The Daily Times article about Nawaz Sharif’s foreign properties raises particularly interesting questions about the public discussion of NRO, particularly in the media. According to these reports, the Sharif family owns property in and around London worth 2.7 BILLION Rupees. That is a fantastic sum, and yet still does not represent the entirety of the Sharif family holdings. Yet, from the public discussion of the NRO, one is to believe that Zardari is the only politician in the nation with foreign properties!
The typical reply to news that Sharif holds international property is, “yes, so?” After all, Sharif lived abroad in exile and it would only be natural that he would have some properties abroad. Yes, but the situation is the same for Zardari, is it not? But when someone hears “foreign properties” they only think of Zardari and NRO. This situation has become such a witch hunt that even Maulana Fazl ur Rahman has asked why of 8,000 names on the NRO everyone is only after only one man.
Corruption is bad, and we must work to remove this from our politics. We all agree on this. But the process around NRO is becoming corruption itself when it singles out only one man and assumes he is guilty without any consideration. One of the facts that cannot be disputed is that political leaders have some personal wealth, and many wealthy people have some foreign property, especially if they have lived in some other country for a time.
When Maulana Fazl ur Rahman begins to say there is the possibility of a witch hunt against a PPP leader, there is a very good reason to stop and take notice and think about what is going on. If NRO is being used only to displace Zardari, then there is no reason to believe that anything will get better. It will be merely corruption disguised in other clothes.