In Pakistan’s street cricket, the boy who owns the bat calls all shots. He is captain, batsman, bowler and umpire; all in one. Pakistan’s disqualified prime minister played his street cricket on Nisbat Road Lahore as all in one. This innate childhood characteristic continues to frame Nawaz Sharif’s present disposition and his cricket with Pakistan’s future.
According to Syed Jawaid Iqbal of Al Arabia, “it seems Nawaz Sharif has mapped out in his convoluted mind the impression that Pakistan does not have a future and if he is deprived of the privilege to become prime minister again, or even the right to lead his party, then there is no point for Pakistan to exist”. This is a very serious assertion but very close to the truth.
It emerges he is neither a statesman nor a politician endearing interests of Pakistan; rather an individual who has exploited opportunities and situations all his life. He reflects a combination of fear, frustrations and desires of early life dependence turn to rigidity, aggression, and aversion to counsel. He embodies disobedience and socialisation within a select group of courtiers.
This is how Nawaz Sharif has evolved from the street cricket of Nisbat Road through the cradles of General Zia, General Jilani, General Aslam Beg, General Jehanghir Karamat and General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.
His is a form of adaptation by narrowing and distorting the environment until one’s conduct appears adequate to it. He is not the one who would alter conduct and enlarge knowledge to cope with the larger and real environment. He will drag down everything with him.
Motorways, interchanges, flyovers, metro buses and orange trains are a reflection of his delusional dreams.
Having finally fallen out of favour, the military-intelligence establishment is irrelevant to his grandiose self.
Some are born leaders, others are situational and the most dangerous, opportunists engineered and thrust on the people. Nawaz Sharif belongs to the last category who was allowed amassing political power with the help of establishment for many years. From 1979 to present, a time continuum represents his desires and politics of ‘my way or no way’. He has compromised national interests in the past and will do so in future.
Selected and groomed in the shadows of a strong and patronising military-intelligence establishment for over 25 years, the recent seventeen testify his ability to get back with the patronage of international intervention. His present conduct is an aspersion on the military establishment that negotiated the reconciliation ordinance and how ignorant they were of him, before propelling him to unbridled power for the third time. The lesson, ‘once bitten twice shy’ was ignored repeatedly.
I had a very poor view of him as a statesman and a leader. In 1998, it was Youm e Takbeer that convinced me that the man returned to power with an absolute majority in 1997 was unfit to lead Pakistan. The Prime Minister and the Finance Minister were reluctant on nuclear testing. The Service Chiefs and the Foreign Minister finally prevailed. But Nawaz was quick to take revenge.
The decision to go nuclear was preceded by many studies. One of the most important conclusions was that economically, Pakistan had to put its house in order. A replication of the role of armed forced in 50s and 60s, an imaginative and practical plan for the role of armed forces in national development was made. It included irrigation, building of dams, reclaiming waste lands, education, health, technical training schools and energy. These plans would see Pakistan through if more sanctions were imposed.
The message went unnoticed by the prime minister and his finance minister. Both knew they had not had ‘their way’. It followed that rather than ride the wave of national euphoria and pride, driving an impetus of high national morale and providing the leadership in crises; he ‘out of blue’ froze more than 11 billion US dollars of foreign currency accounts. Overnight banks were instructed to keep open. Money was laundered out of Pakistan misusing the Economic Reforms Act 1992. Rather than make Pakistan self-reliant, the action plummeted Pakistan into its worst economic crises. The rupee devalued and Pakistan’s economy sunk. Overseas Pakistanis lost trust in the government and stopped making remittances. Pakistan came under more sanctions. I termed it ‘the unkindest cut of them all’.
This was his sweet revenge against the military establishment for not having ‘his way’ and putting lives of hundreds of millions of Pakistanis into misery.
Connected to Pakistan’s national security, the freezing of FCAs indicates the lows of vengeance. It is only recent through Panama Papers that this daylight heist of Pakistan’s economy is revealed. So we cannot single out Nawaz Sharif for blame. Also guilty are the flawed priorities of the establishment that facilitated him to power for the third time.
Earlier the same prime minister had orchestrated an attack on Supreme Court, claimed scalps of Chief Justice and the President and months later the COAS who ironically got him majority and who over ruled him to make Pakistan a nuclear power.
Even the Deterrence Theory is built on a very strong factor of political will. With him or his handpicked cronies in power, it makes a mockery of nuclear credibility. Moreover, he never rejects Indian atrocities in held Kashmir and maintains a mysterious silence on Kulbhushan Jadhav. Do not be surprised when he comes up one day with his twist of a version.
IK Gujral admitted Nawaz Sharif had provided him details about five terrorists who had been arrested with Stinger missiles in the Kashmir Valley. Lahore declaration on visit of Indian prime minister proved, he was closer to India than to the Pakistani establishment. As a run up to the NRO his backing assumed a new dimension with support from USA and UK.
A puppet cannot dance without strings. A man who has forever lived in the shadows of an establishment can never thrive out of it.
He has now manoeuvred himself into a position where his accusations against the military establishment, resonate US and Indian concerns over terrorism. Such admissions coming from a sitting and disqualified prime minister fit into an anti-Pakistan narrative against the armed forces. As his repeated statements indicate, he will play the roulette he thinks he can win with international support. According to Aitzaz Ahsan, a game seems to be going on aimed at changing the very face of the region of which Pakistan is a part. Unfortunately the first level of this game is being led by Nawaz Sharif, a segment of media, pseudo liberals, and forces of sub nationalism. He is trying his best to engineer a Chaos that targets the armed forces. For how long would the Intensity of his emotive desires over rule national interests of Pakistan?
Next few weeks will see the bull in a china shop go berserk. He will take shot at the Judiciary, National Accountability Bureau, Military and the Intelligence. He will try in tandem with his puppeteers to shape an environment of chaos and anarchy. He will challenge the military to catch him if it can. He will go to any degree and keep asking, Muje Kiyun Nikala (why did you disqualify me).
n The writer is a political economist and a television anchorperson