Shahbaz Taseer’s abduction on Friday sparked a sharp exchange between top provincial authorities, with Governor Punjab Latif Khosa lashing out at Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and blaming him for the deteriorating law and order situation in Punjab.
Meanwhile Sharif, who spent much of Thursday in Karachi expressing ‘shock and horror’ at its situation, condemned the abduction and vowed to “personally follow up [the case].”
‘PML-N in cahoots with extremists’
Khosa, in a press conference at the Governor House in Lahore, alleged that the abduction was a result of support the Punjab government had been extending to extremists and defunct organisations, and asked the federal government to review its reconciliation policy in Punjab.
(Read: Lahore’s growing Talibanisation)
“The PPP has tolerated the murder of its governor … they would not tolerate this abduction” he said.
Taseer’s abduction in broad daylight from an area lined with police pickets give credence to speculation that Punjab government is either involved in or supported the abduction, he said.
Citing the law and order situation, the governor hinted at an in-house change in Punjab assembly but said that the government will not impose Governor rule in the province.
If Salmaan Taseer’s assassin had been punished, Shahbaz’s abduction could have been avoided, he said, calling upon the Supreme Court to hang Salmaan’s self-confessed killer Mumtaz Qadri.
Sharif springs to action
Shahbaz Sharif termed Taseer’s abduction “regrettable” and said “it cannot be condemned enough,” while speaking to reporters at the Karachi Press Club.
“I have directed the administration and the police to find the culprits and bring them to book,” he said.
In an attempt to lay off responsibility, Sharif said that 26 security officers were deputed by Punjab government to Taseer’s family.
“I believe Shahbaz did not take his security officers with him today, which I wish he had. But this does not mean that this kidnapping should have happened,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2011.