Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Pakistani Punjab's Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif (brother of Nawaz Sharif) "argued that his party, the PML-N, shares a common cause with the Taliban —that of opposing Gen Musharraf and his policies and rejecting ‘dictation’ from abroad — and therefore the Taliban should ‘spare’ Punjab." (Dawn)

In Pakistan this has been taken to mean that Mr Sharif is saying that the Taliban can strike those provinces and people who aren't "rejecting dictation from abroad" or that are not against Musharraf's policies, and there is a furore.

But what I want to highlight is this question that the Dawn editors ask:
Why is it so difficult for the PML-N to condemn terrorism outright, with no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’?

As they point out
That Mr Sharif could possibly be ignorant of the threat posed by the Taliban is impossible. As chief minister of Punjab he has sat at the apex of that province’s administration for over a year and a half now. Countless secret and not-so-secret memos will have arrived on his desk detailing the atrocities and crimes committed and planned by the Taliban. The secret interrogation cell that was attacked in Model Town, Lahore, only a few days ago was run by provincial authorities.