Law Minister Rana Sanaullah seems ready to comment on anything that comes his way. Be it foreign policy, nuclear proliferation or the country’s stance on the World Trade Organisation, Sanaullah has a sound byte available.
However, law and order in the province, which has nosedived since Sanaullah took charge, does not seem to cross his mind.
Sanaullah’s stock response to being questioned about the law and order situation is ‘let me check and get back to you’.
Sanaullah, on Monday, offered Mansoor Ijaz security if he wanted to come to Punjab to record his statement. Sanaullah knows that Ijaz and his lawyer have not asked the Punjab government for security. Ijaz had been weighing his options and has even considered recording his statement from Zurich or Dubai.
Ijaz’s lawyer has asked for security guaranteed by the army chief, to which he did not get a response. How on earth did the Punjab government get into the action?
Maybe Sanaullah is following in the footsteps of his mercurial boss, the chief minister. Shahbaz Sharif, after the 18th amendment, has started flying to foreign capitals, exuding the aura of a chief executive of the nation while his staff calls MoUs he signs bilateral agreements.
Of course, Sananullah is a provincial leader of the PML-N, a national party, and entitled to an opinion on every subject under the sun. However, speaking to the media in his capacity as provincial law minister does not mean Sanaullah can take up topics like Pak-US relations or Islamabad’s relations with Riyadh and Beijing. He might want to leave these matters to those in the Foreign Office.
Punjab has serious law and order issues. Right now, the government’s leading hospitals supplying spurious drugs to heart patients should be a priority for the cabinet instead of providing security to Mansoor Ijaz. Since the outbreak of dengue fever in the province, this is the most serious health issue facing the Punjab government. The cabinet ministers should urge the chief minister, now that he is back from Berlin, to appoint a permanent minister for that department. Now that would be a real service to this province.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2012.
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