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HomeGo To PakistanPakistani media praises ‘workaholic’ PM Shehbaz Sharif, others say ‘beggars can’t be...

Pakistani media praises ‘workaholic’ PM Shehbaz Sharif, others say ‘beggars can’t be choosers’

Pakistani newspapers have pointed out how Shehbaz Sharif has always been the ‘good cop’ to Nawaz Sharif’s ‘bad cop’ when it comes to dealing with the army.

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New Delhi: Shehbaz Sharif, the recently elected prime minister of Pakistan, has a tough job ahead of him, and not all are convinced that the country will recover soon. While some in the Pakistani media are hopeful about Sharif’s ‘administrative capabilities’ given that he is a ‘workaholic’, Pakistanis on social media have said ‘beggars can’t be choosers.’

Pakistani daily Dawn called Sharif, the thrice-elected Punjab chief Minister a “determined”, and “competent administrator”, while The Express Tribune pointed out how he has “long played the public ‘good cop’ to Nawaz Sharif’s ‘bad cop’” when it comes to his relationship with the powerful Pakistani military. The latter also spoke about his “can-do” administrative style, which was on display when he served as the chief minister and worked closely with China on Beijing-funded infrastructure projects. But Tribune also noted that Sharif will not act with “complete independence” to deal with the problems of Pakistan’s crumbling economy, and rapidly declining foreign exchange reserves, because he will have to work on a collective agenda with the coalition partners and his brother.

In a profile feature, The New PM of Pakistan, Dawn mentioned that Sharif called himself ‘Khadim-i-Aala’ (chief servant) instead of chief minister and how he had always been loyal to his brother Nawaz, whom he once hailed as “Jinnah’s political heir”.

Also read: Pakistan drama not over. It’s on between ‘short-term’ Shehbaz, ‘honest’ Imran, ‘mature’ Bajwa

Pakistani media editorials caution Shehbaz

The Pakistani media, though, was cautious in their coverage of Shehbaz Sharif, not ignoring the serious problems facing Pakistan.

Questioning the opposition about their long-term plan, Dawn, in an editorial article titled, “New PM’s challenge”, wrote, “Improving the economy requires tough decisions, such as the immediate removal of the cap on electricity and petroleum prices and renegotiating a new loan with the IMF, which will be hard, if not impossible, without repairing diplomatic relations with the US and other Western powers”. “Can the ruling coalition take these politically unpopular but vital decisions,” it asked.

The International News, however, had a different take on Shehbaz Sharif. An opinion article by Mosharraf Zaidi, Pakistani public policy professional and the founder and CEO of think-tank Tabadlab, asked if he had arrived too late. “Pakistani politics has delayed the arrival of a Shehbaz Sharif – as it has delayed so many badly needed changes in Islamabad,” he wrote.

Mentioning how Sharif is “often criticized for not being more aggressive in posturing as a visionary”, Zaidi says the “executive capabilities of Shehbaz Sharif will simply not be good enough, not even within his own party”.

The News warned of the tough times that lie ahead for the country and the government, saying that the ‘truth’ about Imran Khan’s ‘secret letter’ about foreign interference needs to be established now.

Also read: Derided by Imran Khan as US puppet, new Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif bets on centrism

‘Crime Minister’ of Pakistan

Many people online also shared what they thought about their new prime minister.

While one Pakistan user tweeted, “Crime Minister Of American Republic Of Beggers Can’t Be Choosers!” with an imported stamp on his photo, another shared an image showcasing the difference between the number of followers Imran Khan and Shahbaz Sharif had on Twitter, and wrote, “Difference between elected and imported. Can you change that too?”

Another user shared an image of Sharif with the caption: “The Crime Minister Of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan imposed by Washington”. The crime minister comment is targeted at the sugar scandal case in which Shehbaz and his two sons are accused.

Many of Shehbaz Sharif’s followers on Facebook also praised his ‘emergency meeting’ Tuesday with economists of Pakistan about the national balance sheet and fiscal measures the country can take. One user said, “Keep the think tanks close! Right move Mr Prime Minister!”

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