Pakistani politician jokes about charming the religious with “long beards” : Wikileaks

The wikileaks cable has given a rare glimpse of the hard-nosed practicality of Pakistani administrators.

Speaking to the Bryan Hunt, Principal Officer at the US Consulate in Lahore, Shahbaz Sharif, chief minister of the Punjab province, even joked about using ‘long beards’ — a sign of devotion — to charm the people.

Sharif was talking about shutting down hospitals and schools run by the Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD), the political arm of the Lashkar-e-Toiba immediately after the Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008.

“He expected that taking charge of the JUD’s three hospitals in Punjab would occur easily. “We will use trained doctors to charm the patients with long beards and caps,” he joked,” reported Hunt in a cable sent to Washington soon after the Mumbai terror attack.

Hunt pointed out that JuD runs hundreds of institutions in the country and taking them over and running them will not be easy. “While he expected to install trained government teachers in the JUD schools, which number in the hundreds, he admitted that assuming control of the schools will pose a greater challenge,” he pointed out.

Sharif also related how other provinces in Pakistan, besides Punjab, were shutting down JuD institutions and pointed out that in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, the Army itself was shutting down JuD offices.

JuD chief Hafeez Saeed tops India’s most wanted list as the Indians believe that he is instrumental in promoting terrorism against India. JuD, which also works as Pakistan’s Red Cross, uses volunteers to carry out humanitarian activities, but is also accused of spreading hate against non-Muslims through its network of Madrasas and schools.


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