Thursday March 30, 2023

The ‘deal’ and Nawaz Sharif’s return

Informed sources view with scepticism the recent speculation about Nawaz Sharif’s return in the next few weeks

December 27, 2021
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. File photo
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. File photo

ISLAMABAD: Contrary to all the speculation, it has been claimed that no deal has been struck between Nawaz Sharif and the establishment and the former prime minister is not coming back to Pakistan soon.

Informed sources view with scepticism the recent speculation about Nawaz Sharif’s return in the next few weeks. These sources deny that any deal has been struck yet or that there is a ‘script’ ready to facilitate the smooth return of Nawaz Sharif from London, where the former prime minister had gone for treatment for a short period following the court’s permission but has not returned yet.

These sources also claim that there is no direct contact between Nawaz Sharif and the establishment so far. The second-tier leadership of the PML-N in general is also clueless about what Nawaz Sharif is thinking and whether he is in contact with those who matter to discuss his return.

However, PML-N leader and former National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq’s statements, issued after his recent meetings with Nawaz Sharif in London, raised many eyebrows and raised the political temperature.

Ayaz Sadiq recently said that Nawaz Sharif has decided to return to Pakistan soon. When asked in an interview with Geo News, he said, “I don’t know what it will be, but I assure you that something big, like a bang, is going to happen soon.” He added, “It would happen all of a sudden, and you won’t see it happening slowly and gradually.”

When asked about rumours that Nawaz Sharif is holding meetings and dialogues with certain non-political forces in London, Ayaz Sadiq confirmed such meetings but claimed ignorance about the agenda and content of the meetings.

“Yes, they are meeting Nawaz Sharif because they have realized that bringing the PTI into power has turned out to be a failure. They are also withdrawing their support to the government and meeting Nawaz Sharif because the PML-N has its vote-bank intact,” the PML-N leader told Geo News.

Last week, a key military source, asked about ‘deals’ with special reference to Asif Ali Zardari’s statement, had told this correspondent that Zardari should name the person who had contacted him on behalf of the establishment and sought his help in forming a future set-up. The source had lamented that every now and then statements are made and hints are given about deals (with the establishment), which is both unfortunate and irresponsible.

Like in Zardari’s case, Ayaz Sadiq’s statement has also triggered widespread speculation about a ‘deal’ between Nawaz Sharif and the establishment. There is no confirmation of this from any other side, however.

Interestingly, the statements of Ayaz Sadiq received a tacit endorsement from Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was quoted by information minister Fawad Chaudhry as having said that that new ways were being devised to revoke former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification. The prime minister responded that if convicted persons had to be released, then the doors of all jails should be thrown open.

The information minister did not explain who in the prime minister’s view is devising new ways to revoke Nawaz Sharif’s conviction. Meanwhile, an informed PML-N leader when contacted said on condition of not being named that he could not explain the basis for Ayaz Sadiq’s “disclosures”. He said that there are indeed indirect contacts, but they do not offer anything concrete or what Nawaz wants.