It’s Saturday, 4am and the world has just watched an incredible game of football at the World Cup. Well, almost everyone. Wong Chen, the Subang MP, updated his Facebook after the game about how he missed the game and only managed to catch the highlights. He also mentioned the case of former Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif, who finds himself in the middle of Pakistan’s biggest ever corruption scandal.
Nawaz Sharif has just been sentenced to 10 years in jail after being found guilty of corruption. He was removed from being Pakistan’s PM back in 2017 because of the scandal, and after investigation he’s finally going behind bars.
Seeing how we’re definitely professional journalists and not some random dude being paid to write, we looked up some stuff about the guy and wow, you won’t believe the eerie similarities we found between Nawaz Sharif and our own former PM who’s been accused of corruption. o_O
1. Both ex-PMs got their riches from… the Middle East!
Yep, you read that right. While Najib Razak was famously known for a RM2.6b donation from an Arab donor, Nawaz Sharif actually claims that a Qatari prince was the reason he had the money to get some super expensive flats in London. Super de ja vu!
Pakistan’s anti-corruption court, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), sentenced Nawaz Sharif to 10 years in jail for the purchase of four luxury apartments in Park Lane, London. They got found out when the Panama Papers leak happened a few years ago. Investigators also found there’s no way they’re able to live their lavish lifestyles based on their earnings. In the midst of their panic to explain how they had the wealth to even buy one let alone four of these luxury apartments, they turned to their Arab friends.
Nawaz Sharif claims that he got these apartments in 1980s when he made some business deals with a Qatari prince. His daughter produced the official letter that supposedly proved the existence of the deal, but there was a problem. The letter was dated to February 2006, but used the Calibri font that Microsoft launched in 2007!
With such a bad excuse along with his family members all producing different versions of the story, it’s no wonder then that he and his daughter have been sentenced for corruption. He and his family aren’t the only ones on the losing end of the scandal tho…
2. His party is set to lose the upcoming election
Nawaz Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) – yes, he named it after himself – is currently struggling to put together a good fight for the upcoming Pakistan General Election on July 25. The PML-N have had to suddenly change their election lineup as Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz had been disqualified from the election as she too had been sentenced to time in jail following Nawaz Sharif’s corruption case.
The party itself is also struggling to maintain its popularity, losing a huge majority to be level in the polls with the Pakistan Movement for Justice, a party led by former cricketer Imran Khan. There is however, an unlikely way to win the election: sending Nawaz Sharif to jail. This could help them win the sympathy vote, especially since Nawaz’s wife is severely ill.
While Rosmah isn’t ill and it’s still not clear whether or not Najib is going to jail, our former PM did end up losing the election because of his own corruption scandal. And just like UMNO…
3. Sharif’s party are still backing him despite everything
Hmm… sound familiar?
You got to admire loyalty, and loyal is exactly how the PML-N remain toward Nawaz Sharif despite the whole corruption saga that’s happening. Of course, it helps that the current president of the PML-N is Shehbaz Sharif, Nawaz Sharif’s brother.
Shehbaz Sharif has come out and state that the party rejects the decision. In fact, he has quite literally blamed every other party out there for Nawaz Sharif’s ongoing troubles, from the anti corruption board to both opposition parties.
Imran Khan meanwhile isn’t done just yet. He says that with Nawaz Sharif set to go to jail, he’ll also be taking Shehbaz Sharif to task, calling him just as corrupt as his brother Nawaz.
A former national hero – Imran Khan was a prominent cricketer for the Pakistan national team back in the 80s – returning to the limelight to fight a supposedly corrupt leader and his party in a general election? Well that’s a pretty familiar story, don’t you think?
4. It was a family-run money laundering scandal
In our own 1MDB corruption saga, many members of Najib’s family has been investigated for their role in the corruption. His wife Rosmah, step son Riza Aziz and his son Nazif have all been linked to the massive scandal over the years. And in true ‘ohana means family’ fashion, Nawaz Sharif’s corruption scandal involves a number of his family members too.
The most notable member of the Sharif family involved in the Pakistani corruption saga is his daughter Maryam Nawaz. She famously tried to defend her dad with a letter so badly forged that it used a font created after the letter was supposedly dated to. Her husband Safdar Awan was also sentenced to a year in jail.
On top of the father and daughter, Nawaz Sharif’s two sons Hussain and Hassan are also set to be investigated and trialed. As mentioned earlier, Imran Khan also plans to launch an investigation into Shehbaz Sharif if his party wins the upcoming general election.
The Sharif family aren’t the only politicians that oddly resemble Najib and co
Of course, no discussion about powerful ruling families siphoning away money from the nation is complete without talk of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, whose brutal dictatorship of Philippines also saw plenty of corruption happening. The story of Imelda’s shoes are still synonymous with corrupt leaders, although Rosmah’s affinity for jewelry and handbags may be the new gold standard for corruption.
As for the Sharif family, it remains to be seen what will happen to them. Nawaz could still do an ‘Anwar‘ and go to jail for the political points, or he could remain in London to care for his dying wife. We might want to pay close attention to the Pakistani corruption scandal, for there may be a similar story unfolding on our shores soon.