- Nawaz says he won’t let anyone jeopardise country’s internal security as govt fights terrorism and endeavours for economic uplift
- Shahbaz sympathises with Dr Qadri, presents himself clean, assures arrest of perpetrators of clash at Lahore’s Minhajul Quran Secretariat
The brutal attack by Lahore Police at Minhajul Quran headquarters and killing of around eight supporters of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri has apparently brought the federal and Punjab governments at loggerheads.
Informed sources told Pakistan Today that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has been bypassed and all decisions were being taken by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s close aides led by Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and others.
“Sharp differences have emerged between the two governments over a host of issues. Shahbaz Sharif is supporting the views of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan while Nawaz Sharif is siding with Khawaja Asif, Pervez Rasheed and Saad Rafique,” the sources said.
Sources told Pakistan Today that Chaudhry Nisar and Shahbaz Sharif had been on the same page regarding the differences which emerged between the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government and the armed forces. It was none other than Shahbaz Sharif who had held three consecutive meetings with the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif to settle the matter, the sources added.
According to sources, this fact was also evident by the tone and tenor used by Shahbaz during his Tuesday’s press conference over Lahore’s Minhaj clash. The tone was quite different from the language used in a press release issued by the media team of the prime minister on Wednesday, they added.
“Shahbaz Sharif used very soft language and even offered to step down if his involvement was proved in directing the police to take action. However, the language used by the prime minister was strong and intimidating today [Wednesday],” a source said, adding that the fact was clear if anyone could read the transcript of both the PML-N leaders.
SHAHBAZ APPEARS APOLOGETIC:
Shahbaz Sharif, while addressing a press conference, had stated that his “heart was bleeding” and he will resign if the judicial commission formed to investigate the Lahore incident holds him responsible.
The Punjab CM has also committed not to influence the registration of FIRs and they could even be registered against him.
“I sympathise with Dr Tahirul Qadri and I assure him that those responsible will be punished without delay,” Shahbaz had said, adding that facts will be brought to the public regarding the incident and justice will be served.
Shahbaz had also made it clear that the barriers were removed by the police and the permission for removal was not his responsibility.
However, none of his pledges materialised on Wednesday – hinting that someone else was calling the shots in the Punjab government.
PM CHOOSES A STERN STANCE:
On the contrary, in an official statement issued from Dushanbe, Tajikistan on Wednesday, the prime minister used a strong tone saying, “I will not allow anyone to jeopardise peace and internal security of the country. A high court tribunal has been constituted to fix the responsibility of the massacre. Hopefully, the perpetrators will be brought to justice,” the prime minister maintained.
Nawaz said that the state of Pakistan was fighting two wars simultaneously – on one side, war against terrorists was being fought while on the other, he said that he was striving to restructure the country’s dwindling economy.
The premier said that the government will not allow anyone to put the internal security of the country at stake as the armed forces were battling with terrorism.
PML-N DENIES RIFT:
A PML-N senior leader, however, dispelled the impression that the PML-N governments in Centre and Punjab were not on the same page regarding the handling of the Minhaj incident.
“There is absolutely no difference of opinion on the unfortunate incident that took place in Lahore on Tuesday. The entire PML-N leadership is analysing the matter very carefully and all steps are being taken after due consultation between the federal and Punjab governments,” said the PML-N leader.