Why PTI government is suddenly becomes so keen to bring back Nawaz Sharif?

 Both sides are playing politics on Nawaz Sharif

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif went to London for medical treatment from his London based doctors who conducted several cardiac procedures in the past. The Islamabad High Court (IHC) grant 8 weak long  bail on medical grounds. The Lahore High Court bench allowed the Nawaz Sharif to go abroad for medical treatment. The Court directed the applicant to approach Punjab government to extend the stay abroad. Federal government removed Nawaz Sharif's name from Exit Control List (ECL) to allow him to leave the country. 
It all happened almost 10 months ago. There was a silence on this front for more than 09 months. Suddenly, a picture of Nawaz Sharif walking on the street in London along with his son went viral. The government ministers including Prime Minister Imran Khan reacted strongly on this picture and raised questions on the illness of Nawaz Sharif . Some ministers even said that medical reports of Nawaz Sharif were tempered. His illness was not as serious as the reports shown. 
The question is that why  the government all of a sudden becomes so keen to bring him back. Why the government which remained silent about Nawaz Sharif's health and treatment suddenly sprung into action and announced to use all the legal means possible to bring the former prime minister back to Pakistan to serve the remaining period of his jail sentence.
There seems two reasons for this sudden change of mood of PTI government. One reason seems to be the decision of the Nawaz Sharif to play the role of an aggressive opposition. The phone calls made by Nawaz Sharif to Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman and PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari regarding the All Parties Conference (APC) of opposition parties did not went well with PTI government. Government is not seems happy over the political activity of former prime minister. When Nawaz Sharif was silent in London, PTI government remained silent on his long absence from Pakistan. As soon as he started playing active role in the party, the government suddenly realised that nawaz Sharif went abroad on tampered medical reports.  

Mian Nawaz Sharif wants convening of a multi-party conference APC of the opposition at the earliest. Although mainstream opposition parties — the PML-N, PPP and JUI-F — maintain that they are in talks with each other to finalise the agenda of the APC, the PML-N has reportedly conveyed Nawaz Sharif’s wish to the PPP and JUI-F leadership to evolve a ‘mutual agenda’ to give tough time to the government after Muharram.

The former prime minister thinks that the time has come to take on the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government more aggressively. For this purpose, the PML-N leadership will have to charge up workers to play its part in any joint opposition move in coming days. 

The Nawaz Sharif has conveyed to the party leadership in Pakistan to ‘fully cooperate’ with the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief in this regard. The PML-N is ready to fully cooperate with Maulana Fazlur Rehman and will not disappoint him this time.

The Maulana Fazal  is not happy with the PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party for ‘ditching’ him last minute before his party’s Islamabad sit-in in October last year and for recently extending support to the PTI government on FATF-related legislation.

PML-N leadership believes that PM Imran Khan is using NAB to put pressure on them. They believe that establishment is not behind the recent case of land transfer against Maryam Nawaz. That is why, PML-N decided to show street power to NAB and Government.

Since there was no violation of ‘understanding’ with the powers that be from Maryam Nawaz after her father’s departure to London in November last, the new land acquisition case against her has been initiated at the behest of PM Khan, who is not in a mood to spare the Sharif family,” said a PML-N insider, adding that the Sharifs were not sure if the powers that be had any role in opening a new NAB investigation against Maryam Nawaz.

As per ‘understanding’ between the powers that be and the Sharif family, Maryam Nawaz was to proceed to London to look after her father, but PM Khan’s reported annoyance over Nawaz Sharif’s departure prevented her from leaving the country. However, there are reports that Maryam Nawaz has stayed in the country to see through the ‘understanding’ with Nawaz Sharif.

Even though, PTI ministers on daily basis claims that APC and a united opposition alliance is not a matter of concern for the government. But they know very well that such alliance could pose problems to the government. Government wants to see a disunited opposition.  

The second reason seems that PTI government wants to diminish the impression of deal with PML-N. The PTI supporters are raising the questions on accountability process. PTI wants to satisfy its angry supporters. It wants to give the impression that it is still hard on the corruption and not ready to spare any corrupt leader and politician.

PTI also trying to create the impression that it is not involved in the any deal with Nawaz Sharif. Government ministers like Shaikh Rashid are openly saying that Nawaz Sharif went abroad as the result of a deal. PM's Advisor on accountability and interior Shahzad Akbar also referred to powers that be in a press conference on the question of deal. 

PTI wants to distance itself from the question of deal or understanding. The government is using the Nawaz Sharif's presence abroad to strengthen the impression that it will not spare any one involved in corruption.  

The PTI government knows well that it is not easy to bring back Nawaz Sharif from London. But all the claims and rhetoric to bring back Nawaz Sharif is simply to satisfy own supporters. 

                                                                            Khalid Bhatti  

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