Exile may help ease tension on political and
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Dec 18 - 24, 2000
It was the fine morning of Sunday December 10 when
the headlines flashed about the unceremonial departure of the former
prime minister Nawaz Sharif from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia taking
everyone by surprise. There were mix reactions over his unexpected
good bye to the politics during his ten-year exile. Some were happy
over decision of buying freedom against whatever the cost he paid
while others who were in a shock called it a betrayal on the part of
the exiled leader.
The event took place following the President Rafiq
Tarar pardoned Nawaz Sharif's 25-year jail sentence but exiled the
former prime minister and his family to Saudi Arabia.
According to official announcement, on the advice
of the Chief Executive, the President has pardoned Nawaz Sharif's
remaining jail sentence according to law. The rest of the punishment
awarded by the honorable courts which includes fine; forfeiture of
property and disqualification from public office would remain in
place. Nawaz Sharif and his family exiled to Saudi Arabia. The
decision has been taken in the best interest of the country and the
people of Pakistan, the announcement said.
Those who accompanied by the exiled Nawaz Sharif
include his father Mian Sharif and mother Shamim Akhtar, wife Kulsoom
Nawaz, jailed son Hussain Nawaz, daughter-in-law Saira Hussain,
grandson Zakariya, daughter Mariam Safdar their two kids Mehrunnisa
and Junaid, Abbas Sharif, his wife Safia and two sons Yousuf Abbas and
Aziz Abbas, brother and former chief minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif
his wife Nusrat Shahbaz and daughter Rubab Shahbaz.
A valuation committee, comprising chartered
accountants and a representative of the government would determine the
total worth of industrial units, agricultural land and other assets
surrendered by the Sharif family to clear its liabilities, it is
learnt. Chartered accountants firms have already been identified but
the government has yet to nominate its representative. It is learnt
that Hudaibia Paper Mill and Hudaibia Engineering are the only two
industries concerns surrendered by Ittefaq Group to the government.
The administrative control of both the units was handed over to the
government. Sharif Medical City and Educational Complex is also to be
surrendered. These are welfare projects and are unlikely to be
liquidated. There would however a change in the board of trustees.
Bhopattian farm, agriculture land in Raiwind and Multan and his Model
Town residence has also been attached. Sharif family's much talked
about residence in Jati Umra will however be allowed to retain by
Ramzan Sugar Mill located in Chiniot, Chaudhary
Sugar Mill Gojra and Mehran Ramzan will remain with the Sharif family
and their affairs will be handled by Hamza Shahbaz Sharif. Hamza
Shahbaz will be the only member of the Sharif family who will continue
to live in Pakistan. A large scale reshuffling and lay off of senior
executives of Ittefaq Group is also being taken place.
Though the exciting event was talk of the town for
a few days but was subsided gradually. It is generally felt that his
departure may help easing tense political and economic conditions in
the country. Since the exiled politician was originally belonged to
the business community, it is generally believed that a certain
portion of the business sector having a soft corner for Nawaz Sharif
was not comfortable with the situation. The change of situation may
now help them to concentrate on their business affairs
Although there is some stir on the political front
especially for party leadership in the wake of his departure, the dust
is likely to settle down shortly. Unfortunately, with a few
exceptions, our political parties have failed in institutionalizing
the party affairs. Personality cult has always been the main feature
of the majority of our political parties and Pakistan Muslim League
was not exception to this. Due to lack of democratic norms and values
most of the parties are run by one-man show. People, in general, feel
that this concept of one-man show is also likely to prove in case of
Pakistan Muslim League too.
All said and done, the departure of former prime
minister Nawaz Sharif from Pakistan can of course be described as the
most outstanding event in the political history of Pakistan.
Practically speaking, ever increasing cost of living, harsh economic
conditions, deteriorating buying powers have rendered the people least
interested in political developments. People generally allege that it
is our political leadership responsible for bringing the country at
the verge of economic collapse hence they are fed up with the politics
and the politicians. People are looking for the situation when thing
of daily use would be within their reach. They would be able to pay
the utility bills, which have gone beyond their reach due to unabated
increase in tariffs and constant decline in buying powers.