On Friday Mian Nawaz Sharif had his first encounter with the major Sindhi print media. That those who called on him represented all important provincial newspapers indicated the interest evoked by the PML chief in Sindh. The questions raised encompassed a wide area and some of them must have been uncomfortable. On the whole he fielded them well. The fact of Mian Nawaz drawing main support from Punjab has been widely debated in the Sindhi media. Attempts were made initially by a section of the nationalists to portray him as a leader who represented the interests of Punjab. During the first tenure of the PML-N, fears were expressed in Sindh that he might take measures perceived by many to be against Sindh's vital interest, the foremost being the construction of the Kalabagh Dam. The suspicions were allayed to an extent when Mian Nawaz instead worked out a consensus formula on water sharing in March 1991. His dismissal by first Ghulam Ishaq Khan and then in a military coup further weakened the stand of those who persisted in presenting him as a handmaiden of the Punjabi establishment. The age-old suspicions have however continued to lurk and political opponents have at times tried to capitalise on them to isolate the PML-N. A few months back when he was planning to visit Sindh, a propaganda campaign was launched that that PML-N workers had desecrated the place in Rawalpindi where Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. One of the journalists on Friday pointedly asked him why he had only targeted Sindhis like Mr Asif Ali Zardari and retired judges, Sajjad Ali Shah and Abdul Hamid Dogar. There were also questions about his stand on the Kalabagh Dam and the role of the security agencies. Mian Nawaz made it clear that while he was a Punjabi he did not stand for parochialism but considered himself a Pakistani nationalist. Further, in order to assuage Sindhis' fears he went to the extent of assuring them that no big water reservoir would be constructed without prior consensus among the provinces despite the dire need to go ahead with the project. He also said that while he entertained strong reservations about the government's failure to do away with the 17th amendment and implement the CoD, he had no personal grudge against President Zardari. What is more, while opting to remain out of the federal government, he continued to support it as no single party could deal with the momentous challenges being currently faced by the country. He also maintained that if the agencies did not stop the games they have been playing the country might break up. Mian Nawaz was less than candid when he denied that he wanted to accumulate all powers in his hands as Amir-ul-Momineen through a constitutional amendment. National leaders should have the courage to own their blunders if they are not to repeat them. What is more, they must frequently visit other provinces to have a firsthand knowledge of the people's problems instead of remaining confined to their hometown.