The question by an anchorperson of a private TV channel on the alleged manhandling of an employee at a bakery in DHA was, indeed, nauseating when he asked: “Why Ali Imran, the son-in-law of Mian Shahbaz Sharif, was charged instead of his daughter?”
In fact, as soon as the matter was brought to the notice of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, he ordered an inquiry into it and a Lahore court sent Imran on a 14-day judicial remand. Though he was not spotted in the TV footage, the police had prayed to the court to send him on remand.
Imran’s lawyers submitted a bail application in court, which was strictly in accordance with the law. Article 10(2) of Constitution says: “Every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before a Magistrate within a period of 24 hours of such arrest, and no such person shall be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of a Magistrate.”
Anyhow, Shahbaz Sharif deserves accolades for upholding the rule of law, as in case of Moonis Illahi, son of former CM Punjab Chaudhry Pervaiz Ilahi, and Ali Musa Gilani, son of former PM Yousuf Raza Gilani, who resorted to all evasive tactics to avert prosecution. In civilised societies, indeed, all citizens are equal before the law, and no one is above it - not even the rulers!
The way Shahbaz conducted himself in the “Bakery Affair”, undoubtedly, he has established a paradigm to be emulated by other leaders. It has to be mentioned that Mian Shahbaz is acknowledged even by his detractors as an administrator par excellence, since he has made Punjab a symbol of good governance. The speed with which development work is going on in Lahore is, indeed, commendable.
Shahbaz Sharif is the only Pakistani Chief Minister, who enjoys respect internationally. Be it China, Germany or any other country, their government functionaries are impressed by his performance in running the Punjab province with a population of more than three provinces combined together. In January, Shahbaz visited Germany to attend the International Green Week Exhibition in Berlin where he met the visiting European investors individually as well as in groups. The investors and audience had evinced keen interest in the exhibition of various Pakistani items and agri-produce. He had all praise for education system in Germany. German philosopher Max Weber had made tremendous contribution to lay a solid foundation for education. Later, the formation of the German Empire by Bismark in 1871 helped centralise education. When World War I ended, the Weimar Republic developed a free elementary school called the Grundschule and since then, every government focused on degree level and higher education. It was, against this backdrop, that Germany achieved tremendous success in the field of science and technology.
Keeping this mind, Shahbaz focused more attention on the education sector that is commendable. It is an established fact that education is the prime factor in the social well being of any nation. It is a strategic tool in nation building through skill development and vision enhancement; it also directly contributes towards economic growth.
The Punjab government, under the leadership and guidance of Mian Shahbaz, has established Danish schools for the talented poor that will be a stepping stone towards producing scientists, engineers and scholars. The problem, however, is that Pakistan spends just around 1.5 percent of the GDP on education due to lack of resources. So the question is: how can we increase the resources to enhance allocation for education?
Obviously, the manufacturing sector has to be revived that is not working to full capacity due to power shortage. After the 18th Amendment, CM Shahbaz is all set to work on energy projects that will help revive the industry in Punjab.
In his quest to boost production, Shahbaz is striving to enhance power generation in the province. In January 2012, during his four-day visit to Turkey, he had met with Istanbul’s Mayor, the Governor and the Energy Minister, and discussed issues of mutual interest with them. During his meeting with Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yaldez, the CM discussed cooperation in various projects between the Punjab government and Turkey. Yaldez, too, offered his country’s support to Sharif in overcoming the ongoing energy crisis in Pakistan. If these offers are translated into action, Shahbaz would be able to improve the lives of teeming millions who are living below the poverty line. Despite the onslaught from some political parties, the PML-N stands a good chance in the next elections because of sterling performance of Mian Shahbaz Sharif.
The writer is a freelance columnist.