A look inside the Nawaz Sharif-Saqib Nisar rivalry
A few days back, I got a chance to meet a political personality who is said to be very close to the top leadership if the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), especially Maryam Nawaz. During the meeting I got to know of an informal meeting in which five PML (N) members along with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam and her husband, retired Captain Muhammad Safdar Awan sat together at the former PM’s residence to devise policy to counter the judgments and remarks of Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar that are affecting the party, and most particularly Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.
Nawaz Sharif salutes people during a rally supporting him in Islamabad on August 9, 2017. The Pakistani Supreme Court had disqualified Sharif on July 28, after a probe into the Sharif family’s wealth.
This strategy is of a very aggressive nature. The participants of that meeting had an absolute consensus on the unlawfulness of Nisar’s verdicts pertaining to the party’s former head Nawaz Sharif. They further agreed on the political sense in Nisar’s statements related to the famous Panama Papers case and others.
It is generally believed by PML (N) members that such decisions by the chief justice have contributed to the rise in the popularity of Sharif and consequently Nisar is trying to neutralize this by making frequent appearances in public.
Leaving behind his due responsibilities, Nisar is often seen taking unilateral actions on matters that could tend to bolster his support within the community. He is often found showing concern for clean drinking water, fees for private medical colleges and cases of high public interest like that of Zainab Ansari, a seven-year-old girl who was brutally murdered after being raped in Kasur, Punjab province.
Surprise visits to hospitals and intervening in state matters could have no other purpose than to gain public support or to affect the success of PML (N) in general elections scheduled for July.
Maryam Nawaz addresses supporters during an election campaign rally on May 4, 2013, in Lahore.
It was also decided in the above-mentioned session that decisions on such matters as disqualification of the party head and other similar decisions will be brought forward to the public platforms along with their presentation to Parliament.
Furthermore, effective legislation would be done in order to restrict Nisar and his fellow judges to their jurisdiction and to instruct them to take necessary actions quickly to resolve pending cases, the duty for which they are paid and must be their primary focus. However, administrative issues should remain the duty of elected representatives.
It was discussed in the session that Nisar is taking every step to rule out PML (N) from the political picture, and the timing of the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif from being the party head is one example of Nisar getting personal to defame PML (N).
The participants of that session also expressed anger at the use of such terms as “godfather,” “robbers” and “Sicilian Mafia” by Nisar as passing remarks while hearing cases regarding PML (N) and suggested appropriate legislative measures to give Parliament the right to counteract such humiliation of parliamentarians.
Here it is noteworthy that it was Nawaz Sharif who appointed Nisar to the position of law secretary under the Pakistani Ministry of Law and Justice. It was the first time in the history of Pakistan that someone from the Bar was nominated for this designation. Even more interesting is the fact that Nawaz Sharif promoted Nisar to the designation of judge of the Lahore High Court as well as to the position of chief justice of the Supreme Court. And this very person pushed Sharif behind the eight-ball.
God knows the intentions but apparently the Pakistani judiciary is making decisions that are political in nature rather than being based on justice. In order to move forward, judges should avoid being political, and also the PML (N) should refrain from adopting any aggressive strategy if its is really keen to see Pakistan progress.