Maryam Nawaz Sharif has been summoned to appear before the JIT just five days before its time runs out. The April 20 verdict that decided that she was not dependent on PM Nawaz broke the proverbial link that could probably hurt the premier. While she and her brothers have already declared that she is not the beneficial owner of the London properties, what could probably be the purpose of summoning her in a strongly worded order is what everybody wants to know in the city of leaks, the national capital. As the JIT was fast approaching its deadline, most analysts thought that next in line to be quizzed might be Ishaq Dar who had given a confessional statement about Sharifs that he claims was obtained under duress. While he could still be called in between the 5th and the 10th, there were only a few takers if Maryam Nawaz Sharif will be called at the Judicial Academy. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been quietly grooming Maryam as the next heir, as his third term heads towards the twilight zone. Just before April 20 verdict, the people in the top echelons of the ruling party were seriously thinking of having her contest a by-poll from a safe seat in Punjab, should the verdict decapitates the premier, just like Yousaf Raza Gilani. However, the April 20 verdict was seen and reported by many as a clean chit to Maryam Nawaz Sharif. That is why those by-poll plans were shelved. Now with new July 10 deadline approaching, some in the ruling party were again contemplating to bring her back in the limelight through the by-poll window. Now that she has been summoned on the day known as the black day in our history, many are trying to read into the symbolism of the day and the very purpose of the so far the only female witness before an all male JIT behind the closed doors. The constituents of the investigating body who raised many eyebrows in the ruling party by their reported actions were already made controversial. So last thing people expected was summoning Maryam Nawaz Sharif. Many believed it would reinforce the impression of singling out one family. Now since that has happened everybody is trying to figure out what was on the minds of the JIT folks who made such a decision, no matter if they will be able to dig out anything or not. Technically speaking the JIT is empowered by the apex court to summon anybody who may help them complete their investigation but “why was a harsh language chosen for the daughter of the PM when apparently she is only a witness and has neither been tried nor proven guilty” is what the inquiring minds want to know. Now that she will appear in front of the cameras as the TV channels host daylong special transmissions, she will be catapulted to the top, a free campaign for the by-poll if the ruling party is thinking about it. Yes, summoning her for a few hours is nothing compared to what the leaders and workers of the PPP went through during martial law years, but we don’t live in that arena, nor we want to re-live in that arena. To put those years behind was the lesson drawn from the Charter of Democracy. While the ruling party is and will play the victim violin for the event, some analysts do believe that the effort is aimed at psychologically hurting the ruling party and is a signal to their electables to jump on the PTI bandwagon. Breaking the invincibility of the Sharifs and giving them a bloody nose is the message, fear some party stalwarts. Given the constitutional protection to the PML-N governments both in Islamabad and Lahore, it is highly unlikely to happen though. Since Maryam Nawaz holds no public office, it is hard to imagine if anything negatively may impact her political career. Maryam’s appearance may look like checkmating the queen on the political chessboard but actually it may help the Sharifs more than hurting them in the long run, believe the pundits in the foothills of Margallas. Published in Daily Times, June 29th, 2017.