Is there a method to Sharif’s madness?

Published: May 12, 2012

Nawaz Sharif warned Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to step down or face a long march aimed at dislodging him.

In a fiery press conference recently, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif warned Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to step down or face a long march aimed at dislodging him.

Claiming the high moral ground, Mr Sharif said that since Gilani was convicted, he has lost all moral reason to continue in office. Sharif’s newfound love for the judiciary is well-known. Ever since he returned from exile, he has proved to be the most ardent champion of judicial supremacy and rule of law.

If there are people around who want to talk about an obscure incident in a distant past where some PML-N parliamentarians stormed the Supreme Court to save their leader Nawaz Sharif from the ‘judicial activism’ of then Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, then those people are misreading a situation in which democracy was saved from an errant Supreme Court chief justice. But let bygones be bygones.

Before we look deep into the politics of agitation, let’s see if there is a method in the proverbial madness. What do Sharif and the PML-N want to achieve from this march to end a government which is on its fag end, anyway? The last budget of the PPP-led coalition is just around the corner and the Election Commission has already indicated that it will be ready with fresh voter lists by the end of the month. Sharif’s detractors point out that he ditched his allies time and again, starting from his pledge to boycott the February 2008 elections — in leading the fuss about the memo — and then joining the government in the passage of the Twentieth Amendment. The PML-N and the Sharifs would be on their own during this phase of agitation if it began; the party has two major obstacles in the way of its political survival: Imran Khan and PML-N’s dismal track record in Punjab.

The steep rise in Imran’s popularity is threatening to push the PML-N back to the wall in their base of Punjab. Perhaps that may then partly explain the threat for a long march because it may allow the party to launch a mass mobilisation campaign in the name of a protest against the government. The party will now try to appeal to voters in urban Punjab to offset the challenge posed by Imran Khan as the fast fading PPP exits the stage.

Read more by Rizwan here.

Mohammed Rizwan

Mohammed Rizwan

A senior reporter for The Express Tribune based in Lahore.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Parvez

    There comes a time in politics when the peoples patience gets exhausted and political parties have to pay for their behaviour and policies and both main parties realise that their time to pay has come. The PPP’s stomach is not empty and they apparently have devised a cut-and-run exit policy. The PML-N has been out maneuvered and appears to be floundering showing signs of desperation which is never good.Recommend

  • Barooq

    Thank you

    Finally someone who has a clue to what happened in 1997.
    Its funny how people conveniently have selective memory and no one actually remembers what Shah did to drive the crisis. Well, at least you know your history.

    Since the last decade, Nawaz has been unflinching on principals and well that is why establishment fears him so much.Recommend

  • popsaeed

    PML-N Batteling both PTI and PPP its shown whenever PML-N Gainning momentum against PPP,PTI come into ground to support PPP With his aggressive and baseless allegation.Recommend

  • Ajamal

    Sharif’s record as PM has not been enviable to say the least. He was no less destructive than Bhutto and Zardari.

    It is time for Pakistanis to discard tried ones!!Recommend

  • Imran Con

    He’s just using elections/other institutions to settle a score with PPP. He may speak of issues but there’s a very distinct personal tone to it all rather than simply being the opposition and doing the job expected of it.
    He just wants to disgrace and/or beat PPP. Given, they can disgrace themselves without any help but, like I said, it’s personal, he wants a hand in it. Same goes for topics such as the judiciary being able to take care of themselves. They can stand up for themselves but Sharif wants a hand in it so he can feel like he’s the one punishing or helping to punish PPP.
    He probably even wants to get elected simply because the only way he can claim superiority to the people of the highest ranking positions is to take such a position, himself.

    Such a personality is certain to be more self serving than anything if elected as well.Recommend

  • Zamir Malik

    Is this the same author who did wrote “Can laptops save PML-N from Imran Khan? on March 8 ,2012″. A reporter should be unbiased especially if he is a senior journalist of some News channel but in this case A senior reporter of ET is actually forgetting the Reporting norms and in fact targeting one party deliberately for a longer time. Sir your colleagues even are complaining about you in Lahore center that some articles and news are changed deliberately owing to your sleight of hand as a senior reporter of ET in Lahore.Recommend

  • Yasir Mehmood

    Well blog section of this tribune is being continously used to target PMLN.Recommend

  • Lone Star

    I don’t know why my gut feelings tell me that Nawaz Shreef knew the judgement even before the whole drama initiated. I’m afraid this CJ is not the same as we hoped and fought to reinstate. Oh well everything is possible in Pakistan, after all this OUR country.Recommend

  • Iram

    Salute you sir for insightful article.Recommend