PMLN fields outlawed LeJ’s patron as candidate in election: Leading National Daily
Daily Times, Lahore-based national English daily has unveiled the Nawaz Sharif-led PMLN’s connection with the notorious outlawed terrorist group Sipah-e-Sahaba and its offshoot outlawed Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
“Pre-election campaigning is usually the perfect opportunity for political parties and politicians to show their best face to the public. It seems the PML-N does not believe in this motto as it has shown its ‘true colours’ to the people. The PML-N has awarded a party ticket to a very shady character, Sardar Ebad Dogar, who is a known supporter of the banned sectarian organisation called Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) — a name that sends chills down one’s spine,” reads April 23 editorial of the paper.
Daily Times Editorial said that the terrorist group had been reinvented under a new banner, the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat (ASWJ), in a bid to seek some sort of legitimacy for its hate crimes but it has not deviated from its mission: to promote sectarian strife throughout the country, particularly in Punjab.
“Fingers have been pointed at the Sharif brothers and their party for a long time now for their involvement with and appeasement of the SSP of which the murderous Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) is an offshoot,” says the editorial.
It goes on to say that iIt merits mention that the outlawed LeJ is the very group that was behind 2013’s carnage against the Shia Hazaras of Quetta where hundreds were killed and many scores injured in separate attacks hardly two months apart in the beginning of this year.
For a mainstream party to patronise elements from groups such as the SSP speaks volumes about the priorities the PML-N has: appeal to terrorist outfits such as these to win the necessary number of seats in the upcoming elections. The support of the PML-N for this vile person, who also, incidentally, called for late governor Salmaan Taseer’s death in Asia Bibi’s blasphemy case and announced head money of Rs 20 million for anyone who would carry out the foul deed, shows that the party has lost touch with the real need of the times: to promote peace, security and stability in a country that is wracked with violence and hate.
Daily Times that was co-founded by Salman Taseer and Najam Sethi, now caretaker chief minister Punjab says it is distasteful and unacceptable that Mr Dogar get the backing and legality of status of a mainstream political party, which is the main party to represent Punjab.
“Everyone recalls when Rana Sanaaullah toured Jhang with the leader of SSP, Ahmad Ludhianvi in 2010. It was surprising then to see a prominent member of the PML-N hobnobbing with the mastermind of an organisation that has left death, destruction and blood in its wake, and it is no less surprising now to see the party award precious tickets to candidates who have just as much malice and hate to show,” reads the editorial.
However, besides surprise, it is alarming to see this kind of camaraderie and promotion going on. It is deeply unsettling because inevitable forecasts are predicting that the Sharif brothers could very well be catapulted to power again. If Dogar’s party ticket is a sign of things to come, the PML-N’s winning in this election may bring a heavy price to pay in future in terms of the ‘protection’ sectarian terrorist groups will enjoy. It will give cover and legitimacy to hate groups who think they can practice their own brand of sectarian extremism with impunity. The Sharifs ought to bear in mind that, when playing with fire, one is liable to get one’s fingers burnt.
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