With speculations of Shahbaz Sharif being the next prime minister, it is disappointing that he has seemingly taken up pointless conflicts, such as his tirade against the Khatam-e-Nubawat clause and now, with the National Accountability Bureau. (NAB) After Shahbaz criticized NAB as a “hub of corruption” in a speech before students, the NAB chairman, Javed Iqbal has hit back at Shahbaz.

It is unsure what Shahbaz is trying to achieve here. With his brother about to hear cases in the accountability court, it makes sense to pre-emptively secure him by raising allegations against NAB in case of a negative verdict. However, Shahbaz’s lament against NAB for favouritism and corruption rings insincerity since NAB has been criticized intensely for being soft on Nawaz. The JIT report recounted more than twenty corruption cases of Nawaz being delayed by NAB. While Shahbaz’s criticism of NAB as a tool by Musharraf is accurate, he is treading on a slippery slope, as NAB’s constant forgiving of Nawaz’s alleged corruption is a memory still too fresh.

Javed Iqbal’s retort also hits the mark, as his tenure is of yet untested, thus it does not do to criticize it as yet. The last NAB chairman was Sharif’s own man, as Javed Iqbal very correctly pointed out that the criticisers did not do much to curtail “scourge of corruption” when their own chairman was in power.

Moreover, who does Shahbaz aim to target with his harsh criticism of NAB? Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) cannot hope to pin this on their favourite rival, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI), after PTI was unsuccessful in bidding their own opposition leader to replace Khurshid Shah. Anyway, the choosing of the NAB chairman is cooperation between the government and the opposition, so perhaps Shahbaz should have had a word with the party leaders before impliedly attacking the chairman.