LAHORE - Three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif returned from London to Pakistan on July 13 to court arrest after being convicted by an accountability court in Avenfield property reference. Along with his daughter and son-in-law, he has been lodged in Adiala jail.
Thereafter a new controversy started about the entitlement of the former chief executive of the country and the actual conditions he has been made to face in prison.
The same day (July 13) a large number of PML-N workers were arrested in Lahore as PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif led a rally to express solidarity with the former premier, who is also his elder brother. The security forces stopped the rally participants long before the airport. Cases were registered against important party leaders in Lahore and other cities under sections dealing with terrorism and incitement of violence.
Both the developments took place in only six weeks after the PML-N served out its constitutional term.
Three-time Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif has always claimed that he has rendered unmatched services to the province and brought about revolutionary changes in various fields, police department being one of them.
He claims that he has reformed the police culture, after which police are much more law-abiding than ever before.
July 13 happenings in Lahore and other cities were the first test of the reformed police and the prisons department’s adherence to law.
If the police are really reformed, then one would have to admit that right sections of law have been invoked while registering cases against the PML-N rally participants. In this case the PML-N leaders should have no objection whatsoever. But if the PML-N leaders think that the police transgressed their limits and invoked such laws as could land the rally participants in greater trouble, then the reform claim stands challenged.
Likewise, either the Adiala jail authorities are giving the former prime minister all facilities he is entitled to, or the PML-N leaders would have to admit their failure to change the mindset of those working in this department.
The fact is that the police are incorrigible and no government has been able to bring about slightest change in their working. Police carry out legal as well as illegal orders of the sitting governments, after which the rulers form an unrealistic opinion that the so-called law-enforcers deal with all people the same way. But this is not the case.
Several years ago, an important PML-N leader from South Punjab was kept at Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore.
The writer, accompanied by a friend, visited him.
During the meeting, the leader very proudly said that whenever he wants to talk to his leaders, who were in another country at the time, he just goes on the rooftop at night and talks to them for as long as he wants. The leader was not supposed to keep a cell phone with him, jail authorities were not supposed to allow him to keep the phone or facilitate his contacts in a foreign country. On the other hand, leaders on the other end, knowing that the caller was in jail, were not supposed to receive his calls.
This should fully explain how law-abiding our leaders are, who want the police to follow law. If police violate law, they take political leaders as their role model.
It is the common man who suffers at the hands of police or the prison department.
A former deputy speaker of National assembly was once arrested in some case. Handcuffed, he was brought to the Lahore High Court. The court proceedings continued till dusk. As the matter was adjourned to some other date, police cops took him to the place he was supposed to be kept at. Only metres away from the courtroom, the former deputy speaker distributed currency notes among all cops, obviously as a ‘fee’ to get better treatment from them. None of the cops said no to the leader, whose party is again determined to eradicate corruption from society. (The writer being a court reporter then had witnessed all this).
Nothing would change unless the political leaders change themselves first.