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February 16, 2018

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I will turn the tables on them, says Nawaz

ISLAMABAD: In the small room of the Accountability Court located at the Judicial Complex where 11 other courts are also located, the activity was not just the judge listening attentively to lawyers from both sides, but some other small activities were also going on.

When one enters the courtroom, one finds the judge sitting at the center of a long table. Behind the Judge Mohammad Bashir hangs a framed picture of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah on the wall.

On his front, the NAB prosecutors and ex-prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif counsel could be seen battling it out. The judge is listening to their arguments and dictating cross-examination of witnesses.

Behind the lawyers stand journalists, NAB investigators, Federal Minister Daniyal Aziz, Siddiqul Farooq and plane-clothes security officials. Nawaz is sitting on the right side of a three-line row of seats. Maryam Nawaz sits on the left side of her father wearing a pink suit.

On Nawaz’s right side sits ex-information minister Senator Pervaiz Rashid who had to surrender his ministry following the DawnLeaks controversy. Tariq Fatemi, another DawnLeaks victim, is also present in the courtroom donning a blue suit. He regularly attends the court along his wife.

Federal Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq comes over to Nawaz, leans forwards and then pours some words into his ears. Nawaz listens attentively. After him, some other leaders also come over to the ex-PM one by one and talk to him.

Federal Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb stands next to Maryam Nawaz and keeps talking to her probable future leader. Whenever some reporter tries to leave the courtroom to update his/her channel, Maryam asks them a common question: “what is the update? What has happened?” The reporter gives her a small briefing and hurries out of the courtroom.

The PML-N’s seniors and juniors both find the courtroom an opportunity to meet their leader, have a chit-chat while standing near him and leave. Nawaz listens to each visitor, smiles and sometimes utters some words and then keeps quiet.

I observed that Federal Minister Lt. Gen. (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch has replaced Senator Pervaiz Rashid on the left seat of Nawaz. While I was about to leave the courtroom, I had a small chat with Maryam Nawaz. Suddenly, I listened to the voice of Nawaz Sharif.

“Hello Mr. Syed what is this all happening?” he asks waiving his hand.

“Sir, you know better what is happening,” I answer.

Apparently, he wants to listen more and the same is my position, as I know he knows a lot more than a journalist. I take two more steps to get closer to him.

“I think they don’t have any evidence against me but why are they doing this all to me? What you think would happen? Nawaz Sharif asks.

“I think you will be convicted,” I told him. How can they? They don’t have any evidence against me?” says Nawaz with an expressionless face.

“Sir, the Supreme Court has done the same,” I said.

“I have done nothing wrong; I served this country, but still they don’t understand”.

At this point, some off-the-record conversation takes place.

I observe Nawaz Sharif is well aware of what’s going on against him but he’s not ready to bow down.

He recites some poetic verses …

“Do you have any hope that you would make a comeback?” I asked.

“I don’t have any hope from anyone, but I have hope from the people. I believe Allah is with me and I will turn the tables,” he says in a determined tone.

Nawaz says he’s ready to face everything but will not compromise on his self-respect.

He is bitter about the language being used against politicians by the highest court of the country.

Apparently, Nawaz Sharif is ready to face anything, including a conviction, but it seems he won’t take it lying down but fight back.

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