Nawaz Sharif Setting The Example

Nawaz Sharif has been setting a great example lately. Despite the ridiculous assertions of people like Shaheen Sehabi for whom only hateful attacks are welcome, Nawaz Sharif has been productive and constructive as the leader of opposition, and appears to have taken to heart the lessons of the past, growing beyond the petty politics of mutual destruction, using instead his power as opposition leader to influence the government and the voters while respecting the democratic process and the people’s chosen leaders. After all, today’s chosen leaders are tomorrow’s opposition…and vice versa.

Here’s what Shaheen Sehbai thinks about that.

He as a large Opposition has failed to keep democracy on the right track. He has condoned so much of corruption, mismanagement, deceit and the loot and plunder that every soul in the country is now asking for a change. No one wants to derail democracy but if the country is at this stage today, while Zardari is to be blamed, Mian Nawaz Sharif is an equal partner in crime because he has allowed all this in the name of preserving democracy. What has he done to keep democracy on the right track and check the government?

Give me a break. First of all, I will be interested to see if Nawaz files a legal claim against Mr Sehbai for accusing him of condoning corruption, looting, plundering, etc. Why does Shaheen Sehbai think that he has the right to go around slandering respected people without any evidence at all?

Secondly, allow me to answer Shaheen Sehbai’s very simple question of ‘What has Nawaz Sharif done to keep democracy on the right track and check the government?’ To being my answer, I will ask Shaheen Sehbai to start paying attention to the actual words of the PML-N chief himself. On Thursday, Nawaz Sharif told reporters,

“We should stress on reforming the government and if it cannot be reformed then we should talk of a change but through constitutional means instead of calling for a martial law (to get rid of a failed government),”

Nawaz is absolutely correct. This is a democracy, and all of this talk about a ‘French Revolution’ (which is only the latest brand name for the same old position that the same people have been hawking for years, by the the way) is the exact opposite of what the country needs.

Altaf bhai perhaps got a little carried away with his nonsense talk about martial law, but rather than jump on the band wagon, Nawaz Sharif simply said, “there is no possibility of it.” This was the mature, responsible, and correct attitude for a respected politician. He has even been standing up for the rights of minorities, much to the displeasure of some clerics.

Sharif said in Lahore on Saturday that Ahmadis were as important citizens of Pakistan as people from other religions and called them an asset. He made the statement to express solidarity with the Ahmadiyya community following last month’s two synchronised attacks on their places of worship in Lahore which claimed more than 80 lives with many more injured. In a statement issued here on Sunday, leaders of the Wafaqul Madaris al Arabia – an umbrella organisation of more than 12,000 Deobandi madrassas – called Ahmadis “traitors”. WMA leaders Maulana Salimullah Khan and Qari Hafeez Jahalindri urged Sharif to retract his statement and advised him not to “defy religion for petty political gains.”

I think this was especially important to come from Nawaz Sharif. PML-N has long had ties to some conservative religious groups, and it is important that the mullahs understand that PML-N will respect the rights of all Pakistanis, not only the ones that Salimullah Khan or Qari Hafeez declare to be pure enough. Hopefully it also demonstrates that Nawaz has grown up since the days of his misguided Shariat Bill.

Nawaz Sharif went on to say this week that if a number of big corporations paid their taxes properly, we would not have need for aid packages like Kerry-Lugar. Well, I don’t know if I think we could do without some aid completely, but Nawaz has a good point. And let us not forget that some of the worst tax cheats have been found to be media companies also. Even Musharraf, in his plans to re-enter the politics has announced that he will do so by building a political party and competing for votes.

This is how a democracy works. Even the once mighty dictator has grown up and learned it, so why can’t Shaheen Sehbai, Ansar Abbasi and the other anti-democratic media haters? Let me tell you one thing: If Shaheen Sehbai and Salimullah Khan tell you that you’re doing something wrong, KEEP DOING IT.

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