LAHORE - Honouring their words the former prime minister and his daughter landed in Lahore and courted their arrest, creating history in a country where leaders would mostly stay abroad to even avoid short terms in jail.
Daring Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz came back to the homeland despite being sentenced to a long and rigorous imprisonment of 11 and eight years respectively – that too while they, as well as many others, considered the NAB court judgment flawed.
When the judge writes in his decision that the prosecution has failed to prove any corruption or money-laundering and uses the argument that the accused was living beyond means without even bothering to determine their means, there is definitely something wrong about it.
There is no dearth of legal experts, senior lawyers, retired judges and attorney generals who believe the court decision is flawed and contains glaring loopholes.
Nawaz Sharif has proven all those wrong who mislead people by saying that the Sharifs won’t return and those who spoke in categorical terms that the ex-premier had taken asylum in the UK.
Nawaz lived up to his words and to the narrative he gave when leaving Prime Minister House via GT Road that his removal from premiership was part of a conspiracy by the powers that be.
He was right then as the allegation in the petition in Panama Papers case was corruption while his disqualification came on the charge of holding ‘Iqama’ and having received salaries from his son’s company in Dubai.
If one reads the judgment by Justice Qazi Faez Isa in Hudaibiya Paper Mills case, it is easy to understand that Nawaz Sharif was not prosecuted; rather, he was persecuted.
Ironically, the PTI chairman and his mentor Sheikh Rashid are on the record of having said that the Hudaibiya case would be end of Sharifs’ politics.
All said and done, the return of the courageous father and the dauntless daughter has sent a strong message to his party leadership and workers to stay firm, no matter what cost he and Maryam had to pay.
His opponents must have realised by now that the caged ‘lion’ could prove even more dangerous for them. Those who were anticipating the end of Nawaz as a politician once he goes to jail must have realised that he had added new heights to his persona through his steadfastness and courage.
The return of the ‘titans’ is bound to positively affect the Pakistan Muslim League-N election campaign as it is bound to pick up momentum now. It would now be far easier for Shehbaz Sharif to carry forward his elder brother’s narrative of putting an end to interference by the establishment in running the affairs of the state.
With Shehbaz and Hamza leading the main welcome rally from Lohari Gate, the Friday’s impressive power show has sent ripples to the quarters concerned and proved beyond doubt that there is no split within the family.
The event of this day has also exposed the caretakers who panicked and took meaningless decision without realising the fallout. The orders to unleash a crackdown against the party workers and elected local bodies’ office-bearers were reversed when the Lahore High Court ordered their immediate release.
The enthusiasm and emotions of the party workers today also undid the previous image that PML-N lacked a committed and dedicated lot. The manner in which they removed obstacles and hurdles and chanted full-throttle slogans reminded one of PPP ‘Jialas’.
All said and done, the Nawaz League Friday gained politically that it needed the most. However, it is now for the PML top leadership to keep the momentum to get better results in the general elections on July 25.