PKONWEB Report — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif has warned of dire consequences if Pakistan’s economy continues to drown.
He is the younger brother of former thrice-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and convicted with 7-year jail sentence– Still, elder Nawaz faces other charges and continues to defend himself in the court, while other white-collar crimes probes continue against him by the country’s anti-graft watchdog the NAB.
Shahbaz, who is on bail himself, left for London on medical grounds, amid other charges already files and several other probes ongoing by the NAB.
The two brothers ( major politicians) head the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party with strong support in the country’s largest province Punjab and ruling for several decades (off and on).
Their stint in public delivery has been judged good by their supporters, sympathizers and many in the media and the civil society, and face investigations by the State– these relate to alleged white collar crimes generally considered in the country as “costs of doing business, survival, etc”– something a no, no in the global community where Pakistan is graduating into lock, stock and barrel– no options are left.
The former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Mr. Asif Ali Zardari- spouse of assassinated Benazir Bhutto fired a similar shot gun the same week younger Sharif took an aim against Mr Khan and his government from London.
He says, either NAB will survive or the economy– a dire warning considered by a generally acceptable standards followed worldwide.
Bhutto’s spouse faces numerous charges and continue to be grilled by NAB team — the anti-white collar crime law enforcers.
All three– Nawaz, Zardari and Shehbaz have been in power and forces still considered powerful.
So does younger Sharif with his sniper shot at PM Khan, saying, the Niazi government (referring to Premier Imran Khan’s setup) had failed in running the country also meant to ally with another grim reaper Zardari.
All of them face white collar crime charges during off and on ruling the country and the two provinces- Sindh and Punjab.
Elder Sharif remains incarcerated and maintains silence. His daughter Maryam considered Nawaz’s heir apparent has been vocal- recently Maryam broke bread over Iftar and dinner with Zardari’s son Bilawal who is head of the PPP party but Zardari pulls the strings. Some other politicians also joined the dinner event in capital Islamabad sending signals which converted to animated evening talk shows on the subject on country’s electronic media.
According to many, Mr. Khan and his team face some issues which are related to their moonshot approach for power– the community for change (youth, women, educated middle-class, etc.) felt the delivery would be easy: Notwithstanding the dire strait of the economy due to past huge debt burden and its collateral effects, communication and perception management– considered a happy hunting ground of other two major parties (PML-N and PPP) appear like an unused double-barreled gun for the newcomers.
Having ruled for decades, the two major parties had gerrymandered their comfort zones within almost all pillars of the State. Rest were handled by huge dole outs, quick fixes, out-of-the-box tactics and creative thoughts. That’s showing up now as PTI’s Achilles Heel as well as speed-breakers. Add to all these is a semblance of incompetence– political will, honesty and sincerity of goals notwithstanding.
Some are confused.
The generally exuberant lot used to shortcuts, quick fixes and over white envelope calculations and deals now find the silent but ‘confused’ urban masses their natural partners on the dinner table– because of Rupee devaluation and uptick in inflation, plus Ramadan, prices have shot up and the urban crowd is mostly hit– they are Mr Khan’s power base. Add to the situation is a growing (or made to grow) perception that it’s all Khan’s fault and that he and his team is not firefighting good enough– having succeeded being a demolition team of the then political status quo was not enough– it may morph into a ‘mistake’ catchall phrase suiting many, some say.
Sharif brothers, Zardari and et al represent the status quo. More importantly, Sharif brothers, Zardari and his sibling remain under crosshairs– and while many of the rest had scurried away as electables, political financers and donors, sympathizers, supporters, etc. in Khan’s ecosystem, they hoped they would survive ‘the rule of law’ onset.
All are now grim reapers, not just these big wigs. But their firing shots are meaningful if not ominous.
Like wolves among the herd of sheep, these shots and fireworks seek to further paint a doom and gloom picture. Add to it, the Red Bull like withdrawal symptoms of those who settle for nothing short of ‘Sab Chalta Hai’ (Expediency). It’s a hot mix– cocktail being served within minutes in a ‘sport bar’– unusual practice. PTI came to power 8 or 9 months back when the ‘tsunami’ was already on its way but expectations for Khan and his team were quite high.
Not that any of the two traditional parties want to outsmart PTI and come to power immediately– they’ll face the same headwinds (of their making)
though, but these leaders seriously think the nation considers them ‘indispensable. Elder Sharif unwittingly or wittingly set the reaction bar high months back while reminding his supporters of Sheikh Mujib and the breakup of Pakistan.
Nawaz thinks he’s being held back by others though destiny has been friendly with him and wants him to remain relevant.
Meanwhile, Mr. Zardari, his sister Talpur and several others close to them considered movers and shakers in Sindh with diminishing outreach at the national level also face bagful of white collar crimes related charges– misgovernance notwithstanding.
Lately, Shahbaz and Zardari have reportedly synced their moves as they feel they’re being victimized on trumped up charges only to be sidelined.
Add to all these Dar’s most recent outburst amid continuing probes against the former Finance Minister for ‘assets beyond known means of livelihood’, etc.– Dar who is closely related to elder Sharif insists the NAB laws needed to be changed.
For that, a two-thirds majority in the parliament may be needed, some experts say. But that may be a long shot though, some observers say.
‘One way to win is to make the other lose, no matter what the costs are’, these leaders may have in mind. At the end of the day, PM Khan’s message to the nation of “tough times ahead” could prove to be same as the Doctor telling his patient he has cancer and therefore must be operated upon immediately, and be ready for pain and slow recovery too. Such a matter of factly narrative could get the doctor into deep trouble here, by the patient himself, his family, near and dear ones, friends and neighbors, the baradari (clan), tribe, etc. etc.
Surprisingly, PM Khan’s “tough times ahead due to past loans” statement wasn’t spun into a hot potato by the dozens of his nemesis, and the not-so-friendly electronic media. There was no lampooning either on social media. The nation probably gave him a “Yes we know”– majority were unhappy the way things were going. Yet, their fear of the unknown and apprehensions seem to be a fodder for Khan’s opponents. That speaks volumes. We are fighting a hybrid warfare too.
While some may argue ‘hybrid war’ is a bogey man. The economy isn’t.