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September 21, 2019

Shahid Abbasi forgets walls have ears, they speak too!

National

September 21, 2019

ISLAMABAD: They say walls have ears. But Shahid Khaqan Abbasi perhaps forgets it when at times he speaks to himself during his NAB custody. Abbasi possibly does not know either that the walls of the NAB Pindi office speak too. What these walls heard and later conveyed to this correspondent could be an interesting reading.

What the NAB walls tell may not be so soothing for the Bureau, who’s accountability drive is termed by the former premier, “unbelievably blatant”… Even the fig leaf is now gone. The mode is simple — if you don’t “behave”, you are arrested; then they look for a “crime” to charge you with.

These walls tell that nobody from “you know who” met Shahid Abbasi, before or after the arrest, simply because “they” know his answers. They use ‘mediators’ who sound you out and report to them; these are “friends”, both in and out of politics.

As the walls speak, I report: Nawaz Sharif has taken a stand; his only ‘deal’ will be one where his ‘honor’ and constitutional democracy is protected. He does not want power and is willing to pay the price.

About himself, Shahid Abbasi was heard saying, “Alhamdulillah I have nothing to be ashamed of. I was very upfront with the ‘you know who’ during my 10 months but stabbing Nawaz Sharif in the back is something I cannot do; And it doesn’t work; the people, for whatever reason, identify with Nawaz Sharif. It’s nature’s way, and that is what politics is.”

He recalled, the wall says, that during his premiership once he told “them” very clearly, after he was told that Nawaz Sharif had $1 billion in a Singapore Bank and over 300 properties in London, that if they bring proof of $1 million and one property in London aside from what he knows of, they can go together and confront Nawaz Sharif and he (SKA) would leave him (NS). But nothing ever came.

The NAB walls also heard Abbasi admitting that Nawaz Sharif is not an angel, but he is not a crook either. When you make money, there is always another party involved, the one that pays. SKA claims he has yet to meet anyone in 30 years who has paid Nawaz Sharif anything.

Then he speaks about the wrong. He was heard saying that Nawaz Sharif’s father operated business the same way all Pakistani businessmen operated business before 9/11. You have profits, you don’t declare them, you just give it to a ‘money launderer’ (Hawala) who sends you a remittance through the banking channels; all legal and you cannot prove the illegality because these were privately controlled entities.

And if you wanted money abroad, to buy property let’s say, you paid the ‘Hawala’ guy here, he paid you there. The walls quote Abbasi explaining that this is not a defence of Nawaz Sharif… It’s just an explanation of how things were done in Pakistan at the time. He insists Imran Khan and his sister did it. Musharraf did it. Top Pakistani businessmen did it.

He says he can go on and on, but that is not the purpose. Focusing on Pakistan, he explains, in a company only one person knows the whole story, simply because he has the whole picture — the CEO. In a country only one man has the whole picture, the prime minister. Of the Pakistan PM’s alive, he said, only Nawaz Sharif and he could interpret that picture.

Not because they were rocket scientists but because Nawaz Sharif had an innate ability to focus on issues that he believes are critical, and he is mostly right.

About himself, he believes that he has been given the opportunity to work in almost every capacity in government after he had a good education and 10 years of technical and management experience at several levels, so when the time came to be PM, he was able to step in seamlessly.

In his view, Yousaf Raza Gilani, Raja Parvez Ashraf, Ch. Shujaat and Zafarullah Jamali had the political experience but not the understanding of the complexity of government to make a worthwhile contribution.

Shaukat Aziz had technical knowledge and great life experience but he did not know how to ‘marry’ the technical aspect of government with social considerations or understand the long-term impact of political decisions on the complex fabric of a country.

He believes our generals know everything because they have great administrative support and a huge intelligence network, but they neither have the training nor the knowledge or the experience of government. Add to that the bravado and confidence that is inherent in a military leader, and you have a disaster.

He has the view that Nawaz Sharif ran government for four years with active opposition of the then establishment, hostile and motivated media, NAB and judiciary, yet he ran an effective and reasonable government. He gives his leader the credit of facing challenges, resolving issues, giving confidence to business, achieving growth and low inflation, CPEC, IMF etc. and three hostile provinces.

Regarding the present government, he was heard by the Bureau walls saying Imran Khan’s is the first government in Pakistan to have full and unqualified support of the establishment and agencies; the media has been beaten into submission; the judiciary is supportive whereas the NAB is an active tool to suppress the opposition whereas all provinces are supportive. Yet this government doesn’t work, he believes and warned, “We are headed for a disaster; in fact we are already there.”

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