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Ishaq Dar’s political stunt made him a national embarrassment overnight but is there a bigger picture

Ishaq Dar’s political stunt made him a national embarrassment overnight but is there a bigger picture

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Former finance minister Ishaq Dar, who lives in self-imposed exile in London, appeared on BBC HardTalk, where the programme host Stephen Sackur grilled him about his properties and return to Pakistan in the show’s characteristic interrogative style. He said that these corruption allegations were frequently used as a pretext for political persecution in Pakistan’s history.

Dar, who is banned by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) from TV interviews in Pakistan after he was declared an absconder by the court.

Breaking down the interview or national embarrassment:

Properties:

Sackur pushed Dar for answers relating to the number of properties he owns and why he and Nawaz Sharif will not return to Pakistan

Dar responded with some blank stares and incoherent sentences. Such as 

“It’s all declared in my tax returns. I have my main residence in Pakistan which has been taken over by this regime. I haven’t got too many properties.”

Going back to Pakistan:

Sackur threw another million dollar question: why does he not go back to Pakistan to make his case in court? 

To which Dar replied, 

“I am here for medical treatment for almost three years [as] my lawyers represent me in court.”

Side note, Ishaq Dar’s medical condition is still unknown. 

PML-N’s credibility:

While discussing Nawaz’s stance on the 2018 election, Sackur said, “You and he [Nawaz] put yourselves forward as leading opposition voices demanding early elections and an end to the Imran Khan government. I ask you: what credibility do you think you have before the Pakistani people?”

Dar’s responded with some fiery statement and outlandish claim;

“What credibility does the Imran Khan government have? The world has witnessed it [2018] was a stolen rigged election, pre-poll surveys predicted a PML-N victory. 

Interest of the people:

Does Mr Nawaz Sharif have the interest of ordinary Pakistanis at heart?” Sackur asked Dar.

The PML-N leader responded: “Yes, we do and that’s why we are moving [against the current government]. This country [in Nawaz’s government] had witnessed double revenue collection, lowest inflation, lowest interest rates, best performing market in South Asia, highest GDP growth in 11 years at 5.8 per cent. Your western institutions had all the praise [for us]. Pricewater house Coopers said Pakistan will be in the G20 by 2030. We ended load shedding, improved macroeconomic indicators in Pakistan.” 

“I’m not denying that” , Sackur replied 

Irony at its peak:

Sackur asked the former minister that “Nawaz Sharif worked hand in glove with Zia ul Haq and now the PML-N is complaining about military interference in politics”. What kind of hypocrisy is that?

Dar disagreed with Sakur and referred to this as an Evolution Process in politics. Dar wasn’t able to defend himself or his supreme leader against this argument.

Rest of the interview was filled with Sackur roast of PML-N and yes Dar said what about Imran Khan around 11-times. We checked. 

PML-N leadership have a history of embarrassing themselves in front of journalists with lack of evidence and substance in their arguments. Ishaq Dar was brave to go to the most tough talk show and face hard hitting questions. It can be assumed that Ishaq who is banned from mainstream media thought that he might get the international spotlight to portray PML-N case, unfortunately he failed miserably.

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