Admissions before NAB might be too late to vindicate Nawaz Sharif in the court of public opinion
During proceedings in the ongoing National Accountability Bureau (NAB) corruption case against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Joint Investigative Team (JIT) head Wajid Zia has alleged that “40 experts” helped build up the case. Zia went on to reveal that in London’s Avenfield Apartments case against Sharif’s daughter Maryam and her husband Muhammad Safdar, the military’s Inter-Services Intelligence helped the JIT in procuring key material against the accused.
During the same proceedings, it also emerged that the “iqama” revelation that resulted in Sharif being dismissed was reliant on evidence collected “in a single day” by two members of the JIT: Brigadier Kamran Khurshid of the Military Intelligence (MI) and Irfan Naeem Mangi of the National Accountability Bureau. Sharif has, belatedly, complained about the inclusion of “the personnel belonging to the ISI and MI in the team investigating my case.” He thought his case “did not involve issues of terrorism or national security.” It was also revealed that Robert Radley, on whose statement in London Sharif was convicted, was also contacted by “Brigadier Noman Saeed of the ISI.”
While these revelations might support Sharif’s narrative of victimization, it is likely too late to do him any good. Almost all major TV channels—after sniffing around for “signals”—have now turned against the Sharifs. Journalists who tend to be neutral are now clearly partisan, using sarcasm to insult the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), where desertions are already in evidence.
The opposition, comprising the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and the Pakistan Peoples Party, are on the front-foot with insulting criticism, openly rejecting policies adopted by besieged Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The Supreme Court has also joined the fray, becoming morbidly “activist,” lavishly using the suo motu in the heretofore prohibited turf of the executive. Chief Justice Saqib Nisar appears to be luxuriating in an exaggerated pantomime of anti-Nawaz “justice,” even as the apex court’s backlog now stretches past 30,000.