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Verbal diarrhoea of Shahbaz Sharif – by Fasi Zaka

Imagine a situation where you have to speak before a large crowd. Right there and then, even though you are not a cow, you discover you have foot-and-mouth disease. That is to say, you mistakenly put your foot in your mouth.

Shahbaz Sharif did that just recently, when he argued that the Taliban should not attack Lahore because like the Taliban, his party, the PML-N, was also against Musharraf. He said, “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 Punjab.”

He claims that his remarks were taken out of context. That’s a flimsy excuse when he doesn’t offer an explanation for what kind of context justifies a statement like the one he made. And as far as the issue of foreign dictation goes, they seem to have forgotten their extended sojourn in Saudi Arabia.

At least, the outrage is there over this kind of appeasement. Of course, the theatrics of the PML-Q’s Nighat Orakzai run shallow. It’s odd that she asked Shahbaz to wear a dupatta and stay home bound because that’s what women supposedly do? Talk of betraying one’s own gender. But the real issue is something else. For the longest time people have suspected of the Taliban sympathies of the PML-N, and in this statement they hope they have found a smoking gun.

The Punjab assembly has been passing silly resolutions under the tutelage of Shahbaz Sharif, like the outrage over cheap midnight mobile calls because they lead to “vulgar” talks between the sexes. The Taliban comment is not the only evidence of reactionary thinking.

The PML-N has been coasting for sometime, immune to the rabid accusations against the PPP. In their anger of the corruption of this government, many observers have blindly sided with the PML-N. But other than supporting the judiciary, which is in its interest, what do we know of the party that will set it apart, especially from its previous terms when the party leader wanted to be the Amir-ul-Momineen? The PML-N had a terrible record of both attempted authoritarianism and muzzling the press. If anything, we have learnt from Asif Ali Zardari that rough times do not reform people; they just go back to their old self the moment they are safe and comfortable.

Given that the PML-N is, for all purposes, a government in waiting, its narrowsightedness is worrisome. Thanks to the PPP’s self-destructive incompetence, the PML-N needs to stand up and be ready to be a national party. It cannot do that by asking for special concessions for Punjab from terrorists, or for that matter, having law ministers cavorting with sectarian organisations in public.

Despite the PPP dragging its feet on the Taliban, it finally committed itself to battling them. If we are to treat Shahbaz’s statement as a Freudian slip, then it bodes poorly for the strides made in battling the cancer that is the Taliban. This desire to negotiate is based on a perverted world view that these murderers have something holy about them.

Yes, say no to foreign dictation. But also say no to domestic terrorists.

The writer is a Rhodes scholar and former academic. Email:

Source: The News

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  • Can not say NO to foreign dictation, naaa and now can not say NO to the cancer they were involved to spread in the first place from Zia regime. Our politicians and high ups, all have every thing out of this country in foreign lands. Foreign land hands wont let them to say NO. They always get out of this country in moments considered dire for them, those who get arrested, can not. Rightly said, Nawaz is hanging in here as he is assuming himself in the waiting list and trying to re-schedule his waiting rather trying to reduce his waiting through various means. His overconfidence has now annoyed the Army as well and now it will be an interesting drama how he and his croonies will try to heal up this wound they have inflicted upon themselves. The arrow has left the bow…

  • We have to look at all the reasons that are causing militancy. At the strategic level we need to develop an inclusive counter strategy based on an understanding of beliefs, frame of mind, background, common aspirations, philosophy, and motives of extremists.

    The government needs to chalk out an official framework for dealing with the problem of extremism. Such a framework should focus on deterrence, then engage them in dialogue and lastly rehabilitate those who can turn back

  • Extremism is with in the blood of human beings, just need a simple click and there goes the chain reaction. Extremism is always in our society in one form or another, language, regional, ethnic, political, color, you name it. We are good at using all the named types in our short history of 60 years. We have killed and got killed on language in 1971, some political parties used the other types for their origination and continuing existence till now, been killing since then. Finally political extremism, which we are nicely doing since last many decades under the cover name of democracy and many times in dictatorship. Declare PMLN and Sharifs as corrupt and incompetent, the extremist Jiyalas of PMLN would always find ways and justifications to defend their party, they will burn, destroy properties and will seize the wheel of the world. Declare PPP and Zardari as corrupt and incompetent, the extremist Jiyalas of PPP would always find ways to defend their party and we will see same reactions as above. Soon Musharaf will be in Pakistan with his new political party and his newly created Jiyalas like Barrister Saif, and more to see shortly joining from PMLQ, etc would defend him more than any body. Nobody would remember, Laal Masjid, Bugti or Kargil, criminal ignorance on power generation causing a meld down in development. Who is gonna remember what the above all have done and have still capacity to do so, yet again.

    What’s left in for us in religious extremism, we created a deadly virus (without antidote) to be used behind enemy lines, the virus hit back or being used by ‘ INVISIBLE HANDS’ and walla… we get religious extremists, the deadliest of all above. Our political parties (Both larger parties, one publicly and other covertly) are now trying to bring the banned outfits under their political umbrella ( An umbrella, under which every body ablutes himself from the committed crimes ). We will still remain extremists of our sort as we will keep on supporting PMLN, PPP, PMLQ, PML Musharaf, etc etc on all fronts by providing justifications and logics of all sorts, denying the truth, knowingly. Throw a stone and watch the ripples of intentional ignorance.

    What mullas have offered us, each have published their own books based upon their relevant beliefs and are easily available in book shops unchecked by any one and opened free madrissas. There is so much religious literature in the market accessible to every one, a mind get its feed the meal he wants best, thus creating an isolated mindset of that belief. A threat on that belief would trigger chaos and the disciple would consider this an attack on his tanzeem consequently on Islam as a whole. So we have 72 sect based jihadi tanzeems may be more, doing pious jihad against each other and successfully eliminating each other, thus helping Islam to grow some how within that carnage. Now they have gained power and political parties are starting to kneel down in front of them as USA is doing as a whole when failed to contain them.