Related articles: The Punjabi Taliban and the Ostrich of Punjab: Shahbaz Sharif
The umbilical connection between PML-N and religious conservatism: Jaag Punjabi jaag – by Aamer Ahmed Khan
Shahbaz Sharif’s bargain with the Taliban – by Ayesha Siddiqa
According to an official press release at the PML-N’s official website, Shahbaz Sharif identifies a number of commonalities between Taliban and PML-N, i.e., opposition to foreign dictation, stance against General Musharraf, and strong position against Kerry-Lugar Bill.
LAHORE, Mar 14: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said Sunday that Pakistan Muslim League-N had refused to accept the external dictation and stood strong before Musharraf.
“If this is the stance of Taliban, then they should not carry out terrorism in Punjab,” Shahbaz said this while speaking at Mufti Muhammad Hussain Naeemi seminar in Jamia Naeemia Garhishah.
“We have no clash with the United States, but our party took a strong position against Kerry-Lugar Bill,” he said.
The Parliament should be given time to perform, he said, urging the nation to adopt a common agenda to move forward.
Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman and senior journalist Hamid Mir also addressed the participants.
They slammed both major parties for having support of banned outfits to win by-election in Jhang and Bahawalnagar.
In essence, Shahbaz Sharif seems to plead that instead of targeting Punjab, where right wing PML-N rules, Taliban terrorist should better target other provinces (e.g. Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Balochistan etc) where ruling governments of PPP, ANP, and MQM are explicitly against the Taliban’s jihadi and sectarian agenda.
Shafiq Awan offers an excellent analysis in Daily Times today, also questioning the level of security provided to the people of Punjab by the PML-N’s government:
Shahbaz is loyal to Punjab at Pakistan’s expense
By Shafiq Awan
Source: Daily Times
We appreciate Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s late night visit to a number of bomb-stricken areas in Allama Iqbal Town, a move that boosted Lahori spirits against terrorism.
There is no doubt that such visits by a high-profile personality, at a time when the city was under the grip of terror, invigorates public valor. Our political contingent is determined to rid of the menace of extremism, but this aim cannot be achieved without an effective administration.
The CM’s appeal, asking the Taliban not to target Punjab, since both the terrorist group and the provincial government have the same views over foreign dictation has shocked many. I believe his statement will lead to further controversy and that Sindh and NWFP should have serious reservation over it. His love for Punjab cannot be doubted, but shouldn’t he be making an appeal for the safety of the entire country?
The residents of Iqbal Town were still mourning the loss of 75 of their loved ones who were lost in the Moon Market blast in December 2009, while the recent wave of terror has further shaken their confidence in law enforcement agencies. What were out law enforcement agencies doing when the terrorists struck our citizens? Where were our Patrolling Police, Muhafiz Force, Quick Response Force, Mujahid Squad, Elite force? Where were those responsible for protecting the masses?
After the RA Bazaar blasts and the first two explosions in Iqbal Town, law enforcers should have become extra vigilant. Iqbal Town Circle Superintendent of Police Nasir Iqbal Rizvi stubbornly repeated that the Iqbal Town blasts were low-intensity and triggered by home made “crackers”, but the Bomb Disposal Squad refuted the claim and declared that the series of blasts were carried out using time device.
How can a home-made “cracker” so badly damage a car? One couldn’t help but notice how all the nameplates outside police officers’ residences were removed following the Iqbal Town blasts.