It seems that any hopes for Nawaz’s reconciliation with the judiciary or following a dignified legal route have been quashed; after the Court announced the reopening of the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case. Nawaz has been advised by many to avoid confrontation, but it seems that the choice has been made for him.
During its investigation into NAB and FIA cases, JIT claims to have uncovered new evidence. New bank accounts were found on the name of Mr. Mukhar Hussain, an employee of Ittefaq Group, and three bank accounts of Saeed Ahmed, a close confidante of Ishaq Dar. Aside from US $0.350 million sent to Shamrock Consulting Corporation, JIT discovered US $3.557 million sent to various companies and individuals in London from 1993-1995. Due to new information uncovered by the JIT, it recommended that the various NAB and FIA cases which had been quashed or delayed be reopened and re-investigated.
The reopening of the cases is deadly news for the Sharif family. It’s about alleged fraud of over 1,242 million—an amount that makes it bigger in scale than Panama Papers case, and is perceived to be a straightforward conviction compared to the convoluted NAB references on the London flats. More importantly, Shahbaz Sharif is also implicated in the case, denting the Sharifs’ Plan B of Nawaz ruling through his brother’s Prime Minister-ship. A conviction in the Hudaibiya paper mills case would be the nail in the coffin for the Sharif’s family which is fast running out of family members without legal proceedings hanging over their head.
For months, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had been going back and forth on what approach to adopt with regards to the Panama case, but now, the path of confrontation seems to be the only one available.
All is not so bleak however; the seed of doubt has been planted in even the most fervent anti-Nawaz supporters, about the democratic character of politics today, especially after Mustafa Kamal’s admission about the role of establishment in brokering a merger between his party and MQM. A tersely worded Supreme Court review judgement and Musharraf’s re-involvement in Pakistan’s politics further assist Nawaz’s narrative of an outside unfair bias against him.
It would seem that the party knows this, its statements after the incident continue to push their conspiracy narrative and their plans to start holding rallies across the province is its only avenue to air these sentiments – this time with more ammunition in hand.