- Mystery deepens
The matter about Nawaz Sharif’s controversial statement – about the 2008 Mumbai attack – is only becoming more confusing with time. After the National Security Council (NSC) meeting yesterday, it seemed everybody including the prime minister rejected Nawaz Sharif’s statement as ‘incorrect and misleading’, even though the former PM was not mentioned by name. But once the present PM met his predecessor shortly afterwards, he laid the blame on the newspaper that published the interview, accusing it of misreporting Nawaz’s statement. Shahbaz Sharif, of course, had made pretty much the same claim a day earlier.
That would seem like the natural fall-back strategy for PML-N. But why did Nawaz then still own his statement? He, in fact, now says he is championing the truth, which is why the so-called establishment is out for his blood. For all intents and purposes though, he is trying to give the impression that his downfall owes to differences with the real powers that be, not charges of money laundering that he could not refute. Yet however much he postures before the public, the verdict will be out sooner rather than later. And going by how he has consistently failed to answer for his assets abroad, or provide that elusive money trail, there is not a bright chance of him avoiding the axe this time.
Also, the strategy of pitting institutions against each other and blaming the judiciary and military of conspiring to throw him out has not worked out too well for the party either. That is why points of difference between Nawaz and Shahbaz are steadily increasing; the latest Mumbai attack controversy being the best example. Shahbaz must, after all, lead the party into the next election. And he must already be feeling Nawaz’s strategy dragging the party back. With big brother in no mood to change course, and the mystery only deepening, it seems Shahbaz will have more explaining to do in the days to come. So far, the only things that can be quantified are that a journalist was specially flown on a government plane to interview a disqualified prime minister, who made a controversial statement which he stands up to but everybody around him denies.