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Shehbaz Sharif should resign!

Shehbaz Sharif is the longest serving chief minister of Pakistan’s most populous province, Punjab. He was elected for the third time in 2013 for five years, previously serving from 1997 till 1999 and from 2008 till 2013. Even though it can be said that voters vindicated him in 2013 polls, I think a strong case can be made to force him to resign. Here I will only provide six grounds for his resignation, even though much more can be said to make a case for driving him out of his current office.

1)      He is a habitual liar:

Whether it is the promise to drag the elected president on the roads of Pakistan or the invitation to change his name if he is not able to end load shedding within 6 months. If you look at his past record, you will see that it is full of statements which are outrageously fallacious, for example the statements on the role of Punjab government in the Raymond Davies case. If he does not agree to take the moral high ground and resign for lying, at least he should resign for not keeping up on his electoral promises.

2) Abuse of Power:

Until Sharif recently appointed a home minister in the Punjab cabinet, he was himself overseeing the portfolio. There have been few extreme abuses of power in his regime usually through the law enforcement agencies, which even the most totalitarian dictator would desist. Whether it is the case where a poor bakery boy in Lahore was beaten black and blue on the instance of his daughter Rabia Imran or when a case was lodged against Ayesha Ahad after she protested against his son for marrying and then deserting her. His abuse of power is not limited to cases where he is personally interested but also expands into the political domain; after all in which part of the world could a chief minister keep his office after the law enforcement agencies under him murdered 14 political opponents, yes I am talking about the model town incident.

3) He exploits his political influence:

Let’s leave alone his abuse of influence on the civil servants and legislators, not that it can be justified, but that it is a much lesser evil compared to what I have in mind; He also uses his influence, illegally and immorally; on the judiciary! I am not talking without proof. Audio tapes of his multiple conversations with Malik Qayyum, then a judge of the high court have been shown on mainstream media and are freely available on the web. In one of the tapes it can be heard that the judge disposed of a case because the chief minister ordered him to, and then Shehbaz can be heard requesting the judge to not disqualify a legislator belonging to the PML-N in a case which the judge is supposed to hear. The serving judge replies in a subordinate manner, that it will be done. If this is not misuse of political influence, then nothing can account as being exploitation of political influence.

4) Accused of mass corruption:

I do not for one second suggest that if someone has been alleged of corruption he should straight away resign, but that serious allegations of corruption have been levelled against him with logical circumstantial evidence and these allegation to date have not been answered or refuted. One of these is the ‘sasti roti scheme’ scam, despite repeated demands of an audit and release of the documents publicly; silence has been the response by the chief minister. The same can be said for the laptop scheme, why can’t you address the allegations leveled against you, are you exempt from answering the questions put forward by the populace?

5) He is devoid of decency:

Whether it is using defamatory language against his political opponents, publicly promising to drag the symbol of the federation on the roads or calling leaders of other parties as anti-state without any substantial proof, he completely lacks the maturity to be a chief minister. Similarly it is a well-known fact that he does not treat his own party workers with respect, rather treats them as his personal servants.

6) He is incompetent:

Perhaps the most convincing reason for his resignation should be his incompetence. Other than a red bus that covers a route of 0.1% of roads in Pakistan, his government has been plagued by incompetent policies. Whether that is shoving funds from laptops rather than providing basic education to those who can’t afford it, or not being able to control the floods when they come every other year. Yes, he is good with political stunts though, such as riding a bike or running around in water. Please, no one wants you half wet in water, we don’t want you acting after a calamity strikes, please prevent it since its predictable and strikes every year.  Will the same happen in 2015?

In my opinion even Hitler could be forced to resign after such a record of governance, but it seems Shehbaz will not act on his own. I think it’s high time that we act together and demand his resignation.

‘’Power doesn’t corrupt people, people corrupt power.’’

William Gaddis


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