The VIP Plunderers and Looters

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Mukhtar Ahmed Butt
Mukhtar Ahmed Butt : The writer is a freelance journalist and defence Analyst.

With regular interval we keep hearing rumours that close door talks are going on between government and Nawaz Sharif to get NRO and leave the country and say good bye to politics. Government spokespersons insist that NRO is being demanded but dispute is on the amount to be surrendered, some figures are also being quoted. PML N has vehemently denied any deal with the government in person or through emissaries.
Let us analyse the government’s claim on NRO. Whenever PTI is questioned about the source, they are reluctant to disclose the name of emissary but are firm that government has been approached but the Prime Minister wants to settle the issue on his terms and conditions. It is not only Nawaz Sharif but the entire family is undergoing torture and facing innumerable corruption charges framed by NAB. In one case he has been awarded punishment and undergoing sentence in Jail for which appeal is pending in Islamabad High Court. Likewise former prime minister from PPP and short term prime minister of PML N Khaqan Abbasi is also facing LNG cases instituted by NAB and at present is in their custody
What has happened to Nawaz Sharif the former three time prime minister and past president of PML N and how he has been treated is a separate subject by itself, but what surprises everybody the reaction of the party that has not only been lukewarm but lacked force and punch except few odd statements by party loyalists that speaks volume of grouping in PML N. Where are the loyalists who after each court hearing would address press conference and play hell with judiciary and PTI leadership specially Imran Khan and label often repeated old charges. The party stands isolated when there was need to present strong opposition. PTI government has been lucky on many counts the bad economic situation and Kashmir issue coupled with threats on western and eastern borders that is keeping opposition to be quiet as people won’t support them when country is facing such crisis except Maulana Fazalur Rahman who has planned sit in at Islamabad in October.
Coming back to Nawaz Sharif. Is something wrong with his politics? Is internal rift has been the cause of his down fall? Was his confrontation with establishment brought his down fall? Was something wrong with his team? Why senior leaders of PML N except two to three abandoned him at crucial time? Is it not a fact that he mishandled Panama case? Is it not fact he was advised wrongly to clarify his position in assembly? Why he could not keep good relations with his own chosen army chiefs? Why Ch Nisar’s advise was not taken? Why some ministers were allowed to criticise army in open? Why drama of dawn leak was staged? Well there can be hundreds of question that can be put to Nawaz Sharif that contributed towards his ouster.
His politics right from day one revolved around one single factor that if he is the Prime Minister, he is the king and the only authority. When he is Prime Minister so he is supreme and no one should dare utter a word in front of him .In one of the interviews he openly said that there could be one Prime Minister and no one can assume the role of super Prime Minister, hinting on army chief’s role. During his all the three tenures as Prime Minister he tried his best to minimise the role of army chiefs in political issues and there was nothing wrong with this, but his modus operandi was somewhat defective. He always had with him few generals as his advisors who failed to advise him properly. There has always been unknown fear from army in his mind for reasons only known to him and perhaps that contributed towards spoiling relations with the 7 army chiefs. First time he became Prime Minister on 6 November 1990 and stayed in office till 18 Jul 1993. When he took over Gen Aslam Beg was the army chief after his retirement he appointed Gen Asif Nawaz as COAS, who died in Jan 93 and was replaced by Gen Kakar by President against his wishes. He was again elected Prime Minister on 17 Feb 1997 when Gen Jahangir Karamat was the army chief, he made him to resign pre-maturely in October 1998 on his suggestion to form national security committee and appointed Gen Musharraf as army chief who removed him on 12 October 1999 when Nawaz appointed Gen Ziauddin Butt as new army chief in most undignified manner, the army did not accept him and he lasted for few hours. Nawaz Sharif became third time Prime Minister on Jan 2013, this time he was removed by Supreme Court on 28 July 2017. During this period he had the privilege of appointing two army chiefs Gen Raheel Sharif in 2013 and Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa in Nov 2016. Unfortunately he was never comfortable with any army chief. It can be presumed that someone was misguiding him all along his all the three tenures.
Having suffered so much if someone thinks he shall strike deal with the government is living in fool’s paradise. If he had to strike a deal it should have been when he was in problem. He lost everything during this time, now he is facing 7 years sentence in prison in Al Azizia reference case for which he has filed appeal in Islamabad High Court. During this period video of trial judge Arshad Malik appeared on surface to which the judge denied the contents of video and submitted affidavit mentioned three names who approached him for favour on behalf of Nawaz Sharif but the three accused have been exonerated due to lack of evidence that has created doubts about the veracity of the claims made by the suspended judicial officer. In such cases the benefit always goes to the accused, in all probabilities this may help Nawaz in his acquittal, but the damage has been done.
In all probabilities Nawaz Sharif is not going to seek any NRO and rather would face the cases boldly as has been doing since his ouster. But one cannot overrule the possibility of plea bargain. The fact remains except for the recovery made by NAB through plea bargain no politician has surrendered any dollar stashed in foreign banks is something very serious. How can you recover looted money when the looter is given VVIP treatment? The nation is eagerly waiting the return of looted money stashed abroad in cash and properties, if the government fails to repatriate the looted money that would mean the end of accountability.