Quite a few PML-N leaders are in the dock for corruption, amassing wealth beyond their means and plundering national resources; yet NAB has exposed another corruption-related fiasco in which so-called civilian supremacy ruler has been caught red-handed on bribing specific newspaper owners and journalists. This media group instead of making hue and cry on freedom of speech should ask their corporate overlords as to why they were involved in corruption and made nexus with corrupt rulers. Last month, Pakistani media mogul Mir Shakilur Rehman, was arrested on charges of illegally obtaining government land over three decades ago when Nawaz Sharif was the chief minister of Punjab province. Mir Shakilur Rahman, the editor-in-chief of the Jang group which owns some of Pakistan’s widely circulated newspapers and the Geo television network, was arrested on March 12 by the NAB and was in its custody till April 28.
An accountability court on Tuesday sent Rehman to jail on judicial remand till May 12 after the prosecutor said the NAB did not need him anymore for investigation. The NAB alleged that Nawaz Sharif allowed Rahman to illegally acquire more government-owned-land than he was allowed by law. On April 27, the anti-graft body had issued an arrest warrant against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the land corruption case. The 70-year-old supremo of the Pakistan Muslim League is currently in London for, what he claimed, medical treatment. But it is more than five months he has not been admitted for any of the diseases he and a bunch of doctors had diagnosed. In fact, he had maneuvered to create hype in the media that if he is not allowed to leave for treatment abroad, he could die any moment.
National English daily had quoted a NAB official as saying that Mr. Shakil-ur-Rahman was entitled to four acres of land under the Lahore Development Authority’s land exemption policy, but he acquired more than 13 acres, which NAB said this was illegal and amounted to a political bribe. But there were scores of instances when Sharifs tried to bribe generals such as former COAS General Asif Nawaz Janjua; and he had allegedly tried to bribe the judges to get the then chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah removed. They used money, connections and resorted to ruses and subterfuges to be in power corridors and then to remain in power. Shuja Nawaz, younger brother of former army chief Asif Nawaz Janjua in his book ‘Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its army and wars within’ had made startling revelations about the modus operandi of Sharifs.
He stated: “Sharif had invited the army chief over to Lahore for a private meeting but in the course of that meeting asked him to accept a BMW as a token of friendship. Sharif also found that he and the new army chief (Asif Nawaz Janjua) thought differently on most matters. So this was not only the army chief whom Nawaz Sharif tried to bribe but he attempted to bribe the senior commanders of the army”. Nawaz Sharif was at loggerheads with almost every army chief such as Waheed Kakar, Asif Nawaz Janjua, Jehangir Karamat, Pervez Musharraf, Raheel Sharif and lately the incumbent COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Though Sharifs rose to power with the support of the establishment, Nawaz Sharif has been ungrateful to it, and tried to denigrate military such as through Dawn Leaks.
Recently, Shahbaz Sharif in an interview with Sohail Warraich wanted to convey an impression that party’s narrative built over the last five years had obscured the chances of PML-N coming to power after 2018 elections. According to Sohail Warraich, Shahbaz Sharif said not in too many words that one month before 2018 elections he had a meeting with the establishment, in which he was assured that PML-N would form the government in the centre and Punjab province; and even the names of cabinet members were finalized. According to him, two senior journalists had also congratulated him, as if they were privy to the development. Shahbaz Sharif has not commented on the interview; however, PML-N leaders are trying to defend him and term the Sohail Warraich’s story as figment of his imagination. But Sohail Warraich says that he has the proof of what Shahbaz Sharif said, implying that he has the recorded version of his interview.