May 25, 2013 12:23:28 am
Almost two weeks after winning an overwhelming mandate,the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has still not formed the government,and Nawaz Sharif,prime minister-in-waiting,is one step short of moving into Islamabads PM House. The delay is being attributed to deficit-bridging and distribution of portfolios. However,Sharif has nominated his younger brother,Shahbaz Sharif,for the job of Punjab chief minister,reported The Express Tribune on May 23. He has served in that position twice earlier. Newspapers reported before the polls that Shahbaz wanted to be the federal water and power minister,while the powerful office of Punjab CM was being eyed by PML-N heavyweight Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan,former leader of opposition in the National Assembly. Since Khan lost this election,the chief ministership returns to Shahbaz,thereby giving the Sharif family a firm grip on the affairs of the country,as well as its most powerful province.
EVEN though he has still not assumed office,Nawaz Sharif is making all the right noises about domestic and foreign policy matters. Before the election,the Taliban had announced it would stop the violence in the tribal areas if Sharif and two others became guarantors in a peace deal with the then government. Sharif did not agree to giving any guarantee then. But now,says he is serious about talking to the Taliban.
The News reported on May 20: Nawaz Sharif… suggested that the offer made by Taliban for a dialogue process should be given a serious thought for a lasting peace… Economy thrives in peace,not war… We must sit on the table to negotiate peace and end the state of war,said he addressing a convention of the PML-Ns elected candidates… All options should be tried,and guns are not a solution to all problems, Nawaz said. This was music to the Talibans ears. The Nation added on May 23: Nawaz Sharifs call for peace talks made to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was welcomed by the proscribed militant organisation on Thursday… Talking to a private news channel,TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan said that the offer for peace talks… was a positive sign and that the militant organisation was devising a strategy over the course of action to be taken in response…
During the visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang,Sharif spoke about investment in Pakistans crippled energy sector instead of mere financial aid. The Express Tribune reported on May 24: In his meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday,prime minister-to-be Nawaz Sharif sought Beijings assistance in overcoming the countrys worsening power crisis and urged him to further expand cooperation in the civil nuclear technology sector. Instead of aid,we have asked China to invest in Pakistns energy sector, a senior PML-N official told The Express Tribune. It will help us overcome our energy shortage and create new jobs,and at the same time be beneficial to China, he added.
IMRAN KHAN was discharged from hospital earlier this week,but advised complete rest for another six-eight weeks. Hectic re-polling in Karachi took place following accusations of rigging by Khans Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and Jamaat-e-Islami. The second-in-command of PTI Sindh lost her life on the eve of the election. Dawn reported on May 19: …Zahra Shahid Hussain,was killed late on Saturday in an attempted robbery incident on the eve of re-polls in Karacis NA-250 constituency… Senior police officer Nasir Aftab said the incident appeared to be a purse-snatching attempt that went wron. Khan made no bones about holding Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain,who lives in London,responsible for her murder. The Express Tribune reported on May 19: …Imran further held the British government responsible,claiming that the British government had been warned to act against Altaf Hussain following open threats to kill PTI workers. Unfortunately the British Government did nothing to stop his calls to violence and killings.
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