Ousted Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, appears with his daughter Maryam, at a news conference at a hotel in London, Britain July 11, 2018. Image Credit: Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Former Prime Minister and leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz’s choice to remain quiet after their release from Adiala Jail has become a subject of heated debate on social media.

A two-member bench of Islamabad High Court (IHC) some five days ago, on Wednesday, Sep 19, had ordered their release on bail admitting their plea to suspend their conviction by trial court till final adjudication.

Social media users are giving their own explanation to the release and subsequent silence of Sharif and his daughter.

The central point of this intense discussion is whether a deal has been reached between the PML-N and the government/establishment or not for release of Sharif, Maryam and son-in-law Capt (R) Mohammad Safdar or not.

Interestingly majority of those ‘for’ or ‘against’ deaf factor belongs to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) while PML-N supporters have opted to distance themselves from this controversy on social media.

They have instead, it seems, decided to enjoy this debate within the PTI workers and supporters.

PTI’s supporters who are attributing the Sharifs’ release to some deal at the higher level argue that IHC decision was announced at a time when Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet members were on a visit to Saudi Arabia.

In the past too, they argue Saudi Arabia had played an important role in the release of Sharifs during Musharraf era and convinced the former military dictator to free and send them to Saudi Arabia.

In return of Sharifs’ release the Saudi government announced a US$10 billion investment in Pakistan, further argue the proponents of deal.

They further say that it has also been conveyed to Nawaz Sharif and his daughter and other members of the family and the party that they will have to distance themselves from politics and remain silent for a certain period.

The anti-deal debaters are of the view that Prime Minister Imran Khan has carried out a 22-year long political struggle and had always upheld principles of fair play and transparency.

Khan had not faced the odds of all kind only to strike a deal, they say adding it looks all the more a remote possibility especially at a time when Imran Khan is enjoying absolute power and has his men installed at Aiwan-e-Sadr (President House) and Governor Houses in all the four provinces.

Pakistan’s armed forces and democratically-elected government are on the same page and under such circumstance talking of deal doesn’t seem convincing at all.

While talking to Gulf News, senior journalist and columnist Munir Ahmad said Mian Nawaz Sharif’s decision to keep quiet is largely because the death of his wife.

Kulsoom Nawaz died on September 11, only days before his release and Sharif family’s spokesperson and former Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb has also requested the media not to speculate on ‘deal’ or something else as “Sharif family is passing through difficult time after the death of Nawaz Sharif’s wife,” said Munir.

After his release from Adiala jail on Sep 19, 2018, Sharif and Maryam Nawaz and) Safdar have distanced themselves from politics and despite several efforts by media persons have refused to talk to them or issue any statement.

Sharif didn’t even hold meeting with party leaders since then and has through his spokesperson rejected the news stories appearing in Pakistani media that he was planning to organise opposition leaders from Monday Sep 24.

His silence has been a subject of heated debate in political circles as well as on social media.