Remember when we told you that Nawaz Sharif’s babbling against India is nothing but a diversion from his antics at home? We told you to forgive the Pakistani Prime Minister because he is not just a puppet in the hands of his army, he is also a former exile who must now save his seat.
On Thursday night, Nawaz Sharif proved that he is one of those crafty political actors who value their power more than their country.
The Sharif government first banned any kind of political rally in the country for two months – yes, two whole months!
He imposed Section 144 to thwart any attempt by the Opposition to assemble against him.
And on the same night, Sharif put his main rival Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan in a virtual house arrest.
Law enforcement officials have laid siege on Khan’s residence and not allowing anyone to enter or exit it.
Of course, a livid Imran Khan, whose party has been a relentless campaigner against the Sharif government, said that he will go on a nation-wide protest by November 2.
I want all Pakistanis to come to Isl on 2nd Nov – this is a fight for Pakistan’s future; for democracy’s future & for a corruption-free Pak.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 27, 2016
“Is this a kingdom or a democracy? What crime have we committed? Why did they stop me from going to Rawalpindi?” he asked outside his Bani Gala residence.
According to Imran Khan, what Sharif is doing is “government terrorism”.
And the PTI chief is not the only one against Sharif. Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid too joined his voice in condemning the clampdown on the opposition leaders, parties and their members.
Sharif has also sealed Rashid’s home preventing him from staging a rally on Friday.
Rashid says that he will “tear Section 144 into 144 pieces”.
“Congratulations, Nawaz Sharif, congratulations Shahbaz Sharif! You have started the game, now we will make sure you meet your end,” Rashid added.
Dozens of PTI supporters have already been arrested by the police in Pakistan.
But why is Sharif coming down so heavily on his Opposition?
The reason is because the Opposition wants him to step down after the massive Panama Papers leak in which the Prime Minister’s children have been named.
On October 20, just days before Sharif’s hard response, the Pakistani Supreme Court issued notice to the Prime Minister and his family members in the Panama Papers case. One of the petitions demanding Sharif step down was filed by Imran Khan.
The names of Sharif’s children are among other prominent names from around the world holding illegal offshore properties. While the Opposition is coming perilously close to his chair, Sharif is making all the right moves to stay relevant in Pakistani politics, namely go anti-India on full throttle and keep China happy. The moves will help pump up the nationalistic sentiment in his country and keep his boat afloat at least for some time.