A trifle relieved Nawaz Sharif, the three times former prime minister of Pakistan and perpetual head of his eponymous faction of the Pakistan Muslim League, that the Supreme Court, hearing the petitions filed by the National Accountability Bureau challenging the suspension sentences given to him and his daughter Maryam Nawaz has adjourned until Nov. 6, has called his party leaders for consultation at his Jati Umra estate.
Son-in-law Captain Safdar, whose prison term was only one year, has been let off.
However, the situation remains dreary.
Present are daughter Maryam and son-in-law, nephew Hamza Shehbaz, who is also leader of the opposition in the Punjab provincial assembly, former prime minister and member of National Assembly (MNA) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former information minister and Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, former Punjab law minister and MNA Rana Sanaullah, party president Raja Zafarullah, former information minister and MNA Maryam Aurangzeb, her father, former minister for climate change and Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan, and former foreign minister MNA Khawaja Mohammad Asif.
The mood is somber at best.
Nawaz Sharif, who has let the froth die away on his tall glass of lassi, starts the proceeding reading from his cards, “You all heard what Imran Khan said in his speech today that there would be no NRO [National Reconciliation Ordinance, the vehicle former president Gen. Pervez Musharraf created at then President George W. Bush’s insistence to absolve Benazir Bhutto and husband Asif Zardari of their corruption charges.]
“It is really disappointing. May God bless the soul of our dear late King Abdullah who made Musharraf let me go unharmed, and also gave me a palace to live. I tell you such people are not born every day!
“This King Salman is so old… and his son, I think most people call him MBS… Mushahid, you tell me is he a doctor or what? Like MBBS?
“I can’t believe it that this boy, MBS, gave Imran the deferred amount of $12 billion without asking him to give NRO to my family. Has this Saudi love died with King Abdullah? Also, my brother [former president and Pakistan People’s Party co-chairman] Asif Zardari and his family need an NRO too… not a thought for us, two widowers.
“Mushahid, I heard that you used to play cricket… I don’t think that MBS knows anything about cricket, so what did he find attractive in Imran to give him so much money?
“Not only that, [Khawaja] Asif, you have been foreign minister, and you know how dear this Yemen war is to MBS, and one whom they call MBZ [Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of UAE armed forces] and in fact, President Trump. Yes, I saw it myself on the American Fox TV. Despite this, Imran told MBS that he would be playing a mediatory role in Yemen instead becoming a party to the conflict. I know this was part of the previous Parliament’s Yemen Resolution but neither I, nor Shahid Khaqan ever push this mediatory role, because we knew some beautiful friends love this war.”
Khawaja Asif quickly supports his leader’s view, “Does anyone in the room see any sense of foreign policy in Imran? He even announced that he wants to bring all Muslim countries together by helping to resolve their conflicts. You know he even telephoned [Malaysian prime minister] Mahathir Muhammad and they both discussed regional peace. Is there any money in such things, I ask? Will Trump or [British prime minister Theresa] May like their arms sales to stop!
“Our leader [Nawaz] pursued a policy of brotherly love and Imran is destroying it!”
Nawaz once again declares, “You are right. This MBS is young boy and may be he got impressed by Imran’s English and gave him all this money!”
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who had earlier served as minister for petroleum and natural resources, offers, “And Imran is letting the Saudis put a refinery at Gwadar, and there is no news of him getting any share in it. Doesn’t he have two sons? My friends, this man, Imran is spoiling these Gulf Arabs. Now they will want everything for free from others. Mian Nawaz would have at least put [sons] Hasan and Hussain, if not Maryam and Asma, on the refinery’s board.”
Maryam Aurangzeb angrily asks, “Did you hear Imran about microfinancing? He said more women then men pay back loans and they will be involved in microfinancing for his flagship housing program’s bottom tier beneficiaries. I mean this is cruel. [Pakistan Peoples Party senator] Sherry Rehman’s husband is expert in this field… he has set up and bankrupted a few of such banks. If we are cooperating with Asif Zardari, we needed such incentives… like directing all such loans through Sherry’s bank. He is doing all this when he knows that our leader has sent a message of reconciliation to his brother Asif through [Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl chief] Maulana Fazlur Rehman.”
Mushahid joins the conversation, “Indeed, Maryam [Aurangzeb] is right, we need incentives if we want to get Asif Zardari’s support. You know that next, Imran is visiting Malaysia and China and will bring more cash from there, and then he has invited MBZ to visit him… again more cash.”
Nawaz heartlessly pushes aside his still untouched glass of lassi, and whimpers, “You mean so much money! At this rate nothing will be left for me if Saudis keep giving it all to Imran Khan.”