Maryam Nawaz made a comeback to the political spotlight but it was unlike what most had expected. NAB had summoned the presumed PML-N political heir for questioning in a land case involving the Sharif family.
Maryam had the blessings of her father as she headed to NAB offices in the form of a procession. PML-N workers had already been instructed to gather there and welcome her. What ensued next was complete chaos and mayhem as PML-N workers protested outside the bureau’s office and clashed with police, prompting the anti-graft watchdog to call off the hearing.
The government has expressed outrage over the behaviour of PML-N workers, claiming that the protests were carefully orchestrated to prevent Maryam’s appearance. Even NAB has deplored the hooliganism and rowdiness outside its office. Political opponents have instead blamed the police for displaying excessive use of force and even claimed that Maryam’s vehicle was attacked.
It would be hard to decipher whether the attack was preplanned as bags of stones were spotted in a vehicle and pelted at the police. The incident gave Maryam Nawaz an opportunity to break her silence for months and once again criticize the prime minister. She also lashed out at NAB for summoning and not hearing her and said the government was afraid of the party’s growing popularity.
Maryam certainly had the blessings of her father Nawaz Sharif when she decided to appear before NAB but the rift with Shehbaz Sharif has been widened and even more exposed. She has still not overcome that time spent in jail and still seeks political vengeance. Maryam has blamed Shehbaz Sharif for being behind her arrest and attempting to take over the party.
Opposition parties are still not unanimous over holding an All-Parties Conference to discuss strategies for the ouster of the government. Maulana Fazlur Rehman was active and brought Bilawal on board but Shehbaz Sharif seems disinterested in any agitation. The rumours that Nawaz went abroad over a purported deal rather than illness are now growing ground. Shehbaz wants Imran’s government to complete its term to guarantee the PML-N’s political survival.
It needs to be seen if Maryam will continue with her narrative or return back to political hibernation. If she returns to the limelight, it would be another challenge to Imran Khan’s government.