LAHORE - On the same day, two brothers took two different approaches to wooing the international community. In an interview with the daily Dawn newspaper, Mian Nawaz Sharif, talking to DawnLeaks author Cyril Almeida in Multan, appeared to concede that the Mumbai attackers were Pakistani, and should have been dealt with in Pakistan (through a legal route) by now. “Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial?”

He suggested that introspection was required to examine why our national narrative had not been accepted, while that of Afghanistan was finding sympathetic ears in the international community. “We have isolated ourselves. Despite giving sacrifices, our narrative is not being accepted. Afghanistan’s narrative is being accepted, but ours is not. We must look into it.”

Meanwhile, in Islamabad, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif was introduced as “the next Prime Minister of Pakistan” to an audience of over 75 diplomats, including the British Ambassador, Thomas Drew, the Chinese Ambassador, Yao Jing, and many more. In the two and a half hour luncheon, Mian Shehbaz Sharif spoke passionately, and answered questions about Pakistan’s commitment to fighting terrorism, expanding the economy, increasing the number of taxpayers, and vowed to break the begging bowl.

Where one brother seemed to confirm the international community’s suspicions about Pakistan, the other tried to project a positive picture of a nation reformed looking to build itself up. Which one was more realistic, remains to be discussed.

Mian Nawaz Sharif is still supreme leader of the PMLN. Where other party members speak confidently of Mian Shehbaz Sharif as the next Prime Minister, Mian Nawaz Sharif takes care to offer as few direct assurances of this as possible. “There is a lot of appreciation for Shehbaz Sharif. Look around this city and see how it’s totally transformed.”

Mian Nawaz Sharif is feeling like a kingmaker now, and he sees his task as speaking truth to the ‘aliens’. Mian Shehbaz Sharif is yet to be king, and knows that treading on eggshells is the only way to navigate this time and emerge with a prize. However, two opposite approaches may yield no result at all, and PML-N as a whole may suffer. A homogenous approach is needed. Whether of a hawk or a dove.