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By aligning itself with Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba, PML-N poses existential threat to Pakistan

Existentialist threat

The PML-N’s right wing ideology is an open secret. Thus it is not surprising if the party has now come clear on its stance vis-à-vis the militant outfits. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has finally exposed the real face of his party by giving an inane statement in a blatant show of provincialism.

Taking a narrow provincialist stance while totally ignoring the national crisis, Shahbaz Sharif pleaded with the Taliban to spare Punjab from its terrorist attacks. He said that since the Taliban opposed foreign dictation and were pursuing the policy of terrorism to fight against a foreign invasion (i.e. the Americans) and the PML-N too opposed General Musharraf’s policies, Punjab ruled by the PML-N should be spared terrorist attacks. Mr Sharif said, “Musharraf planned a bloodbath of innocent Muslims at the behest of others only to prolong his rule, but we in the PML-N opposed his policies and rejected dictation from abroad.”

The absurdity of these comments cannot be overstated. Not only is this statement a foolish one, it is a highly insensitive one. Has Mr Sharif forgotten that Punjab is only one province of the country and there are three other provinces — Sindh, Balochistan and the NWFP? The whole country is on fire and reverberating with terrorist attacks left, right and centre. The Punjab chief minister realised his folly and tried to make amends a day after giving this statement by saying that his words had been taken out of context and that he “lauded the brave people of the NWFP for their fight for the survival of Pakistan”.

This belated amendment did not help matters much. Nighat Orakzai, an MPA from the NWFP Assembly, strongly protested at this statement and threw her dupatta away on the floor of the Assembly, saying that Mr Shahbaz Sharif should now wear it.

Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer also condemned the chief minister’s remarks and was of the view that Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah must be turning in his grave right now at seeing this injustice being done to his beloved country.

At a time when Pakistan is fighting militancy on its soil, the PML-N taking a pro-militant stance is rubbing salt into the wounds of the Pakistani nation. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has dug a pit for himself by passing these callous remarks, exposing his true character and that of his party’s in the process. The suspicion against the PML-N that it has been harbouring ties with banned militant outfits has now been all but proved.

We saw in the by-elections in Jhang how the Punjab law minister was hobnobbing with a leader of a banned outfit and when confronted with the news, he showed no remorse. Such is the level of politics being played by the PML-N at the cost of this nation’s future.

The Punjab government has long been in denial over the presence of militants in Southern Punjab. It needs to wake up before it is too late. The news of the TTP offering to stop these attacks if the Punjab government assures that it would stop the crackdown against the militants further highlights the implicit nexus between the terrorists and the PML-N. It would not be far from the truth if we were to say that the PML-N is proving itself to be the greatest existentialist threat to the remaining part of Jinnah’s Pakistan. Spare this country, Mr Chief Minister — we lost half of it in 1971, do not pave the way for another disaster by supporting the terrorists.

Source: Daily Times

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  • Backlash against Shahbaz Sharif in NA
    By Raja Asghar
    Tuesday, 16 Mar, 2010

    Two of three members from both the opposition and ruling coalition called for an apology from Mr Sharif.

    ISLAMABAD: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif came in for some sharp attacks in the National Assembly on Monday in a backlash over his appeal to Taliban to spare his province from terror attacks because of a shared stance with his PML-N party against former president Pervez Musharraf.

    Two of three members from both the opposition and ruling coalition who spoke against his Sunday’s remarks in a speech in Lahore called for an apology from Mr Sharif, who is also the PML-N president, for negating a national consensus against terrorism and justifying Taliban attacks in other provinces.

    His son Hamza Shahbaz Sharif came out with an oratorical rejoinder, citing what he called PML-N’s national outlook ranging from helping terrorism victims in Malakand division of the North West Frontier province last year to its role in campaigns for an independent judiciary and against the controversial Mushaarraf-era 17th Amendment of the constitution, but did not touch his father’s controversial remarks at a seminar two days after two Taliban-claimed suicide attacks in Lahore killed at least 50 people and wounded about 150.

    The exchanges came amid speculations in the parliamentary house that the chief minister’s speech could figure in his meeting with Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani later in the evening and follow charges from some critics that the party’s provincial government was protecting members of some banned sectarian groups.

    Mr Shahbaz Sharif said in his speech: “General Musharraf planned a bloodbath of innocent Muslims at the behest of others only to prolong his rule, but we in the PML-N opposed his policies and rejected dictation from abroad, and if the Taliban are also fighting for the same cause then they should not carry out acts of terror in (PML-N-ruled) Punjab.” PML-Q’s NWFP president Amir Muqam raised the issue in the house through a point of order as he called for admission of an adjournment motion he had submitted on the Punjab chief minister’s speech, which he said had come as a shock and created a confusion about the anti-terrorism struggle in which people and troops from all provinces were making sacrifices.

    “It is not the question of only Punjab and he (Shahbaz Sharif) should apologise from the whole nation,” said Mr Muqam, whose move was immediately supported by Minister of State for Ports and Shipping Nabil Ahmad Gabol, who said other provinces were feeling insecure, and later by a PPP member from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Syed Akhonzada Chitan, who also demanded an apology.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/backlash-in-na-630

  • Nawaz Sharif threat to Pakistan stability: Musharraf

    Monday, 15 Mar, 2010

    SEATLLE: Former president Pervaiz Musharraf slammed PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif on Monday and labeled him as a closeted Taliban.

    Talking to media at a dinner reception in Seattle, Musharraf said that Sharif is a great threat to the stability of Pakistan.

    Talking on the issue of NRO, Musharraf accused politicians of being hypocrites. According to him, these were the same politicians who were in favour of the controversial ordinance when it was issued.

    He also defended his tenure as a corruption free period and added that no cabinet member in his government was involved in any malpractice. – DawnNews

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/22-nawaz-sharif-threat-to-pakistan-stability-musharraf-aj-02

  • Here is an editorial from The News describing the state of terrorism ignored in south Punjab:

    South Punjab is no stranger to extremists. They were there long before the Taliban phenomenon took shape and they remain there now. Both Jaish-e-Mohammed and Sipah-e-Sahaba have operated in the area for many years and conducted campaigns largely directed at the minority Shia populations. Extremist organisations, banned or otherwise, have substantial assets in the area. Extremist organisations are able to hold public rallies in southern Punjab apparently without objection from the forces of law and order. Against this background it is plausible to assume that members of other extremist groups, not necessarily originating from southern Punjab, will gravitate towards their fellow travellers. There are anecdotal reports of the Taliban in the north relocating their strategic planning operations to southern Punjab, and other anecdotal reports of ‘northern’ Taliban using southern Punjab as a rest-and-recovery area. Could it be that these ‘foreigners’ are responsible for the Lahore blasts? Indeed it could, but it is equally possible that the blasts were planned and executed by men from Bahawalpur or Rahim Yar Khan or even Lahore itself. Terrorist groups commingle where they share common values and objectives, and the likelihood of there being ‘northern’ Taliban in southern Punjab is high, and vice versa. Extremist organisations in southern Punjab have the patronage of at least one senior establishment figure and are apparently tolerated by the police and security services. So long as that state of affairs persists then so will terrorism – whoever commits it or under whichever flag or title.

    http://thenews.jang.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=229255

  • Some excerpts from Abdul Sattar Edhi’s interview on Dawn News:
    “Pakistan is at a critical make-or-break stage”

    Q. Have you ever been approached by political or other groups for support?

    A. Once, I was approached by General Hamid Gul, Imran Khan and few others, mostly military and intelligence officials, who were conspiring to overthrow Benazir Bhutto’s second government and wanted me to get involved. I declined because I am a social worker and not a politician. I also did not want to tarnish the credibility of my organisation by getting embroiled in something that obviously seemed quite disturbing. Eventually, I was made to feel threatened enough to temporarily leave the country.

    Q. How do you see the future of Pakistan?

    A. I will continue to do my work and serve the people. However, Pakistan is now at a critical make-or-break stage, and if the system does not undergo a major overhaul, I am afraid that the country may even break up. Given the current conditions, it will take nothing short of a calculated, studied revolution to change things and save Pakistan.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/metropolitan/02-edhi-interview-01

  • @Abdul Nishapuri Musharraf dares comment on the Taliban and al Qaeda culture in Pakistan when he himself made the fundamental contribution in promoting it by following a dual policy post-9/11. Pakistan caught hundreds of al Qaeda operatives and handed them over to the US, but provided sanctuary to the Afghan Taliban. The Musharraf regime banned the extremist organisations in 2002, but allowed them to continue their nefarious activities under new names. We are reaping the bitter harvest of Musharraf’s policies now, which have resulted in the emergence of the Pakistani Taliban. Today Pervez Musharraf has the temerity to call Nawaz Sharif a ‘closet Taliban’. This transcends the limits of brazenness, because he himself acted more like an ‘open Taliban’ during his years in power.

    http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20103\17\story_17-3-2010_pg3_1