‘Someone’ Has Got Nothing to Do with Panama Papers

29 Apr

By:Aasef Chauhdry

Whether somebody agrees or not but the fact remains that the Panama Papers leak has put Mian Nawaz Sharif on the back foot; as the prime minister as well as an individual. It was beyond his farthest imagination that his family’s off-shore companies’ details would be revealed some day. Thanks to his aides and well-wishers and advisers who advised him only to land in further trouble. Then some real sincere suggested him to avoid the public’s demand and instead start touring the strongholds just to divert the attention from the opposition’s demand. Hence, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif decided to address people through public meetings for which he has already kicked off. The public contact campaign started from Kotli Sattiyan, Murree Hills two days back. During this political tour the development projects will also be inaugurated. It was followed by a rally in Mansehra today where he announced different projects also.

According to the analysts, the PM has decided to start the public contact campaign in the wake of increasing pressure from the opposition parties after the Panama leaks. In a related development, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party head Mehmood Khan Achakzai called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at his office last week. According to reports, Panama leaks, formation of a judicial commission and other national issues came under discussion at the meeting. Although, Prime Minister Sharif announced in a televised address to the nation about writing a letter to the chief justice of Pakistan to constitute a judicial commission for an inquiry into the offshore companies owned by his family and the allegations of money laundering against his family members, however, the opposition has out rightly rejected the forming of any such commission, terming it as a total eye-wash and attention diverting tactics. The Opposition while rejecting the proposed commission alleged that they were not consulted on terms of reference of the commission.

As a PM Nawaz Sharif has a right to tour any part of the country that he is heading as a prime minster, however the timings and the contents of his speeches are raising a big question mark. The last time he visited Kotli Sattiyan was way back when he was Punjab’s chief minister and then during his earlier two tenure as the PM he never thought of visiting this place but now suddenly when there is a big hubbub about Panama Papers, he found it must to visit this forsaken place after 26 years. So would be the case with other places that he would be visiting and announcing projects and grants.

Those who know the PM well might view this latest assault into populism as not much more than an attempt to run interference in response to pressure from opposition parties which are currently champing at the bit in the hope of catching the prime minister or his family up to no good in the foreign property market, courtesy the Panama Papers and they are right to some extent. However, the prime minister playing it quite smartly called the public’s and opposition’s demand to answer the sources of wealth as the attempts of “destabilisation”.

During his address at Mansehra, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif vowed not to let ‘anyone’ sabotage the PML-N government’s agenda of people’s development, and warned his political opponents of the masses’ strong reaction. “I want to tell the leg pullers that if they will create hurdles in the way of Pakistan’s development, the masses will throw them out,” he said while addressing a large public gathering in Dhudhial. The Prime Minister asked his political opponents to fully ponder over before taking any steps, as the masses were not ready to tolerate any hurdle in the way of development. Now this was something worrisome because this was not the first time that he indirectly attacked his so-called unknown opponents. The print and electronic media has openly blamed Nawaz Sharif for alleging the army for what all is happening around him. So there is no mystery if one is seriously interested in identifying that ‘anyone’ or ‘someone’, who is haunting our worthy prime minister.

During both the public meetings, prime minister answered a set of rhetorical questions posed by himself as to the wonders performed by his government over the last three years and some of the crowd shouted “We love you Mr. Prime Minister”. Indeed they may, but when the road show has packed up and left town, mega projects are not going to camouflage the fact that there are hard questions to answer, and the opposition is in no mood to chew the cud in silence. The political analysts are fearing that Nawaz Sharif once again committing a mega blunder thus keeping his past tenures’ tradition up and alive by locking on horns with the establishment. Some are of the view that he is doing this deliberately and purposely while others consider it his ‘ego blunder’. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure that he will have to satisfy the nation about his off-shore companies and the money discreetly transferred abroad; an unpleasant task that he has to perform whether he likes it or not.

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