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Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Nawaz Sharif, India & The ‘Daughters Game’ - By Ahmed Quraishi

Nawaz Sharif, India & The ‘Daughters Game’

So happy are the Indians with Mr. Sharif that they ordered their ambassador to travel to Lahore and personally deliver Manmohan Singh’s regards to him. Meanwhile, the disgruntled former premier continues to play the ‘Daughters Game’, distracting Pakistanis as the nation prepares for a possible war.


Monday, 22 December 2008.


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Even a lamppost would look better compared to President Asif Ali Zardari, so please don’t make much out of the fact that Mr. Nawaz Sharif commands more respect these days. This is how bad the situation is that we Pakistanis are left to choose between dumb and dumber.

As if the Zardari government’s defeatist posture and weak diplomacy in front of India were not enough, Mr. Sharif has just confirmed in an interview with an Indian media outlet that the alleged Ajmal Kassab is a Pakistani citizen and, taking a swipe at the Pakistani military, wondered why Mr. Kassab’s alleged Pakistani town was sealed by security officials.

So happy are the Indians with Mr. Sharif that they sent their ambassador in Islamabad all the way to Lahore to convey a special message of regards from the Indian prime minister to the disgruntled Pakistani former prime minister. Indian politicians and media commentators spent the weekend cheerfully quoting Mr. Nawaz Sharif and jubilating at this unexpected Pakistani admission of guilt.

This is how Online news service, an independent Pakistani news agency, described Mr. Sharif’s statements in a wire story over the weekend:

“This irresponsible attitude of a former PM and one of the major politicians only manages to reinforce the already poisoned ‘global perceptions’ of Pakistan being involved in almost all kinds of ‘terrorists attacks’.”

[The daily 'Ausaf' said that Sharif's comment has given the Indian media further pretext to train their guns on Pakistan. The News has said in an editorial, ‘The latest disclosures are embarrassing for Mian Nawaz Sharif.]

Meanwhile, Mr. Sharif continues to play the ‘Daughters Game’, throwing mud at the daughters of both the Chief Justice and the Governor of Punjab. To an outsider, this circus gives the impression we are living in Switzerland and not Pakistan and the only thing on people’s minds here is where to buy good cheese for the weekend.

First, Mr. Sharif decided to hit the Chief Justice below the belt and dig out dirt on how the Justice used his influence to fix the college marks of his daughter Farah Dogar. And then, a minister in Mr. Sharif’s own provincial government in Punjab decided to prey on the private pictures of the daughters of the PPP governor and release them online, showing them dancing, swimming and partying.

Then came payback time for Mr. Sharif, when his opponents dig out dirt on his daughter, Maryam Nawaz. Someone leaked the information about how Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s own daughter benefited twice from her father’s influence to get into medical schools. If that’s not enough, Mr. Sharif’s main hero figure, the former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, is yet to explain how his son jumped the line to clinch a lucrative government job, apparently thanks to his father’s influence. Unfortunately, the hysteria that some elements in the Pakistani political elite and the media created against the Musharraf government allowed Justice Iftikhar to escape accountability.

I fail to understand the politics of Mr. Nawaz Sharif. His political career is already reduced to his hometown, Lahore, and some parts of Punjab. If that is not enough, now he is playing dirty politics, owning Kassab to get back at the government and the military, and playing the ‘Daughters Game’ and poisoning national politics.

That’s it about Mr. Sharif. I am sorry to distract my readers with this sideshow. Now let’s go back to following the real issues.

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