- Secretiveness breeds suspicions
No explanation was given either by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz or by former prime minister Nawaz for their Saudi visit. Being public figures the matter was bound to rouse curiosity and lead to speculation. Politicians in the opposition soon started sharing their conclusions with the public. Addressing pressers separately both Imran Khan and Khursheed Shah hinted at the possibility of the two Sharifs trying to eke out some sort of reprieve from the ongoing corruption references through an NRO. Shah had rightly stressed that it would be worrisome if the visit was aimed at resolving domestic matters with the help of a foreign country.
Shahbaz Sharif has now sent defamation notices to two news channels over fake claims regarding the Saudi visit. He could have instead ended all speculation by revealing the reasons behind the visit. There must have been some pressing need that led an otherwise busy chief minister to remain absent from the province for nearly a week. Former PM Nawaz Sharif was paying a second unexplained visit to the kingdom in three months. Last time Nawaz had changed his plan to return to Lahore from London and flew to Jeddah instead after friends there reportedly assured him that they would arrange his meetings with certain influential people. The mission failed to come off despite several days of stay in the kingdom. The jubilant tweet by Maryam shows Nawaz has finally managed to get audience with the Saudi Crown Prince after having been put on the waiting list for two days. This does not add to the dignity of a former PM.
Had the two gone to Saudi Arabia on a mission that concerned the country or its people, they could have explained it before the visit or through a press conference on return. The consistent secretiveness indicates the visit had nothing do with the country. The only conclusion one is forced to draw is that they were on a mission of a purely private nature which if revealed would embarrass them or harm the two leaders politically.