Nawaz Sharif: the paragon of naivete? (source: AP/ Dawn)
How else to read the latest somersault by the PML(N) over the anti-media resolution passed in the Punjab Assembly? Accord to Dawn's report:
"After about 24 hours of an unrelenting attack from the media, political parties and others, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif finally spoke out in a damage control exercise on Saturday and denounced the resolution adopted by the Punjab Assembly against the media. Mr Sharif criticised the role played by Sanaullah Mastikhel, the PML-N legislator and mover of the resolution, and said that “such people should be thrown out of the party”.
Speaking at a press conference in London, the PML-N chief said that Mr Mastikhel should be kicked out of the party by Shahbaz Sharif. While saying this, Mr Sharif appeared to have forgotten that Shahbaz Sharif, the Chief Minister of Punjab, was also present in the assembly when the resolution was passed by his party’s MPAs."
So basically this is the party line: We hate fake degree holders, no wait, we hate the media that exposes fake degree holders much more, it should be ashamed of themselves, and in fact more than parliamentarians, it's journalists and generals whose degrees should be checked, no wait, we love the media (and the army), those who condemned the media (and said bad things about generals) should be thrown out of the party, they betrayed the leadership, even if that leadership tacitly supported them... no wait...
No wonder the PML(N) rank and file are a confused bunch. But you know this is not the first time the Sharif brothers have done this. Remember the Taliban biyaanbazi? Ahson Iqbal may protest all he wants about how Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif's near-pleading, conciliatory statement to the Taliban not to attack the Punjab (at least while the PML(N) was in power there) was misunderstood and twisted, but everyone and their aunt understood what he really meant at the time. And that was certainly not the first instance of its type either.
What Nawaz Sharif and his party seem to specialize in, it seems, is a convenient form of amnesia which has stood them in good stead in politics so far. But you know what they say about fooling all the people all the time?
Nobody is saying that politicians can never commit mistakes or that every other politician (or non-political leader) is a paragon of virtue, but if the PML(N) wants to be taken seriously for a 'different' form of politics, it really needs to stop acting innocent about its own u-turns. And it REALLY needs to stop its hemming and hawing on crucial issues.