Nawaz, the ‘Sherrif’!

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A ‘man of peace’, the good guy who was ‘done-in’ by his malevolent   army chief and exiled from his ‘county’, Nawaz Sharif, just like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood  has proved to be the invincible ‘Sheriff’ who came in from the cold. Promising that he would rid the countryside of all that was evil, its violence- weary people promptly elected Nawaz to be their ‘Sheriff’ once again and with his guns blazing, Nawaz lost no time in launching his ‘crusade’. Even before he assumed charge, Nawaz, the ‘Sheriff’ declared his desire to smoke the peace-pipe with his country’s most hated enemy- the ‘Injuns’ (read, ‘Indians’) and even extended an invitation to their ‘chief’ to attend his ‘coronation’.

He also turned his attention to the Americans, who were running their own private show in his ‘county’ by using ‘birds’ to bomb the hell of out those they considered to be the ‘bad guys’ and declared that this must stop immediately, since as a ‘sheriff’ he wouldn’t  put up with this ongoing nonsense anymore! Disregarding health advisories against excessive smoking, he also decided to sit down and have another session of ‘peace-pipe’ smoking with another set of ‘bad guys’ commonly referred to as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). His shrewd deputy, the army chief, did try to caution him to go a bit slow, but the ‘Sheriff’ was in no mood to listen and with his guns blazing, rode into the treacherous countryside.

As the ‘Sheriff’ rode on, the tribe in Kashmir cried ‘foul’ as they felt that in his exuberance to smoke the ‘peace-pipe’ with the ‘Injuns’ he was betraying them. However, Nawaz was not moved as he was not an ordinary person who would just restrict himself to performing mundane jobs – he was afterall a ‘Sheriff’ who had taken upon himself  the onerous duty of restoring law and order within his ‘county’ and  peace in the neighbourhood. Just as things appeared to be looking- up, tragedy struck – the TTP ‘back stabbed’ the ‘Sherriff’ by repaying his benevolent gesture of unconditional talks and releasing their prisoners by blowing up army vehicles and attacking his troopers. Simultaneously, all hell broke loose on the Line of Control (LoC) and his dream of smoking the peace pipe with the ‘Injun’ chief was rudely shattered by the grim reality of smoking guns.

The ‘Sheriff’ was upset. He complained that instead of talking with him, one- to- one like a man, the ‘Injun’ chief, like a rustic woman, was going about complaining to Uncle Sam! However, seeing that things weren’t going exactly the way he had thought they would, the ‘Sheriff’ decided to beat the ‘Injuns’ in their own game by asking Uncle Sam to intervene and resolve the Kashmir issue. That Uncle Sam would not oblige was a foregone conclusion, but atleast this would pacify the Kashmiri tribe and make it clear to his army chief and radical elements at home that even in his new role as the ‘Sheriff’, he still remained a ‘nationalist’ (read ‘hawk’) at heart. While the ‘Sheriff’s’ approach towards the TTP remains ambivalent, he has made up for the same by getting a new anti- terror legislation introduced to assuage domestic anger and frustration caused by rampant acts of terrorism.

While the ‘Sheriff’ may have hit a roadblock as regards normalisation of Indo-Pak relations and brokering peace with the TTP, he can’t be ‘written-off’ yet. By cleverly raising the drone issue, he has been able to extract a $ 1.6 million aid package from Uncle Sam, thus exorcising the ghost of the Osama bin Laden –Abottabad incident which was haunting US-Pak relations. And this is not the end, as the wily ‘Sheriff’ will surely be able to extract more than his pound of flesh by playing the ‘war on terror’ card. By visiting the US, he has also sent the ‘Injun’ chief scurrying to Russia and China and return of the fragile peace along the LoC is now only a matter of time.

Whether Pakistan’s new ‘Sheriff’ will be able to broker peace with the ‘Injuns’ and the TTP, stop drone attacks, as well as help out the tribe of Kashmir is difficult to say. However, in his role as the ‘Sheriff’ in the badlands of Pakistan, Nawaz has certainly acquitted himself well and by maintaining a good relationship with his army chief, made it clear that this time he won’t be leaving ‘town’ in a hurry and ‘riding off into the sunset’, a defeated man. On the contrary, the ‘Sheriff’ has proved once again that he is a great ‘survivor’ with the innate ability to  turn the wheel of fortune in his favour- something that even a seasoned General like Musharaff  probably did not reckon, when he disgraced and banished the ‘Sheriff’ from the country!  

Author can be reached at: <[email protected]

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