Fresh elections not to suit Nawaz family, PML-N

Shehbaz, Hamza’s future also uncertain because of pending cases

LAHORE - On the first anniversary of what they called “massively rigged general elections” on July 25, leaders of opposition parties vowed to continue their struggle to seek mid-term elections at the earliest to “restore democracy in a real sense and get rid of inefficient rulers”.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz warned of long march to Islamabad, while Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari called for “revolt against selected government and selectors”.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the MMA president and the man behind the black day idea, said at a recent news conference in Multan that the assemblies should be dissolved and fresh elections held.

On Sunday, while addressing a public meeting in Quetta he called upon the government to step down by August or there would be a march on Islamabad in October.

This is not the first time that the opposition parties want fresh elections.

But the question is whether the PML-N, the largest opposition party, can afford to support such a call. And if so, what will be the implications.

Hypothetically speaking, if the elections are held in the near future, the family of Mian Nawaz Sharif will be completely out of the exercise while the fate of Mian Shehbaz Shaif and his son Hamza is uncertain.

It will not be wrong to say that the fate of Nawaz Sharif and his family stands sealed.

The reason: The Supreme Court gave a verdict about a week ago that the suspension of sentence would have no consequence on the conviction of a person for the purpose of being qualified to contest either the local bodies’ elections or the elections for the legislative assemblies.

The eight-page judgment on an appeal authored by Justice Ijazul Ahssen held that unless the conviction is specifically suspended by the appellate court by assigning cogent reasons; or the appeal of the appellant is ultimately allowed and his conviction as well as sentence are set aside by the appellate court, the conviction of the appellant would continue to hold the field and the disqualification incurred by him, by reason of this conviction, shall remain intact.

As things stand, Maryam Nawaz is a convict although her sentence has been suspended for the time being. Her appeal is yet to be decided.

Nawaz Sharif is in prison after being convicted and will have to fight a prolonged legal battle to get a final decision.

His two sons Hussain and Hasan have been living in London for the past several years and have already been declared absconders by courts.

They have no interest in politics and thus have no intention to return to the country. They had not come to Pakistan even when their mother had died about 10 months ago.

The second daughter of the former prime minister – Asma - who is daughter-in-law of former finance minister Ishaq Dar, has nothing to do with politics.

This means unless the situation takes a dramatic turn the entire family of Nawaz Sharif stands ousted from electoral politics.

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and son Hamza face a number of cases and many more can be instituted against them on the basis of proofs being collected by the NAB.

Their conviction in one case or the other can’t be ruled out.

Even if they are not convicted, they can’t keep the PML-N as a popular party, especially when it is facing a very adverse situation.

The party is popular because of the incarcerated prime minister or, in his absence, daughter Maryam, whose own future is uncertain.

When the father and the daughter are disqualified, the entire party’s future is uncertain. None of the existing office-bearers, central or provincial, is in a position to attract voters. At best, they can expect to win their own seats.

This leads one to conclude that unless the situation takes a turn for the better fresh elections don’t suit the PML-N and the family of Nawaz Sharif. The beneficiaries of such a situation may be the PPP and some other parties.

And at a time when the adversaries are facing jails or court cases, the ruling PTI has the best opportunity to implement its election manifesto and win new supporters for the next elections.


ePaper - Nawaiwaqt