Fighting extremism: Shahbaz questions Afghan jihad policy

CM Shahbaz addresses the participants of Express Media Festival in Lahore. PHOTO: EXPRESS

CM Shahbaz addresses the participants of Express Media Festival in Lahore. PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: Emphasising the need for introspection and learning from past mistakes, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Friday called into question the country’s decision to enter the Afghan war in the 1980s, saying the misstep sowed the seeds of militancy and extremism in Pakistan.

“Had Pakistan not engaged in the so-called Afghan jihad during the 1980s, the country today would have been a peaceful one,” said Shahbaz, while addressing an event, organised in collaboration with the Express Media Group in connection with the upcoming Independence Day.

The chief minister highlighted the need to assess the past seven decades to grasp an understanding of the mistakes committed in order to prevent the same from recurring. “While there is no room for despondency, we can’t say all is well. We need to learn from the past and then move ahead,” he added.

Talking with reference to the fall of Dhaka and formation of Bangladesh in 1971, Shahbaz said Pakistan has had a painful history. The CM also questioned the ‘so-called good’, the military dictators had brought to the country during their regimes.

Shahbaz also supported the struggle of the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir and said the region will soon become part of Pakistan in the same manner as East Germany has merged into West Germany.

The CM also mentioned the energy project initiated by the ruling PML-N government and said work was being done to ensure early completion of the 900MW Neelum-Jhelum project as well as the 1320MW Sahiwal coal-power project.

He said the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a gift to Pakistan from China, which has expressed confidence on the Pakistani leadership. “Bring back the Pakistan of Quaid-e-Azam and Iqbal. Only then can checks be put in place to end nepotism and corruption,” he added.

In the event, national figures like SM Zafar, Dr Umar Saif, Syed Noor, Arif Nizami, Faisal Edhi, Abdul Qadir and Bishop Alexander John Malik were also honoured for their contribution in their fields.

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