The News – How the Sharifs differ and whose policy will prevail?

Ansar Abbasi

Islamabad,22 October 2017. Mian Nawaz Sharif is pretty sure that his younger brother, Shabaz Sharif, will never stab him in the back.

Since long they differ on the issue of how to deal with military establishment on matters denting civilian supremacy. However, both the brothers never let this difference of opinion create a rift between the two.

Previously, this difference of opinion was restricted to their private discussions.

Of late, this difference has become public with Shahbaz Sharif and his elder son, Hamza Shabaz speaking publicly against the policy of “confrontation” by Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz.

Without leaving any doubt in anyone’s mind, Hamza Shahbaz in his recent interview with Geo News tried to prove that his and his father’s policy of pragmatism is the only option to secure the future of democracy in Pakistan.

As is being done by the opposition, he gave the impression that Nawaz Sharif is pursuing the policy of “confrontation” with the military establishment.

Such voices in the Sharif family encouraged many others within the PML-N to prove Nawaz Sharif a “confrontationist” yet they all want to en-cash his popularity to secure N-Leagues possible success in the 2018 elections. They want to forget the past and also expect from Nawaz Sharif to let bygones be bygones.

Nawaz Sharif, however, does not want to forget how he has been removed from the office for the third time in 2017. He in view of the pressures from certain elements of the establishment though have been making compromises on the issue of civilian supremacy during his recent four year rule, yet he never let his idealism die down.

Some believe that his disqualification has furthered his idealism and now he wants to pursue much tougher objective of attaining civilian supremacy, which is seen by others as politics of “confrontation” with institutions.

Many in the PML-N including Shahbaz Sharif feel that this policy of Nawaz Sharif does not suit the PML-N. They believe that forgetting the past will help PML-N win the 2018 elections whereas the policy of “confrontation” will create serious problems for the PML-N as well as the Sharif family from the powers that matter.

Within the PML-N, Shahbaz Sharif has always been the advocate of staying on the right side of the establishment even if it involves serious compromises on the principles of civilian supremacy. Now he wants it more than before because he sees his chance as the Prime Minister of Pakistan in 2018.

Within the Sharif family, everyone knows that Shahbaz Sharif is next to Nawaz Sharif. The point of contention in the family is that who is number three in the family? Maryam Nawaz or Hamza Shahbaz.

Nawaz Sharif before 2013 was keen to groom Hamza Sharif as his political heir but later he changed his mind by letting his daughter to emerge as the future leader of the PML-N.

Soon after the 2013 elections, some of the PML-N leaders had suggested Nawaz Sharif to get Maryam Nawaz entered into the National Assembly through women specific seats for MNAs.

Then the elder Sharif, according to a source, said that Maryam had nothing to do with politics. But the later years saw Maryam getting her father’s tacit support to emerge as his political successor.

While the Maryam-Hamza issue is expected to keep buzzing within the Sharif family, their immediate division is how to go into elections. With mounting pressure from within the PML-N, Nawaz Sharif is expected to give the issue a serious thought.

Although he is seen as a “confrontationist” even by some of his own family members, there are many in the PML-N who insist that Nawaz Sharif had shown a lot of patience during the last four years in rule despite seeing certain obvious violations of civilian supremacy’s red-lines.

During these years Nawaz Sharif let Musharraf go off the hook despite his strong desire to try the former dictator for abrogating the constitution; he knows a lot about the alleged conspiracy behind the 2014 sit-in but never spoke his mind or initiated any proceeding to avoid displeasing the establishment; he also avoided talking about pressures that he has been facing during the second half of the 2016 from a key figure.


The Tribune – SAD image to blame for bypoll loss: BJP leaders

Say people have not forgiven Akalis for their ‘acts’

Vishav Bharti, Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, 22 October 2017. While reviewing the defeat in the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha by-election, the BJP leadership found that it was due to the fact that “the people of Punjab have not yet forgiven the SAD”.

A review meeting was held here today under the chairmanship of state president Vijay Sampla. More than 20 core group members, former state presidents and former ministers were present.

Party sources said the view of holding SAD responsible for the defeat was first expressed by a former cabinet minister who also served as the state party president for several years. He said the defeat margin in SAD stronghold was much higher than in BJP-dominated areas.

“Almost everybody present in the meeting agreed to the point that in past six months, not much has changed in the people’s perception about the Akali Dal,” said a former state BJP president. He said it seemed that the people had not yet forgiven the SAD for its acts during the 10-year rule.

The view was later vouched by the state BJP leadership.

Sources said a former BJP minister from Majha even went on to this extent of saying that the SAD “has become a liability for the BJP in Punjab and it is time to shed that liability”.

Another reason attributed to the defeat was the Congress government’s alleged politics of threat. During a press conference, Sampla said they had reached the conclusion that the main reason for their defeat was the “politics of threat followed by the Congress”.

He alleged that even the polling agents were threatened and many didn’t turn up for duty. “The Congress did not have anything to show in terms of performance, so it resorted to pressure tactics”, he alleged.

Walking to Dampoort

Walking to Dampoort
10 October 2017

Bijgaarde Park

Bijgaarde Park

Bijgaarde Park

Gent-Sint-Pieters – Moscou – Gentbrugge – Dampoort railway line

An interesting house in Gentbrugge

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Times of India – NRIs transform their village near Jalandhar

I P Singh

Jalandhar-Panjab-India, 22 October 2017. With an ultra-modern gymnasium, a sewage treatment plant, properly built roads, a separate storm water and sludge sewerage system, absence of filthy ponds, potable drinking water supply and other facilities, Sanghe Khalsa village in Jalandhar district has scripted a new success story with the active involvement of NRIs from the village in which the state government also pooled in.

A village near Nurmahal with a population of 700, Sanghe Khalsa has all modern civic amenities. It was around a decade ago when departing from the usual practice of Punjab villages to construct a memorial gate in the name of their forefathers at entry of village, a few NRIs decided to construct a gymnasium in their names to channelize energy of the youth.

Now this gymnasium with modern equipments is catering to the needs of youths from nearby villages. Trainers paid by the NRIs impart world training to the youths at the gym.

As Jalandhar deputy commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma visited the village on Sunday, NRI Nirmal Singh who was among those who conceived the development projects in the village said that after the state government came up with partnership scheme for development of villages, NRIs of this village came forward to develop their villages on priority and constituted an overseas committee for this purpose.

They said that the election of this overseas committee was held every year on Maghi and the eldest member of the committee was unanimously elected its president.

The Hindu – India for safe return of Myanmar nationals, says Sushma Swaraj

Bangladesh has sought India’s ‘sustained pressures’ on Myanmar for its resolution of the Rohingya crisis

Haroon Habib

Dhaka, 22 October 2017. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday expressed deep concern at the spate of violence in Rakhine State of Myanmar and said India wanted the safe return of Rohingya to their homeland.

Ms Swaraj, who is in Dhaka on a two-day visit, was addressing a joint press conference after meeting Bangladeshi Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali.

“India is deeply concerned at the spate of violence in Rakhine State of Myanmar. We have urged that the situation be handled with restraint, keeping in mind the welfare of the population. It is clear that normalcy will only be restored with the return of the displaced persons,” she said.

The Minister, however, did not use the word “Rohingya” and only referred to “displaced persons from the Rakhine State”.

She said India also supports the recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission, headed by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.

The Commission has suggested a number of measures for a “peaceful, fair and prosperous future for the people of Rakhine”.

Ms Swaraj said the only long-term solution to the situation in Rakhine is rapid socio-economic and infrastructure development that would have a positive impact on all the communities living in the state.

India, for its part has committed to providing financial and technical assistance for specific projects to be undertaken in Rakhine in conjunction with the local authorities, she added.

Mr Mahmud Ali said Dhaka has urged India “to contribute towards exerting sustained pressure on Myanmar to find a peaceful solution to the crisis including the sustainable return of all Rohingya to their homeland”.

Though the Minister was in Dhaka for the India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission meeting, the Rohingya issue dominated talks as the crisis took a new turn, with more than half a million of them entering Bangladesh since August 25, fleeing ethnic cleansing.

Bangladesh has been seeking international support, including from India, for their safe return.

The Bangladesh Foreign Minister thanked India for its support and said India is “our most important, trusted and friendly neighbour”. He added that the relations now stand on a “historic new height” due to initiatives taken across sectors.

Attaching the “utmost importance” to its relations with Bangladesh, Ms Swaraj said, “Our relations are based on fraternal ties and are reflective of an all-encompassing partnership based on sovereignty, equality, trust and understanding that goes far beyond a strategic partnership”.

“India has always stepped in to assist Bangladesh in times of need,” she said recalling the 1971 war of independence when the Indian army shed blood with Bangladeshis to liberate the country.

The India-Bangladesh meeting, which was co-chaired by Sushma Swaraj and her Bangladesh counterpart, reviewed cooperation in countering terrorism and extremism with both side vowing to maintain zero tolerance to terrorism and extremism.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Ali said both reiterated their commitment “not to allow use of our soils against each other’s interest”.

Teesta sharing

The pending Teesta water sharing issue was also discussed, with Mr Ali recalling the statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April during Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India that the Teesta agreement would be signed during the current tenure of the two Prime Ministers.

Both ministers also witnessed the signing of three bilateral documents which include capacity building in SMEs, sale-purchase agreement between Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation and Numaligarh Refinery of India.

Ms Swaraj also met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Leader of the Opposition Raushan Ershad and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on Sunday.