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The Absurdity Of Nawaz Sharif’s Re-arrest

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The permission sought by NAB to investigate Nawaz Sharif while he is already serving a sentence from two verdicts against him is unprecedented, writes Awais Babar.

“Even if they send me to Guantanamo, I will not kneel (before the king)”, said Nawaz Sharif during the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case hearing on Friday in an Accountability Court. Thereafter, the former premier was sent on a 14-day remand and handed over to the NAB.

In other words, Nawaz Sharif, a convict, was abducted in the morning by NAB authorities from Kot Lakhpat Jail with the permission of court and then later in the afternoon, the abduction was legalised for 14 days.

First, the permission sought by NAB to investigate Nawaz Sharif while he is already serving a sentence from two verdicts against him is unprecedented, to say the least. One of these verdicts stands suspended by the honourable Islamabad High Court (IHC), whereas the other had very much lost its bottom since the revelation of an apparent confessional video of Judge Arshad Malik that he had convicted Nawaz Sharif under duress.

This form of aggression by a state authority is never allowed to cross borders like that unless the convict is involved in some grave crimes (murder, rape, child molestation, kidnapping etc) and there is evidence that despite the subject being in jail, they possess some information which may save somebody’s life etc. So why was he ‘handed over’ to NAB despite the fact that he was already in jail? Was it done to force him to cut out a deal?

Secondly, the permission given by the Accountability Court is also the rarest of judicial decisions. It is clear that this late inclusion in the list of cases has occurred due to his refusal to surrender despite both Nawaz and his daughter being in jail for a considerable time.

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I have reiterated in my previous writings that getting any politician convicted is not a problem, it is their steadfastness that bothers the bosses. Those who refuse to surrender even if it means losing everything leave irremovable marks for the future. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was convicted and executed by the dictator, but his name ended up becoming the symbol of resistance against dictatorship.

Nawaz Sharif has two options: Either to confess before the whole nation that he is a corrupt man, regardless of whether or not he is guilty of corruption, so that the legacy and credibility of establishment remains intact. But the price of this would be to let go of his own legacy and leave a really bad one for his children.

However, Nawaz knows well that this is a risky door to knock as even if he confesses, there is no guarantee he would be allowed to go abroad and live the rest of his life in peace.

The other option he had taken the day he and Maryam Nawaz, despite being convicted, chose to come back to Pakistan and face the charges against them. That option was not to cow down to pressure and fight till the end, or until he can endure – whichever comes sooner.

There is a time to test a man’s temperament, and in my view, the worst time to check that is when a man is old; when he has got nothing much to lose. This is more so the case when testing the patience of a politician who has already seen his political hay days. All that keeps a politician in the game is his prestige and no politician wants to let go of that especially when he has earned it back somehow, as did Nawaz in 2013 when he came back strongly even though he had been ousted from the country with utter disgrace.
This is this other option that will not only keep him behind bars everlastingly but will also make the torturers angry until he gives in.

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This whole process is infected with wickedness; from top to bottom. The NAB Chairman has no choice but to be in alignment in order to keep certain remnants of his under the carpet. Once the chairman is compromised the whole institution becomes compromised as they are bound to follow his orders.

Similarly, once the Chairman gives the green signal all of his subordinates are legally bound to fulfill his orders. Likewise, the court is also bound by the law and has a limited involvement. Limited in the sense that hypothetically speaking, if an accused gets away with one case he can once again be arrested by NAB. The court can only find the accused not guilty but cannot stop the NAB from arresting him over and over again.

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