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Musharraf is wrong, Sharif is right–for once

Musharraf is wrong, Sharif is right–for once

Two news stories are making the rounds in Islamabad. The first one has not been challenged, not even by Imran Khan or the Jamat e Islami. The second one has created a huge strom along Constitutional Avenue and in the National Assembly building.

President Mushrraf has stupidly claimed that it is in “our” national interest to stay in Afghanistan. We are not sure, who “we” are in Afghanistan, but it is poignant to note that there are no Pakistani troops occupying Afghanistan. Not sure which Single malt the former president is on this week, but the use the plural “we” depicts the UK and the US. Just because the disgraced president lives in the United Kingdom, he does not have the right to speak for the UK. If he does, then he has no right to speak for Pakistan.

Former president Pervez Musharraf criticized U.S. plans to begin pulling troops out of Afghanistan in just over a year. At a stop on his speaking tour, Musharraf praised President Barack Obama for committing 30,000 more troops to fighting the Taliban. But the former leader was sharply opposed to Obama’s plan to begin withdrawing forces in July 2011, saying U.S. soldiers should fight until the Taliban is defeated. “We are there because we understand how critical it is to the region, to the world,” Musharraf said. “We must win.”

Mr. Musharraf’s remarks are intended to appeal to the hawks in the US government. He is seeking to get support from outside Pakistan. This is pathetic, and reminds us of the silly antics of Benazir Bhutto when she was out of office. She would say anything to get an audience.

The continuation of occupation can not be good. US occupation of Afghanistan creates a spill over into Pakistan. The sooner the occupation ends, the better it will be for Pakistan. The occupation gives Bharat a foothold in Kabul, from which it can send mercenaries to Pakistan. Mr. Musharraf is very wrong on this issue.

The second story is about the alleged statement made by Mr. Shahbaz Sharif. I listened to the statement and found it to be innocuous and sublime. The tone, the language and the halting nature of the speech did not show any aggressiveness or parochial agenda. Mr. Sharif was simply saying that if the Talibs have any grievance against the bad policies of the former president, why are they attacking Lahore. Lahore has not done them any harm. Perhaps it would have been politically correct to add Quetta, Peshawar, and Karachi to the sentence and then it would have not have been made into a huge issue.

The liberal media needed an opportunity to pounce on the Sharifs. Mr. Shahbaz Sharif’s ill fated remarks gave them the opportunity to do so. All sorts of charges are now being brought against him. Mr. Sharif is being called Pro-Taliban. This is a charge that will stay with the Sharifs, no matter how many trips they make to the US Embassy, and no matter how much the praise the American presence.

The Sharifs have not played the political field as well as “Abbajee” would have liked them to play it. They took a national political party and reduced it into a one province party. Mr. Sharif was the Chief Minister of Punjab under President Zia Ul Haq. He used that opportunity to build the Muslim League as a national organization. However in the last poll he failed to appeal to the Sindhis and the Baloch. The Sharifs waged an unnecessary and fratricidal war against Urban Sindh in an needless military action. More than 10,000 lives were lost chasing ghosts. Mr. Zardari had the sense to end that action and use the duly elected leaders in building the province and the country. Mr. Shairf should learn a lesson from that. Mr. Sharif should reach out to Urban Sindh, and rural Sindh. mr. Sharif should liberate himself from his self-imposed incarceration in Raiwind, and should be waging an election campaign in Quetta, Peshawar, Karachi and Mirpur. This is the time–sle the liberal media will have him for lunch

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