THE conviction of thrice-elected prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter for possessing assets beyond means has set a precedent for holding anyone guilty of similar charges accountable.
There is no rocket science involved in uncovering the identities of those who own farm houses, luxury apartments and grand houses built here and abroad. The fact that the Federal Board of Revenue has failed to hold them accountable for decades has promoted corruption and tax evasion.
The law must be applied equally to everyone; otherwise the National Accountability Bureau’s verdict would be regarded as selective accountability.
Pakistan is a country on the verge of debt default, yet if you venture into the vast gated housing communities and numerous golf courses that have erupted in the big cities, it seems as if the country is part of the First World.
There are two types of Pakistan: one where the affluent beneficiaries of state-allotted welfare and tax amnesty schemes and pension emoluments higher than salary live comfortably; the other where the majority of the 200 million live without adequate water, electricity, healthcare, education, and security of life or property.
NAWAZ Sharif was fashioned into a politician by Gen Ziaul Haq. Many a time he claimed that the dictator was his mentor and guru. He unconditionally supported his mentor’s institution throughout his political career.
For the last one year however, he has been openly targeting that very institution and a few judges as well. His speeches would seem to strengthen democracy, particularly in Punjab. What he says about the prevailing system of governance, and against the establishment and its role in the affairs of the state, were proven to be true by some of our diehard political leaders in the past.
Now he is a powerful voice from Punjab striving for a democratic system and strong democratic institutions. Though there were and are many figures in Punjab fighting for democracy, a major part of Punjab was ever for democracy in the past. Now, almost all of Punjab seems united on this issue. Mr Sharif deserves credit for his struggle for democracy, for which he has made great sacrifices.
Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2018
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