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    Nawaz sharif

    From CNN

    LAHORE, Pakistan -- Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has just rushed home
    from China, where he skipped a visit to a flower show to avoid looking
    frivolous while Pakistani and Indian troops battle in Kashmir.

    But nothing can keep him from his Saturday cricket game.

    On this particular afternoon, as India mounts its decisive assault on a key
    Himalayan peak, Mr. Sharif, donning a blue hat and traditional cricket
    whites, ambles onto the field at the venerable Lahore Gymkhana Club
    focused squarely on his mission: to swing for the fences.

    Mr. Sharif, who once played competitive amateur cricket, began these
    weekly outings earlier this year, creating a folksy, public-relations event
    around Pakistan's favorite sport. After each game, he usually speaks to
    scores of country men, handpicked and ushered through tight security at
    Lahore's Jinnah Garden. He also enjoys jawing with journalists, whose
    special passes allow them to watch from the red-roofed, British-built
    clubhouse. Cameras are permitted; snapping the prime minister in action
    isn't.

    Ill Humor

    Some, however, see Mr. Sharif's cricket fancy as folly, a symbol of what's
    ails the leadership of a poor country once again drifting toward economic
    disaster, political upheaval and perhaps a fourth war with India, now a
    fellow nuclear power. To them, the spectacle reflects a leader who is
    regally detached, so much so that Pakistan's army plotted the incursion into
    India without Mr. Sharif's full knowledge.

    "Here he is, in the biggest crisis the country
    has faced, and he has time to play cricket,"
    says Imran Khan, Pakistan's greatest
    cricketer, who ran against Mr. Sharif for
    prime minister in 1997. These days, he runs a cancer hospital and a
    struggling political party, leaving little occasion for leisure, he says.
    "Pakistan's first revolution," Mr. Khan adds, "is going to start with the 21
    players who are sick of having to waste every weekend humoring the PM."

    And humor him they do, betraying the figurative meaning of this
    gentlemanly game. Throughout the former British empire, turf that includes
    Pakistan, cricket is synonymous with fair play.

    Yet every performance by Mr. Sharif is a batting tour de force -- his
    hometown rules make sure of that. As the prime minister leads off the
    inning against a rival club on this sweltering afternoon, the opposing
    bowlers, or pitchers, look less than fearsome. In fact, they serve up easy
    ones. In the span of six pitches, Mr. Sharif knocks two balls out of the
    park. Members of his ruling party, the Pakistan Muslim League, applaud
    dutifully.

    Minutes later, Mr. Sharif punches another grounder. A fielder watches it
    bounce past and then lazily chases. Only after the ball rolls across the rope
    boundary in the outfield does the fielder sprint to retrieve it. Even when the
    ball is in play, the stocky 49-year-old Mr. Sharif doesn't bother running
    between the wickets, or bases. He strolls, knowing that no one dares
    throw him out.

    The umpires' job is to overrule any play -- such as a pop-up that is
    accidentally caught or the equivalent of a strikeout -- that might send Mr.
    Sharif to the dugout before he is ready, say spectators.

    "I think politicians play differently than real cricket players," says one
    regular onlooker. Asked if the prime minister is a talented cricketer, he
    says, "Yes, especially since the rules are of no importance."

    Strikes Against Opponents

    The broader parallels with politics are evident. No civilian Pakistani leader
    has changed the rules more than Mr. Sharif. Since returning to office in
    1997 with a large parliamentary majority, he has consolidated power by
    squelching opponents in politics, the judiciary and the military. One of his
    main weapons has been corruption inquiries -- and, ironically, he's
    currently investigating allegations of match-fixing and misconduct by
    Pakistan's national cricket team, which recently lost the World Cup finals.

    Instead of bolstering democratic checks and balances in the country, which
    has periodically been under military rule, Mr. Sharif is trying to push
    through a bill to make Islamic sharia law supreme, a move that will enhance
    his power over Parliament and state governments. Economic reforms have
    been grudging, the economy is floundering and this nuclear state squeaks
    by with the help of an increasingly testy International Monetary Fund. Mr.
    Sharif's family is one of Pakistan's richest, yet it's also reported by local
    media to be one of the largest defaulters on bank loans.

    But journalists at the cricket ground have to play along because Mr.
    Sharif has cowed the media, say local editors. Late last year, his
    government cut off newsprint supplies to an independent newspaper group,
    alleging tax evasion. More recently, some journalists critical of Mr. Sharif
    and his alleged personal corruption say they have been harassed.
    Prominent Lahore editor Najam Sethi was jailed. Initially, the government
    suggested he was a spy for India, but after international appeals, Pakistan
    freed Mr. Sethi but charged him with numerous counts of tax evasion. He
    denies any wrongdoing.

    Hitting the Showers

    Coverage of the cricket match touts Mr. Sharif's batting prowess,
    reporting that he scored 70 runs off of 84 pitches and hit 13 balls out of the
    park. One writer takes a few risks, noting that the pitching "appeared
    friendly" and that one of the prime minister's line drives was dropped. An
    English-language newspaper publishes a blurry photograph of Mr. Sharif,
    clicked in defiance of the ground rules.

    After two hours of batting, Mr. Sharif bows out of the match, hits the
    showers and then is mobbed by supporters who want their long-awaited
    audience. It is not to be. Grabbing a megaphone, Mr. Sharif says he can't
    afford to speak with them today because the crisis in Kashmir demands his
    full attention. "Pray for my success," he tells them, before leaving the club
    for an urgent telephone call to U.S. President Bill Clinton.

    That night, Mr. Sharif flew off to Washington, where he pledged to
    withdraw Pakistani-backed forces from Indian territory. He returned to
    Pakistan on Thursday amid vocal opposition to the pullback. Even his
    foreign minister appears to be balking at the deal. In the opaque world of
    Pakistani politics, one Western diplomat says there is one barometer of
    whether Mr. Sharif will prevail -- if he plays cricket this weekend.
    ( I wonder if some person pick up the ball when he hit a sixer and put c-4 in the ball and return it to him )



    [This message has been edited by Aman B (edited August 30, 1999).]

    #2
    You really has a plenty of time to waste on stupid things Aman

    Comment


      #3
      Got something interesting to talk about?...oh by the way could i have just a little bit of your time in my scheldual please!!! ;-)


      Jaawan

      ------------------
      Till next time***K_I_S_S***


      Comment


        #4
        ****yawn*****

        is this the best u can do ......hmmmfh

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