LAHORE - It appears the government is not yet out of its ‘good’-and-‘bad’-Taliban approach to deal with the issue of terrorism. This is evident from Friday’s statement by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who expressed his willingness to play ball with the good Taliban who adhere to the Constitution.
“For the sake of peace and the country’s solidarity, the government is ready for talks with those who adhere to the country’s Constitution and respect its solidarity,” he said while talking to party workers at his Jaati Umra residence.
But he also made it clear that there would be no talks with those who disregarded the Constitution and were killing innocent civilians, including children.
This means the prime minister still believes there are some good Taliban in the ranks and file of a larger group of the TTP militants who would pay heed to his call for peace through negotiations.
It is, however, another thing that the government has not yet been able to identify who these good Taliban are and where they live. And even if the government knows them, it has not yet shared this good news with the nation. And one also fails to understand what has prevented the government and the good Taliban from coming closer to negotiate a peace deal for good of the nation.
Nawaz, on this occasion, also said Pakistan Army was custodian of the country’s national frontiers and its soldiers and officers were protecting the citizens without caring for their lives. He lamented that innocent civilians were being ruthlessly killed by the TTP militants. “It is time all political parties along with the entire nation should unite in this difficult hour,” he observed.
Meanwhile, addressing the 6th Annual Sports at Sharif Medical and Dental College (SMDC) here, the premier said the government was taking practical measures for providing better healthcare facilities to the masses and encouraging private sector to join hands in this regard.
“In today’s competitive world only those nations could survive that work hard for betterment and prosperity of their country,” he remarked, adding that doing social service and helping the ailing humanity was next to worship.
He appealed to philanthropists to promote the spirit and culture of goodwill, brotherhood and harmony by taking lead in serving the needy as this was the way to establish a welfare society and make the country a hub of peace and prosperity.
Nawaz said in the present fast-paced world, medical profession had assumed greater significance in view of the ever-increasing complexity and severity of many diseases. “Due to unprecedented population growth, increasing environmental pollution and excessive use of chemicals in food processing, new diseases had come to surface,” he added.
The prime minister said previously curable diseases had now become more difficult to treat.
Nawaz said it was a fact that good health was imperative to live a vigorous life as a healthy person not only lived longer, but also proved to be a productive member of the society. He urged the students to work hard and carry out their duties with utmost devotion and offer their best services to the nation.
He said students should become better human beings, and it was possible if they developed sportsman spirit.
He said sports were not merely play and fun; rather these taught the people to be team members and developed the sense of comradeship in them.
The prime minister recalled that he used to play cricket with great zeal and still loved it. “My love for sports is not only to remain healthy and fit, but I find the contentment of being in a healthy and honourable competition, which builds a character.” He said healthy body could nurture a creative mind; so it was imperative for young students to actively participate in sports. He said he was pleased that the administration of the SMDC was giving due attention to promote sports among students.
He congratulated all the students who had also excelled in sports and won medals and certificates, besides their outstanding performance in studies.
The prime minister also lauded the hard work being done by the administration, and the dedication of the faculty members with which they were grooming the future architects of the country.
He hoped teachers would continue to work with the same spirit and passion and the college would soon be rated as one of the best institutions in the country.
Nawaz Sharif said the college was established by the Sharif family in 2007 as a philanthropic gesture, which was a humble gift for the people of Pakistan, particularly, for the residents of Lahore.
A special feature of this institution was its purpose-built campus, including a college, hospital, hostels and other essential facilities at one place, he added. He said merit-based admissions enabled the institution to admit high achievers and worthy students. Though students from all walks of life were studying in this institution, while deserving and needy were given financial assistance and scholarships.
He said the Sharif family believed in social service, so it was on the forefront wherever there was an opportunity to serve the fellow countrymen.