Imagine a democracy where the Leader of Opposition is imprisoned
Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif, currently under the custody of National Accountability Bureau (NAB), attended the National Assembly session on Wednesday and made a comprehensive speech on the floor of the house. Shehbaz was highly critical of the NAB and Prime Minister Imran Khan, and even went on to allege the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and NAB had forged an ‘unholy alliance’.
Sharif argued that the NAB’s allegation that he had awarded the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing contract to Major (r) Kamran Kiyani in order to placate the-then army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, was completely baseless. The former is a real brother of former Army Chief Gen Kiyani. Shehbaz added that he had in fact terminated a contract awarded to the said contractor by the preceding government headed by Chaudhry Pervez Elahi.
However the most disturbing part of the speech was when he revealed that NAB prosecutors had offered Shehbaz to become an approver against his party member, and former Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Muhammad Asif. Although Shehbaz says he told the NAB official ‘to behave’— the very line of interrogation smacks of violating the due process.
It has become a norm in Pakistan that instead of digging out the details of a case and looking for specific evidence, NAB and other investigative bodies rely on confessions and approvers. This raises a big question mark on not only the credibility of the NAB but also on its ability to properly investigate corruption cases.
Similarly, the line of interrogation, as narrated by Shehbaz Sharif ‘on oath’, was also questionable. Instead of specifically charging him of any corruption, he said he was asked questions based on what Imran Khan had repeatedly stated in his various speeches at public rallies.
NAB must come up with concrete evidence in the case or else it would only end up hurting its own integrity. After all, the person they’re allegedly keeping in a cell where ‘there’s no concept of day and night’ is none other than the Opposition Leader of the country.
Shehbaz Sharif’s speech courtesy Public News: