Maulana Fazlur Rahman, chief of his eponymous faction of the Jamaiat Ulema-i-Islam, has reached out to Nawaz Sharif, the three times former prime minister of Pakistan and perpetual leader of his faction of the Pakistan Muslim League, to convince to sit down with Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman and former president of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari.
The Maulana continues his concerted efforts as Nawaz Sharif has reservations over Zardari’s role in Panama case references and the 2018 general elections. Initially, he had rebuffed the Maulana, and even refused to hear the name, saying that Zardari had deceived him, and it would be more than a mistake to join hands with him.
The Maulana offers the two could meet at a neutral venue, his temporary residence, [his party’s deputy parliamentary leader in the Senate] Sen. Talha Mahmood’s farmhouse].
The Maulana declared, “You and I are not the only ones in trouble. My dear brother Asif is being attacked to force him to agree to repeal the 18th constitutional amendment that empowers provinces, and he owns Sindh. He told me that they tried their best to stop him from coming into power in Sindh. But they failed… because the waderas can’t live without help of the Bhutto sympathy vote.
“They are arresting his friends. The people whom he supported, are facing charges that they laundered money through fake accounts. The Omni Group… Majeed family hounded for, among other things the disappearance of $11 billion from his sugar mills.
“Imran Khan and this chief justice Saqib Nisar are using the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). My brother, Nawaz, the NAB is after you too… after your brother, Shehbaz and his sons, Hamza and Salman.
“Zardari told me that he never asked [then president] Gen. Musharraf for NRO [National Reconciliation Ordinance] and would never need the same from Imran… He said actually President George W. Bush arranged it on his own with the general, and then called him… it would have been bad manners to refuse his offer.
“My dear brother, I disagree with our brother Asif that neither you nor he need each other.
“First, they started with Asif, now they have opened another money laundering front against you. They are saying that you laundered more than six billions rupees through livestock gifts sent to princes in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. They say that during your last year in office, your ten million dollars worth of animal gifts deprived Pakistan of livestock, foreign exchange, customs duties and taxes and all this was laundered through these gifts every year.
“Really, they want to include you as a party in the Rs. 35 billion fake bank accounts scam related to Asif and his sister Faryal [Talpur].”
Nawaz speaks out, “My dear Maulana you know how much of foreign policy Imran knows. I was using animals as a foreign policy medium. I welcomed the Arab sheikhs to hunt our rare and protected animals and birds. Besides that I also gifted them some three thousand live animals… special breed goats, cows, buffaloes, and camels.
“Whatever, you may say about the Arabs, but instead of eating them they sold them because they didn’t need their milk because they don’t drink lassi… even they drink tea without milk! You know these Arabs love my family and me. So as a thank you, when they sold the animals, they would deposit a certain amount in my offshore accounts. Why would I ask them but they have a habit of doing a good turn.”
The Maulana is swift to act, “My brother, we know, no one can touch Asif. He has loyal people. I admire the way [Sindh chief minister] Murad [Ali Shah] dismissed Saqib Nisar’s urging to hand over Asif’s record to the JIT [court-ordered Joint Investigation Team]. But my dear brother Nawaz, do it for my sake. I have not had a restful night since I lost my diesel permits… and definitely the ministerial house I lived in for fifteen years [at taxpayer expense].”
Nawaz offers, “My dear Maulana, you know, two years ago I had open heart surgery in London, and Imran’s people’s scare tactics are very hurtful. You know when I was in school, and anyone teased me as ‘thief’, I would tell Abbaji [father] and he would visit the school principal with some good gift and ask him to punish that boy. This is why when [information minister] Fawad Chaudhry said on TV that he is 100 percent sure that I [Nawaz] would go to prison again; now that my Abbaji is not alive anymore, I asked my lawyers to report this to the NAB court judge. Neither Fawad, nor Imran have any consideration for people with illnesses… my brother Asif always lived in hospital when he was jailed.”
The Maulana cautions, “My brother, Nawaz, not just you, Fawad also said about fifty people will be arrested very soon. These things are very unsettling.”
“Imran has really soiled the atmosphere. We never paid attention to him. He has been shouting about corruption for more that twenty-two years, but now he has the power. You know what Fawad said that about your lawyer, Khwaja Haris, that had he not taken million of rupees fees he would have admitted that you should be jailed.
“I too am apprehensive that tomorrow this NRO may ask why I lived in the ministerial house for fifteen years. Not just that, they may ask that I pay what I owe for all these years. This is scary at best.
“My brother, indeed, you and Asif have called each other names but our cooperation is much needed. We need the APC [all parties conference].
“My brother Asif agrees that this government is a disappointment. His friend Anwar Majeed and his sons are not rupee, but dollar billionaires, and they were denied upper class jail cells and sent to live with common criminals… they refused his own doctor’s statement that he has piles.
“Asif wept that this poor Anwar is being tormented so he breaks down and spill the beans.”
Nawaz finally speaks, “My dear Maulana, inasmuch as I respect you but I will not have a one-on-one meeting with Zardari. But, I will let Hamza [Shahbaz Sharif] and Parveez Rasheed to represent our party in the APC.”
A downcast Maulana getting up to leave, adds, “We must stand as brothers to protect our inherent right to compensation for public service.”