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Cablegate: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif Pledges to Continue Strong Jud

O R 150732Z DEC 08
FM AMCONSUL LAHORE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3853
INFO AMCONSUL CHENNAI
CIA WASHDC
DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
AMEMBASSY KABUL
AMCONSUL KARACHI
AMCONSUL KOLKATA
AMCONSUL MUMBAI
AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI
AMCONSUL PESHAWAR
AMCONSUL LAHORE

C O N F I D E N T I A L LAHORE 000320


NOFORN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/13/2018
TAGS: PGOV PTER PREL EFIN PK IN
SUBJECT: CHIEF MINISTER SHAHBAZ SHARIF PLEDGES TO CONTINUE STRONG JUD
CRACKDOWN

REF: A. A. Lahore 318
B. B. Lahore 314

CLASSIFIED BY: Bryan Hunt, Principal Officer, Consulate Lahore,
U.S. Department of State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1. (C) Summary: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif told
Principal Officer December 13 that he intended to follow the
directive to shut down Jamaatud Dawa (JUD). While he planned to
take over JUD schools and hospitals, the madrassah network posed
a challenge, he admitted. Pushed to cooperate with the Pakistan
People's Party (PPP), Sharif responded that President Asif
Zardari should replace Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who has
constantly interfered in provincial governance. Asked whether
the U.S. government could question Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Hafez
Saeed, currently held in house arrest, Sharif said he would look
into the matter. Sharif requested that the U.S. provide
information that could help implicate Saeed and other LeT and
JUD leaders in the coming court cases. End Summary.

- - -
Sharif Plans To Take Over JUD Schools and Hospitals
- - -

2. (C) In a December 13 breakfast meeting, Punjab Chief Minister
Shahbaz Sharif told Principal Officer (PO) that he intended to
completely shut down Jamaatud Dawa (JUD) (Ref A). He related
that he will preside over a meeting with provincial officials to
formulate a plan to take over the hospitals and schools
previously run by JUD. 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. 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. Moreover, asked how he will deal with
the extensive madrassah network, he had no substantive response.

3. (C) Sharif noted that the other provincial governments have
also followed the federal government directive to shut down JUD.
While the police in other provinces have taken responsibility,
he related that in Azad Kashmir the Pakistan Army has acted to
close JUD offices.

- - -
Cooperation with PPP Requires Action Against Governor Taseer
- - -

4. (C) PO pushed Sharif to cooperate with the federal
government. Sharif pledged to give his full support to the JUD
crackdown, but he complained bitterly that Punjab Governor
Salman Taseer has interfered excessively in the governance of
the province by refusing to appoint an ombudsman and questioning
the Chief Minister's decisions in public (Ref B). He noted that
while Prime Minister Gillani has apologized and promised to
avoid public criticisms of the provincial government, the
Governor has persisted. "He is impossible to deal with," Sharif
stressed. Taseer's instructions to intrude likely come from
another PPP leader, Sharif surmised. He also recalled that the
PPP has not fulfilled the terms of the Charter of Democracy,
particularly the complete restoration of the judges. Asked how
the PPP can help reconcile with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz
(PMLN), Sharif suggested that Governor Taseer be replaced.

5. (C) Sharif recounted that he kept his brother, former Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif, from issuing what could have been a
troublesome statement December 12. Nawaz Sharif had planned to
complain that "anti-democratic agencies" have created the
current problem faced by the government, but Shahbaz intervened
and explained that such a statement would prove unhelpful, he
detailed.

- - -
Prosecution of JUD Leaders Needs Information
- - -

6. (S) Sharif said that he welcomed the deep involvement of the
U.S. in calming the tension between Pakistan and India after the
Mumbai attacks. In order to prosecute the JUD leaders currently
in three-month detention, Shahbaz explained that he will require
evidence implicating their involvement in the Mumbai attacks.
He noted that proof that originates with the U.S. would have
greater credibility than proof produced by India. Any
information that he can use in the courts would be very helpful,
he appealed.

- - -
Sharif To Look Into Hafez Saeed Access
- - -

7. (S) PO asked if the U.S. government could question
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Hafez Saeed. Sharif said that he
will look into the request and respond soon.

- - -
Comment: Shahbaz Remains Strongly Supportive of JUD Crackdown
- - -

8. (C) The unwavering attitude displayed by Shahbaz Sharif in
shutting down the JUD bodes well for the crackdown. However, he
faces a huge challenge in taking over the JUD schools and
confronting the madrassah network; teacher training could help
ease the burden as he attempts to place government teachers in
schools that taught extremist curriculum last week. Moreover,
by providing assistance with the prosecution of the JUD leaders,
we could help mitigate the possibility that a lack of evidence
results in their release. We will continue to work closely with
the provincial government to ensure an irreversible shutdown of
the JUD.


HUNT

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