ISLAMABAD: Maryam Nawaz, who has become perhaps the most important PML-N figure after her father with her aggressive and bold style of politics, seems undeterred by all the difficulty the family is going through.
The deposed prime minister’s daughter, who has been sentenced to seven years in jail by an accountability court, returns to the country today (Friday) to face jail.
Maryam, however, says the arrest and jail would not be something new to her as she spent four months under house arrest after military dictator Pervez Musharraf toppled his father’s government in 1999.
She recalled that trials were not something new for the Sharif family, adding that she had spent four months in house arrest in 1999.
“You are punished for standing on the right side of the history,” Maryam said during one of her conversations with this scribe during accountability court hearings.
The question how she was managing routine life, court hearings, and participating in party affairs led her to say “what do you learn from routine life? You learn the best experiences in tough times”. For her, “a common man’s wisdom is the best”.
In response to the question how does it feel to be standing with her father at this crucial moment, especially when the general notion is that brothers usually endure such burden, she was of the view that there should be no difference between genders.
She admitted that at the moment her brothers were fulfilling her responsibilities while she was fulfilling their tasks. “But, I am blessed to be standing with my father,” she said.
Commenting on the NAB’s references, Maryam shared that “artificial things go in dustbin and history always reverses wrong decisions”.
Subsequently, she gave the example of the plane hijacking case wherein her father was convicted by an anti-terrorism court (ATC).
On April 6, 2000, as reported in Dawn, an ATC in Karachi had awarded life sentence to Sharif and acquitted all other accused of hijacking a plane carrying former army chief Pervez Musharraf and 198 other passengers and the Sindh High Court had upheld the conviction on Oct 10, 2000, while turning down a state appeal demanding death sentence.
“History vindicates you. You should try to stand on the right side of history,” she said.
As we spoke, she said, several months had passed and she hadn’t visited her mother. Maryam said she along with her father was managing things with the help of their family. In a sad tone, she said, cancer has reappeared and radiation process would take a month more.
Commenting on alleged bias of judges in the Sharif family’s cases, she said, internationally judges recuse themselves when there is a slightest of indication of being biased but that is not the case here. “Norms of justice say that you recuse when an element of biasness is involved,” she said.
Giving an example, she said, forensic expert Robert Radley examined the scanned copies of the trust deeds, did not see the original and gave his opinion. “Does this happen [in any other part of the world]?” she questioned, adding the report he prepared was produced on Saturday and handed over on Sunday.
During one of the Panama leaks hearings, the Supreme Court had enquired from the Sharif family’s lawyer how come the “Trust Deed” between Maryam Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz was signed on February 4, 2006, (Saturday) in a country where it was not possible to seek official appointments on a holiday.
“No one even receives a call on holiday, how it is possible,” Justice Azmat Saeed had remarked.
During cross examination, Radley initially informed the court that Monday to Friday are his working days and later admitted that his report does not reflect when it was delivered. “As far as I can recall it was Sunday on 09.07.2017 when the report was delivered,” Radley had admitted.
When asked what if the court convicts her and her father, Maryam had said people’s court is always more important. Apart from people’s court, she hoped that Sharifs would emerge vindicated someday by the same court.
To the question if the court acquits her, she said, “Allah ka shukr ada karaingy.”
Throughout the conversation she remained determined, composed and spoke freely.
In the meanwhile, her spectacled father continued to read newspaper but noticing what was being asked and what she was replying.
Referring to the steel trunks labeled ‘evidence’ that JIT head Wajid Zia would bring on every hearing in the courtroom, Maryam said prosecution has built the case on the basis of the documents they provided in courts and before the JIT.
To another question if there was any chance she may produce original documents in her defence before the court, she replied that trust deeds were old documents and whatever was available has already been produced. She added that NAB couldn’t produce any material yet.
To the expected court’s decision, Maryam said, “We have been standing trial in courts and though convicted but have later been exonerated as well.”
When asked if it was a notion or something concrete behind it when Rana Sanaullah issued the statement expressing that Sharif would be made prime minister again, she said maybe it was just a notion at that moment but it could be turned into a reality at an appropriate time.
When asked if she would take part in the upcoming elections, she said party would decide about her election. When pointed out that ‘party’ [Nawaz Sharif] was sitting right next to her, she smiled and repeated ‘yes, [this] party’.
“I think this is enough for today,” spectacled Sharif finally said while putting down the paper.