in all the cases against him as is done in any civilized democracy with right to bail till cases are finally decided in all the appeals):-
(i)- Imran has stopped blaming the USA about dislodging his government by unfair means, as reported in his interview to Financial Times https://www.ft.com/content/92dc971e-672d-4451-ba27-493627297b46 . Hence now whatever Imran may say the inflated balloon of his anti-USA rhetoric (which has some potential of getting electoral benefit) has been punctured.
(ii)- After the October end 2022 press conference also (by ISI Chief and DG ISPR) the Pak military is claiming that now onwards it will remain apolitical and will not interfere in civilian matters (including in elections, government changes etc). Moreover the smooth appointment of new army chief as per law & constitution has also reduced the electoral prospects of Imran / PTI because it is no secret that without the help of Pak military (including through the said judicial coup) Imran wouldn’t have become PM in 2018.
Therefore if Shehbaz really wants Pakistan to become a genuine democracy then he should handle the threat (posed by Imran by invoking religious symbols, imagery, slogans like Jihad, ‘La Ilaha Illallah’ etc in theocratic Pakistan) politically and not as a law & order issue and for this to happen, without any further delay, Shehbaz should get Nawaz back in Pakistan to lead his party PML-N in the election due in October 2023.