Danyal Hasnain Gondal
Opinion

Shahbaz Sharif – the Punjabi Man of Steel

 The writer is a law graduate from LUMS and is currently practicing civil litigation.
The writer is a law graduate from LUMS and is currently practicing civil litigation.

It is no secret that the government under Nawaz Sharif has been overtly trying to forge strong socio-economic ties with China. The government has always tilted towards infrastructural development, which has been mainly Punjab centric, and has looked towards its key ally, China, in order to help fund numerous projects.

In lieu of this policy to foster and hone key relations, Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif took a two-day trip to China, from 27th-29th July. During this visit, he signed seventeen memorandums of understand and seven agreements between Pakistan and various Chinese companies in Beijing. These agreements were with relation to projects on water treatment, textiles, energy, establishment of industrial estates, steel, promotion of exhibitions and trade fairs and providing vocational training. Shahbaz Sharif also took the opportunity to emphasize his desire for budding Pakistani entrepreneurs to work together with Chinese firms, in order to strengthen cooperation and increase trade.

Interestingly, Shahbaz Sharif, despite being an elected representative of the province of Punjab, signed a plethora of agreements as if he were the representative of the entire country. This is a manifestation of PMLN’s continued focus towards developing Punjab, at the expense of other provinces. No other elected representative from other provinces in Pakistan was present, which made Shahbaz Sharif not just the representative from Punjab, but Pakistan itself. Conversely, the other 3 provincial Chief Ministers lack such international outreach and unremitting access to federal government’s funds and resources.

Moreover, the younger Sharif’s posturing as the ‘Man of Steel’ has been heeded by the Chinese as well and it seems that the Chinese government acknowledged Shahbaz’s special status, which is why it accorded the Punjab Chief Minister with special protocol. This stupendous welcome has a considerable deal to do with the inexorable support lent to him by the elder Sharif and his federal dispensation. Under normal circumstances, this protocol, whereby one Chinese minister accompanies the official all day, is only given to heads of states. It could be argued that this protocol is a result of the importance that China gives to Pakistan, and a tangible manifestation of how much regard Chinese officials have for our Pakistani representatives. Moreover, almost all of the memorandum of understandings that were signed were focused towards projects that shall be implemented or are currently taking place in Punjab. For instance, Shahbaz Sharif said that he plans on making a recommendation to the federal government of Pakistan to award medals to the head of the best performing Chinese company working in Punjab.

During the visit, the Punjab Industries Minister, Chaudhry Shafiq and Vice Governor of Shandong province Ji Xiang Q, signed a memorandum of understanding to encourage Chinese investment in the energy, dairy and textile sectors in Punjab. This also speaks volumes about the emphasis being placed by PMLN towards developing Punjab, which is where their main vote bank lies.

Shortly after Shahbaz Sharif’s arrival, the Punjab Shandong Business Conference was held on the 27th of July, which was presided over by Shahbaz Sharif and Ji Xiang Q. During the conference, various Chinese investors gave speeches about how Punjab was an attractive province in Pakistan to invest in, and other Chinese investors currently working in Punjab were also encouraged to speak about their experiences.

Clearly, the PMLN government is busy installing sound, Chinese infrastructure and development projects in Punjab in order to satiate their vote bank, in order to ensure their success in the next general elections. Such a tilted policy that places Punjab on a higher socio-economic pedestal than other provinces might prove to be costly in the future. Thus, in order to ensure cordiality and equity, between the federating units of the country, the PML-N led government must alter its priorities and pursue a more holistic and inclusive agenda.

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About the author

Danyal Hasnain Gondal

The writer is a law graduate from LUMS and is currently practicing civil litigation.

44 Comments

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  • Brilliantly written Danyal Hasnain Gondal. Quite a thorough analysis. Seems very well researched and critically analysed. Keep writing!

  • A very good analysis based on facts. Daniyal, you know why I feel happier than others after going through this article. You have made a very realistic commentary and pointed out the dangers posed by unjustifiable leverage enjoyed by the Punjab.

  • Well written danyal.keep on writting such informative yet critical issues.this man of steel z busy in stealing other provinces’ right and even some parts of punjab too.👍

  • Those who believe PMLN are not biased towards Punjab need a slap on their faces. Well written

  • Was having a similar discussion with my friends yesterday. Good to see others like minded individuals writing on this.

  • Thanks for highlighting a perinent issue. Many are living in denial who need to wake up and face the reality of what is happening in our country. Good job

  • Shahbaz Sharif IS CM of Punjab and not any other province so its preposterous to think that why he isn’t focusing on rest of Pakistan. No one stopped CM khattak to go China and sign MOUs . After 18th amendment Provinces themselves can attract investors.
    PMLN govt is currently doing numerous projects in other provinces. Mass Transit System in Karachi, K3 nuclear plant in Karachi, Port Qasim power plant in Karachi, Water projects in Karachi, Khi-Hyd Motorway.
    Next time you write an article. Please keep your hate against Punjabis aside. Why don’t other CMs don’t do make such visits themselves ? Their performance is below par and yet you blame Punjab for it … WOW

    • The point of this article was how the CM of ‘punjab’ was being touted as a representative of ‘pakistan’ itself. This has always been the case with PMLN – they always prioritize Punjab over other provinces. And i’m sorry but ‘hate for punjabis aside’? How asinine and simple is your brain to formulate such reasoning? That a person has to ‘hate’ Punjabis in order to criticize Punjab centric policies? You seem like a bigoted individual.

  • Currently doing my thesis on pak china affairs and will be citing this article. Thesis will be shared too. V good piece of writing

  • What is process of enrolling into lums? I also want to be student and study PAK CHINA FRIENDSHIP

  • Hun dasso fir pmln? Kee kartaye piyo tussi log? Koi haal nahi choray thuaadat logon na! Asi roti aur chawal tay mukh gaye. Bhuk hi bhuk saaday waastay

  • This chap seems to be a welcome addition into the pakistani legal circle. I welcome him with open arms. Sure to shake things up in the civil courtrooms.

  • Does lums have courses on pakchina relations? Author seems to have had aced all of them…

  • Sirrrrrrrr wot talent! Kamaaaaal sir kamaaaaal. Cheeta article. Never tiger (bcoz that is pmln) but away cheeta. Coz they sheef.

  • Kudos to admin for improving the quality of their articles. Was getting bored of the usual articles. This piece is much better. Other aspects of pak china shud also b highlighted in next article

  • Authors foto shud b in coloured. Not only black and white. Bcoz issue is not black and white so y author foto is black n white? Need more articles for further info. Pakistan is waitin

  • V good talented article. Clear, precise. No bullshit or extra baqwas. Just how i like it. Will share

  • This article shud b shared more. It is good for Punjabis to wake up and finally see the reality!! Only then will Pakistan materialize into Quaid’s Pakistan!! Should share this article on 14th August!

  • Lums mey enrol karna chaiyay bachon ko! Tab hee iss quom ka mustaqbil bharay ga! All hail lums!! And pak China friendship!!!

  • Yes he is the PUNJABI MAN OF STEEL but where is this steel coming from? HE IS MAN OF CHINESE STEEL. V gud article. I am now fan 👌

  • This article can have a part 2 or follow up. Author could further elaborate upon how china is not doing much in other provinces and gwadar port improvement is only for its own strategic interests. Good job young man

  • Absolutely lovely piece of writing by one of the most brilliant minds from lums. Genuine pleasure to read such refreshingly honest yet analytical pieces of writing. The pakistani legal fraternity needs such lawyers!!!

  • Dont read this website often but the title caught my eye. I see lums is producing smart graduates. Well written. Will share with my kids

  • I was not aware that PMLN was doing so much for Punjab. We here in Sindh are still at the mercy of MQM and PPP. Good to highlight the govt’s flaws and not just glorify them all the time. Maybe the tide will turn in our favour now….

  • Hmmmmm good article. Equal in quality to The News and Dawn’s op-eds. Good to see this forum churning out quality articles now. Bravo

  • I guess only a lums law graduate could have given such a critical and informative analysis of our country’s reality. I am so proud of our younger generation being aware of their govt’s hypocritical policies and attitudes. Bravo young man, for doing your part to alleviate the situation!! Looking forward to more pieces such as this.

  • “Thus, in order to ensure cordiality and equity, between the federating units of the country, the PML-N led government must alter its priorities and pursue a more holistic and inclusive agenda” – Zabardast! Dil ki baat kardi. As a native of Balochistan, I strongly agree with the views shared by the author! Hamaray saath bauht zulm ho raha hay due to being neglected by PMLN govt. Need more brave authors such as these to keep the torch burning for this issue!

  • Great to see an analytical article on ur website. Really love the poignant manner with which the author has approached this issue, and has highlighted a very valid argument. For too long, we have seen punjab being highlighted and given preference over other provinces. Most authors just bash PMLN but this author Danyal has engaged in constructive criticism which is deeply appreciated. Keep it up. looking forward to more articles