Dawn – ICJ rejects India’s plea for Jadhav’s return, grants consular access

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday announced its verdict on the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, ruling that Jadhav be allowed consular access immediately and asking Pakistan to ensure “effective review and reconsideration of his conviction and sentences”.

Den Haag – Zuidholland – The Netherlands, 17 July 2019. The ICJ, however, rejected all other remedies sought by India, which included the annulment of the military court decision convicting Jadhav, restricting Pakistan from executing the sentence, securing Jadhav’s release and ordering his return to India.

Accompanied by Queen’s counsel Barrister Khawar Qureshi, a 13-member Pakistani delegation, led by Attorney General Anwar Mansoor along with the Foreign Office’s Director General South Asia Dr Mohammad Faisal and comprising officials of the ministries of law and foreign affairs, was present in the courtroom.

The ICJ said that even though it had found Pakistan in violation of Article 36 the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR), “it is not the conviction and sentence of Mr. Jadhav which are to be regarded as a violation of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention.”

The most the ICJ said it could do was to order Pakistan to cease violation of Article 36 and review the case in light of how that violation may have affected the case’s outcome.

“The Court notes that Pakistan acknowledges that the appropriate remedy in the present case would be effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence,” it observed.

To this end, Pakistan was directed to immediately inform Jadhav of his rights under Article 36, grant India consular access, and then review the case while considering, under the laws of Pakistan, how not doing so earlier may have impacted the case’s outcome.

Pakistan had argued that Article 36 is not applicable to persons believed to be involved in espionage.

“The Court considers that the violation of the rights set forth in Article 36, paragraph 1, of the Vienna Convention, and its implications for the principles of a fair trial, should be fully examined and properly addressed during the review and reconsideration process,” the court directed.

“In particular, any potential prejudice and the implications for the evidence and the right of defence of the accused should receive close scrutiny during the review and reconsideration,” it said.

“The Court notes that the obligation to provide effective review and reconsideration can be carried out in various ways. The choice of means is left to Pakistan,” it added. However, it stressed that, “Pakistan shall take all measures to provide for effective review and reconsideration, including, if necessary, by enacting appropriate legislation.” While that matter is decided, Pakistan has been directed to suspend the execution of the death penalty awarded to Jadhav.

Looking at it from the Pakistani side the ICJ ruling does not really look like a victory for India. I had hoped that the ICJ would have disallowed the military court and that it would have been critical about the death sentence.
Man in Blue


Dawn – US welcomes increased ‘people-to-people ties’ between Pakistan – India through Kartarpur

Washington DC – USA, 17 July 2019. The USA State Department on Tuesday said that it was “incredibly supportive” of anything that increases “people-to-people ties between India and Pakistan”.

During a press briefing, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus was asked to comment on the Kartarpur Corridor: “Yeah, that was certainly a good news report, wasn’t it? We encourage it,” she said.

“Anything that increases people-to-people ties between India and Pakistan is something that we’re incredibly supportive of,” she added.

Ortagus’ comments follow the latest talks between the two sides, which took place on July 14, on the opening of the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims. Pakistan claimed to have made headway on “80 per cent and beyond” issues in the much-delayed second round of talks.

The talks were held at the Wagah border where a 13-member Pakistan team was led by Saarc and South Asia desk Director General and Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, while an eight-member Indian team was headed by interior joint secretary S.C.L. Das.

The corridor, a peace initiative of the Pakistani government, is being constructed to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. The corridor will provide Indian Sikhs visa-free access to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Pakistan.

To work out modalities for the opening of Kartarpur opening, a Pakistani delegation on March 14 visited Attari where a meeting was held with Indian officials.

While the next round of talks was scheduled for April 2 at Wagah, India pulled out of it over reservations that pro-Khalistan activists such as Gopal Chawla and Bisan Singh had been included in Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, a body that works for facilitating Sikh pilgrims.

The Indian Ministry for External Affairs on that occasion had stated: “The next meeting on the modalities can be scheduled at an appropriate time after receiving Pakistan’s response.” Pakistan’s FO had then regretted the Indian decision to cancel the meeting.


Dawn – Kartarpur Corridor: Activist concerned at ‘massive construction’ on Indian side

Our Staff Reporter

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 16 July 2019. The world Sikh community has expressed its concern at the big ‘airport-like’ constructions by India on its side of border at Kartarpur, dwarfing the Nishan Sahib (Sikh flag) planned at Darbar Sahib and Pakistan agreeing to a fairly large number of pilgrims that may damage ecology of the sacred fields around the Sikh heritage site.

“Sikh diaspora comprising around 27 million souls is much concerned at reports that India is constructing an ‘airport-like’ terminal worth Rs 5 billion at Dera Baba Nanak.

It includes a 300 feet [high] Indian monumental flag, which will neither represent the spiritual essence of the sacred space nor the heritage architecture from the Guru period or the Sikh architecture [of] post-Guru period,” laments Gurmeet Kaur, who leads a world Sikh campaign for preserving 100-acre fields of Baba Nanak era at Kartarpur.

In a statement released here on Monday, she says the Indian flag, presumably higher than the Nishan Sahib (Sikh flag) that has been planned at the Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur, smacks of supremacy and ego and not of honour and “submission to the feet of the great Guru”.

She adds that the step has created a “catch-22 like” situation for Pakistan as if it decides to put a flag post taller than the Nishan Sahib, it puts itself in an awkward position with the Sikhs, if lower, it gives India the first win in “the Attari-Wagah-like macho contest”.

Apprehends ecological harm to heritage site because of ‘overcrowding’

Ms Kaur also expresses concerns at Islamabad agreeing to visa-free access for 5000 pilgrims daily, fearing such a large number of visitors may hurt the flora and fauna as envisioned by Baba Nanak for Kartarpur.

“While India has been nitpicking over the generous offer of Pakistan to open the corridor for 500-750 Sikh pilgrims a day at the opening, India wants it to allow up to 10,000 tourists per day and more on special occasions, right away. India is also demanding opening of the corridor to people of all faiths (not just Sikhs).

“Ecologists and the well-meaning Sikhs have been screaming about how the fragile terrain and ecosystem of Kartarpur is already under attack with the massive corridor construction. And, five to ten thousand pilgrims a day would put a huge strain requiring enormous and hasty commercial construction on the land where forests, orchards and organic fields of Baba Nanak existed for five and a half centuries.”

She says the Sikh diaspora thinks that haphazard construction at this sacred site means losing all chances of archeologically reviving and rebuilding the historical space, buildings and artifacts as they may have existed in Baba Nanak’s time – Baba Nanak’s Kartarpur.

A social activist, Ms Kaur also points to the exclusion of Sikh representatives from the Kartarpur talks and objects to confining the consultation process on the corridor only to the Pakistan Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee, representing only a small Sikh community of around 27,000 souls.

“From the politics being played to the headlines being made, Kartarpur Corridor seems to have been reduced to another version of Wagah-Attari display in the making, that of the macho control and supremacy over each other, between Modi’s India and Khan’s Pakistan, under the pretext of peace at the cost of Baba Nanak’s legacy, where his Sikhs have no say,” she regrets.

She has called upon Pakistan government to change the “game plan” by bringing together archeological, heritage and ecological experts and rebuilding Kartarpur as Baba Nanak had envisioned and intended it to be.

It would raise Pakistan’s head higher in the eyes of around 100 million Baba Nanak’s lovers from around the world, more so than the 300 feet flag pole India plans to erect at the border, for all times to come, she concludes.


Dawn – Rain, windstorm lash many cities of Punjab

Our Staff Reporter

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 14 July 2019. Rain that was heavy at places and windstorms lashed many cities in Punjab and upper parts of the country on Saturday.

The Met office reported rain in Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Lahore, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Sahiwal, Malakand, Hazara, and Peshawar divisions, besides Kashmir and Islamabad.

Attock recorded 58mm, Hafizabad 33, Mandi Bahauddin 32, Islamabad (Zero Point 31, Bokra 23, airport 6, Saidpur 5), Rawalpindi (Shamsabad 33, Chaklala 27), Sargodha 26, Joharabad 20, Narowal 19, Gujranwala 18, Sialkot (airport 20, Cantt 16), Jhelum 15, Mangla 14, Gujrat 12, Lahore (airport 11, city 5), Chakwal 10, Murree 5, Okara 4, Faisalabad 3, Kasur 02, Muzaffarabad 43, Garidupatta 5, Rawalakot 3, Kotli 01, Kakul 5, Malamjabba 4, while Kalam and Saidu Sharif recived 2mm rain.

Rain in the country is being caused by monsoon currents and the Met department says these are likely to strengthen on Sunday.

It forecast widespread rain, thundershower (few moderate-to-heavy falls) with windstorm in Kashmir, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Malakand, Hazara, Peshawar, Gujranwala divisions, while at scattered places in Kohat, Bannu, Faisalabad, Lahore, Sargodha divisions and Gilgit-Baltistan in the next 24 hours.

Heavy-to-very heavy falls are also expected at isolated places in Hazara, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Lahore divisions, besides Islamabad and Kashmir.

The Flood Forecasting Division says the River Kabul at Nowshera was in medium flood. All the other major rivers are flowing below the low-flood level.

It expects moderate to heavy thunderstorm/rain with one or two very heavy falls over the upper catchments of the River Indus. Scattered thunderstorm/rain with isolated heavy falls was also expected over the upper catchments of rivers Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej.


Dawn – Special police-team to probe murder of journalist and friend

Karachi – Sindh – Pakistan, 11 July 2019. Police have launched an investigation into the murder of a TV anchorperson and his friend over a monetary dispute allegedly by their business partner who later attempted to take his own life on Tuesday night.

Officials said on Wednesday that two FIRs pertaining to the double murder and attempted suicide had been registered and a special team had been formed to investigate the matter.

Mureed Abbas, 34, anchor­person of Bol TV, and his friend Khizar Hayat, 45, were gunned down by Atif Zaman at separate places within the remit of Darakhshan police. Later, when a police party reached the residence of Atif Zaman, he tried to commit suicide.

“The suspect, Atif Zaman, had shot himself in the heart and got admitted to a private hospital where his condition was improving,” said SSP South Sheeraz Nazeer.

Quoting the doctors, SSP Nazeer said that Zaman’s heart was not damaged and his arteries were not affected.

The police officer said that Khizar, Abbas and Atif were friends and business partners, but the monetary dispute caused animosity among them.

At around 8.25pm on Tuesday, Madadgar-15 police received a call from one Zain, who reported that a man had suffered gunshot wounds.

The police rushed to the spot where the witness told them that the man (Khizar) received bullets in Khayaban-i-Bukhari. Khizar was taken to a hospital near Bilawal House where he was pronounced dead.

Around half an hour later, the police received another call from one Mudassir Iqbal who said there had been gunshots aimed at Mureed Abbas at Khayaban-i-Bukhari. The police rushed to the spot. He was taken to a hospital but he died on his way.

According to the SSP South, acting on an intelligence report and technical assistance, the police rushed to the residence of Atif Zaman at Nishat Commercial and cordoned off the area.

“The police party reached the building and knocked at the door of Atif’s apartment on the third floor. A gunshot was heard from inside the flat and it was Atif who attempted to commit suicide,” said the officer.

The SSP said Atif was taken to a nearby private hospital. His health was improving, he added.

Darakshan police have registered two FIRs, one against Atif under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code on a complaint of Mureed Abbas’s wife and the other against Atif for attempting to commit suicide.


Dawn – What I learnt at Google’s ‘Women Will Lead’ Conference

Statistics showcased at the event proved that women are underpaid, overworked and burnt-out

Taniya Hasan

Karachi – Sindh – Pakistan, 09 July 2019. If you feel women are grossly underrepresented in boardrooms you would have been blown away with the insights and statistics shared at Google initiative ‘Women Will’ Workshop held on July 5, 2019 at Avari Hotel, Karachi.

The Workshop was facilitated by Sarah Liu, an entrepreneur, brand strategist, author, speaker and advocate for women in leadership. Liu was informative, motivational and sent shockwaves amongst the audience, which comprised aspiring women leaders, as they were presented with the statistics that indicate that Pakistan ranks 148 (out of 149 countries) on the Gender Equality Scale.

With Yemen at 149, Pakistan is one just one spot away from becoming the country with the WORST gender disparity in the entire world. Shocked already? Fasten your seat belts curious minds, we’re about to enter turbulent territories. Here are four things I learnt by attending the workshop.

1. Only 25% of women in Pakistan are part of the workforce

Did you know that 77% of men in the world are part of the workforce, while only 50% of women work? In Pakistan, 82% of men work, while 25% of women enter the field with leadership aspirations. This is one of the main reasons Pakistan has a Global Equality Ranking of 148.

When further surveyed under the lens of gender equality, Pakistan stood at 146 for Economic Participation, 138 for Education Attainment and 145 for Security & Health. In a nutshell, women’s representation on Pakistan’s map of economic prosperity is pretty grim to say the least.

However, one factor where women comparatively get more opportunities than all the other pillars of national progress mentioned above is, politics! Pakistan is #97 when it comes to Gender Equality in politics so maybe you should take a moment to thank women politicians even if you don’t agree with their rhetoric.

2. Self-effacement is self-sabotage.

That self-policing, self-doubt you keep putting yourself under snowballs from a personal issue to a national-level concern faster than you think. Studies show that a woman only applies for a job when she meets 90% of the requirements mentioned while men would even apply to jobs they meet only 60% of the requirements for.

In another shocking revelation, 69% of men negotiate and ask for a higher package during their interview as compared to only seven percent of women! So next time you go for an interview, leave self-deprecating thoughts like ‘maybe I’m asking for too much’, ‘I mean I did take a career break so a pay cut makes sense’ at home.

3. She-EOs are the future

Women CEOs and leaders, despite their “complicated biology” and “moody” dispositions, outperform their male counterparts within their industries by 15% and the overall market by 28%! They have also been proven to have improved the general rate of emotional literacy at their organisation and are therefore able to open new doors for collaboration and communication.

4. Women are outrageously underpaid

It’s obviously no secret women are paid less than men because they’re not exactly the proverbial “breadwinners”. While the Subcontinent is a whole new level altogether, you’d be surprised to know that women in leadership positions globally and actresses in Hollywood also face the same issue.

In an interview, actress Michelle Williams divulged that while she was paid less than a $1,000 for a reshoot, her male co-star was paid a staggering $1.5 million (that’s a thousand times more!). The pay gap is expected to equalise by 2078 which is a long way to go and until then women will earn 85% of what men do and this gap keeps growing with age.

Ultimately, Women Will Lead was an eye opener on many levels even for someone like me who has spent a good number of years in marketing. While I always had an idea that gender biases prevalent in our industries are brushed under the carpet to maintain the peace index of the companies, I didn’t realise they were this distressing.

The statistics showcased at the event prove that women are underpaid, overworked and burnt out with implicit bias which, when combined with their self-policing and disinclination to fight for equal pay, only make things worse first on the personal, then on national and global level.


Dawn – 37 PML-N MPAs have almost formed a forward bloc, claims Rashid

Our Staff Reporter

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 07 July 2019. Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid has hinted at more arrests from the opposition, including former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, in the coming days.

He also claims that former finance minister Ishaq Dar would be brought back to Pakistan from the UK in the next seven days.

“Whosoever is crying these days is about to be arrested. Ishaq Dar too will be brought back soon to Pakistan from the UK. He will be here before my next press conference next week,” he told journalists at a press conference on Saturday.

The minister also faced reporters’ anger over the misbehaviour of Pakistan Railways (PR) chief executive officer (CEO) with a senior journalist last week over the reporting of a derailment at the Lahore railway station.

As soon as the minister started the press conference, the journalists urged him to summon the CEO for tendering an apology.

Although the minister tried to pacify the journalists by apologising on behalf of the CEO, they did not agree and boycotted the press conference. However, they returned after sometime and condemned the minister for not behaving with them appropriately.

Continuing his presser, the minister said a forward bloc of 37 PML-N MPAs was almost formed in the Punjab Assembly. However, the bloc in the National Assembly only had a handful of members so far. “In the PA, the bloc still needs seven more members to be effective,” he added.

Rashid criticised PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz for creating troubles for her family. “Maryam Nawaz Sharif is the person who put the PML-N government into great troubles. If she wants to do a public meeting, she can, as it doesn’t matter for the government,” he added.

Talking about the ongoing development in the railways, he said several chunks of benami property worth billions belonging to the PR had been detected. On the instructions of the prime minister, the Mianwali Express would be launched on July 19 between Lahore and Mianwali.

He further said the PR had taken over administrative and functional control of the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club on Saturday. “There will be no problems for the club members, as they can carry out their routine activities there. We have also issued a direction against allowing entry of any person, including non-member PR officers, to the club.”

The minister revealed that the PR would soon send corruption references to the National Accountability Bureau about launch/operation of Business and Shalimar express trains.


Dawn – ‘Under siege’: Fear and defiance mark life for Pakistan’s Hazaras

“We want to serve Pakistan and despite suffering tragedies and incidents, our love for peace has not diminished.”

Quetta – Balochistan – Pakistan, 05 July 2019. High walls around the neighbourhoods of Pakistan’s embattled Hazara community in Quetta are designed to protect them from extremist militants, but also serve as a constant reminder of the threat they face.

Soldiers and security checkpoints greet visitors to Hazara Town, one of two large guarded neighbourhoods in the capital of Baluchistan, where religious and sectarian groups often target the mostly Shia Hazaras with bombs and guns.

Despite improved security in recent years, partly because most Hazaras have moved into the guarded enclaves, hardline militants keep up attacks, such as a blast in April that killed 24 people, among them eight Hazaras.

“We are living under siege for more than 1-1/2 decades due to sectarian attacks,” said Sardar Sahil, a Hazara lawyer and rights activist.

“Though all these checkposts were established for our security, we feel we were ourselves also cut off from other communities.”

Sahil carries a pistol whenever he leaves home, and relies on his faith as a second layer of security.

“I kiss my mother’s hand and she kisses me too, and says goodbye with her prayers and good wishes,” Sahil told Reuters at his home.

Hazaras, said to be descendants of the Mongols who swept out of central Asia to rule the subcontinent for many centuries, are easily distinguishable in Pakistan by their facial features.

That has made them vulnerable to attacks by groups such as Pakistan’s banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), and Sunni militant group Islamic State, which has attacked them in both Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan, also home to many Hazaras.

Many community businesses that flourished in Quetta’s bustling wholesale markets have shuttered and relocated to Hazara Town or Mari Abad, another Hazara neighbourhood.

But the community is defiant. Some still venture out into Quetta in search of work, while others keep businesses running.

The Quetta community held its first Hazara Culture Day this week to celebrate and showcase its history, music and traditions.

The community strives to keep its protests peaceful, despite unrest stirred up by militants looking to pit people of different sects against each other, said Abdul Khaliq Hazara, chairman of the Hazara Democratic Party (HDP), which has two provincial assembly representatives.

Domestic media often portray the Hazaras as targets of sectarian attacks or holding sit-ins to demand greater protection, but the community is developing and growing, said martial arts specialist Nargis Hazara.

“Every one of us has a dream, a target and aim in our heart, to change the image of Hazaras in the world, and especially in Pakistan,” added the 20-year-old who last year became Pakistan’s first winner of an Asian Games medal in karate.

Many Hazaras have joined the armed forces in Pakistan, where the community’s past and future will stay rooted despite any violence, said another martial arts expert, Mubarak Ali Shan.

“We want to serve Pakistan and despite suffering tragedies and incidents, our love for peace has not diminished,” he added.


Dawn – Anti-Narcotics Force arrests Rana Sanaullah from Islamabad-Lahore motorway

Tahir Naseer

Sukheke Mandi – Panjab – Pakistan, 01 July 2019. PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah Khan was arrested on Monday by the Anti Narcotics Force’s (ANF) Lahore team while he was traveling from Faisalabad to Lahore, sources in the ANF confirmed to DawnNewsTV.

The senior PML-N leader was arrested from the Islamabad-Lahore motorway near the Sukheki area, the sources said.

The ANF has not officially specified the charges on which Sanaullah has been picked up. An official statement on the charges will be issued soon, a source said.

PML-N leader Attaullah Tarrar told reporters that he had contacted Sanullah today. According to him, the PML-N provincial president was about to leave the Sukheki area to attend a meeting in Lahore. The former provincial law minister was appointed president of PML-N Punjab in May this year.

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif strongly condemned the arrest and said that Sanaullah was arrested without any allegation and case against him. He termed it the worst example of “lawlessness and political revenge”.

Sharif alleged that it was another example of using state institutions against political opponents. He demanded of the government to produce Sanaullah before a court of law. PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz blamed Prime Minister Imran Khan for the arrest, accusing him of being “directly behind” the arrest.

This is a developing story that is being updated as the situation evolves. Initial reports in the media can sometimes be inaccurate. We will strive to ensure timeliness and accuracy by relying on credible sources such as concerned, qualified authorities and our staff reporters.


Dawn – It takes two to tangle

Asha’ar Rehman

Lahore – Panjab – Pakistan, 28 June 2019. Signs are that the powers within the house of Sharif are finding it a wee bit tough to reconcile with each other’s authority. The latest proof of a lack of, or a need for, adjustment came in the shape of a statement by Ms Maryam Nawaz that was found by the rightly inclined to be agitating against the considered view of her uncle, Mian Shahbaz Sharif.

Ms Nawaz had dubbed any possible ‘meesaq-i-maeeshat’, or charter of economy, ‘mazaq-i-maeeshat’ or a joke with the economy. This provided the channels with an opportunity, and they had a field day identifying the breach inside the Sharif fortress, not for the first, nor likely the last, time.

The expected twist to this little rift that cast a long shadow over the Sharif dynasty’s internal discipline was given by Ms Nawaz who, as predicted, furnished a fresh statement of her belief in the leadership of Mr Shahbaz Sharif.

The PML-N would have behaved as if Ms Maryam Nawaz’s oath of allegiance to her leader has resolved the small matter. But its desire to stay poker-faced in the wake of the fresh realities aside, there are new centres of powers to be spotted inside the PML-N camp for anyone who cares to see.

The sequence where a remark is passed by one of the authorities within the PML-N and then withdrawn on one pretext or the other has been played just too many times. The strain, or the causes that could lead to one, is increasingly showing.

To begin with, it is unnatural for anyone to believe that two leaderships diametrically opposed to each other over not just strategy but, ‘visibly’, ideology as well can coexist in a party.

Quite often, mistakenly, the Shahbaz-Maryam situation is compared to the old and successful formula where Mr Shahbaz Sharif and Mian Nawaz Sharif were supposed to be individually, and separately, providing leadership to the PML-N in the past.

The attempt to draw a parallel between that long-serving arrangement and the current understanding has been flawed from the beginning, since over all these years of spectacular PML-N victories and occasional setbacks, it was never in any doubt as to who the supreme leader was.

Mian Nawaz Sharif is still that supreme adhesive but his capacity to provide a bonding at every required moment has been grossly compromised by his incarceration.

Everyday decisions pertaining to running party politics have to be taken by the relatively more free souls existing outside the walls of Kot Lakhpat jail.

The process to reach these decisions is most definitely going to shackle the minds of those who make them, given the different directions that Mr Shahbaz Sharif and Ms Maryam Nawaz took as evident in this latest two-pronged, in fact two-faced, PML-N front.

Over the decades, analysts, comprising both, the one with ill intent and the well-wishers, have struggled to break down the ingredients of what went into the solid and lasting partnership between the Sharif brothers.

One easy explanation we all relied upon for years was that it was the presence of Mian Sharif, the Sharif dynasty founder, which had kept his sons united.

When the patriarch passed away during the Sharif exile after the 1999 coup, some readily described it as the moment that was to release Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif from each other’s bondage.

It was thought that soon they would embark on their independent journeys determined by the difference in their respective personalities. It’s been some years since the alliance has survived the worst wishes that have been directed its way.

Looking for ever simpler explanations, the major, if not the clinching, reason for the continued partnership between these two politicians with distinct styles was said to be Mr Shahbaz Sharif’s belief in the unshakeable patriarchal system.

It was said that he was able to easily replace his father with his elder brother as the leader, propped up on the basis of the respect that those with more recent origins must have for their elders.

In the most celebrated local tradition of jauris or duos or pairs, allegiance by the younger to the older statesmen is considered absolutely essential, and as recent trends go, the Nawaz-Shahbaz jauri is the most steadfast and the hardest to crack.

Many other pairings seemingly unbreakable at one time, have fallen by the wayside; usually such allies were seduced or devoured by interests around them.

Like items in a scheme, this allegiance business is complemented by other matters of convention. In times, when resistance is inevitable against the old forces holding the puzzle together many old things that are not being ostensibly targeted do come under immense pressure to survive.

And a match between the ostensible and really desirable takes an altogether new meaning when the spotlight is put back on the PML-N in its present state.

Ms Maryam Nawaz is out to challenge, even if some old observers insist that what she has put up is a facade, and a longing for a deal with the establishment is not any less pronounced in her camp in comparison with other power-chasers in the country.

Her stance is going to repeatedly bring her in confrontation, before anyone else, with the much more softly moving Mr Shahbaz Sharif. And this despite the fact that for all practical purposes the Shahbazian command of the PML-N was replaced with a Maryam takeover of the party some time ago.

A Shahbaz Sharif having wielded so much authority in his typically flamboyant style, it is a picture that is most difficult to imagine. There will have to be rationalisation here. One plank will have to retreat.

The other option is the takeover of the PML-N by one of the two factions after a clash that will be difficult to paper over with high-sounding, conventional lines.

The writer is Dawn’s resident editor in Lahore.