It is being said that there is a haunted look on Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s face these days. Others have commented that the convicted Prime Minister’s eyes appear as those of a cornered being. I do not doubt these sources, since I have seen these signs in television clips myself. PML N sources insist that their leader is suffering from an ailing heart, but Mr. Sharif’s refusal to be admitted in what is one of the country’s leading Cardiac facility and his daughter’s insistence that his disease can only be treated abroad raises doubts as to intentions, as do statements implying that if anything happens to the former Head of Executive, the PTI leadership will be held responsible. Pakistan possesses some of the finest treatment centers for all and any illness in the books and the one in Lahore is one of them, but perhaps it is not so much a disease that plagues the elder Sharif, as is desperation to escape retribution. It is because of Mr. Sharif’s obstinacy not to be transferred from his jail cell to a hospital room that an ambulance and a team of doctors has been assigned in rotation to be present in Kot Lakhpat Jail on a 24/7 basis. What the former PM and his coterie of ‘faithful’ have overlooked is the fact that the former’s refusal to go to a hospital and the consequent placement of a vehicle and medical team at the jail may have been at the cost of these facilities not being available to an ordinary non VIP sick member of the public.

Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s incarceration and frantic efforts to leave the country have helped pull the ‘PPP cat out of the bag’. With the money laundering case against Mr. Asif Zardari and company acting as the catalyst, Bilawal Bhutto appears to have been given the go ahead by his father to stand shoulder to shoulder with PML N and specifically the Sharif Family ‘in their hour of trial’. By calling on Mr. Sharif in Kot Lakhpat Jail and later talking to the media, Bilawal may have fallen in political esteem. There were many, who looked upon him with hope. He was a young man, who was expected to have imbibed ethics and a conscience, as a result of being Benazir’s son and the quality of his academic mentors, but this was not to be. It would have been wise of him to have taken council from someone sensible within his party, such as Aitezaz Ahsan. All I can say is that the last hope to revive Bhutto’s PPP to its former glory has been squandered by his unwise grandson.

We have time and again witnessed a deeply polarized nation come together in times of crisis and the current standoff with India is no exception. I cannot however pay a similar compliment to our Opposition, whose animosity towards Imran Khan and penchant to sacrifice national interest for petty gain, resurfaced after a brief (perhaps cosmetic) show of solidarity. Nonetheless, while PML N and PPP did condemn Indian aggression, the JUI (F) and ANP remained silent in a despicable lack of patriotism. This meaningful abstinence, when their voices were needed reminded me of the saying “If you are not with us through voice and deed, your silence and inaction tells us, whose side you are on”.

We have often heard the Opposition heap ridicule upon a courageous dispensation, resolved to tackle previously untouchable issues head on. This courage stems from inexperience, which has become a blessing in disguise, for from it flows undisguised truth, absence of selfish expediency and the ability to face odds. All these qualities were manifest in the ongoing post Pulwama crisis, where perhaps for the first time we appear to have checkmated India at its own game. I cannot close this piece, without paying tribute to the men and women defending our borders. These heroes draw added strength from a nation standing solidly behind them to effectively destroy threats to our integrity from within and without. Each night, we fall into grateful slumber in the knowledge that they are awake.