The predictable politics of Nawaz Sharif

Published: December 31, 2010
Email

Nawaz Sharif won two elections in the name of General Ziaul Haq’s legacy and Islam.

Pakistani politics is quite unpredictable and a person like me who isn’t the smartest guy around can’t truly understand it. Yet, I am forced to think about it and according to Nikolai Lenin, one of the chief symptoms of every revolution is the sharp and sudden increase in the number of ordinary people who take an active, independent and forceful interest in politics.

The same happened when PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif went to Muzaffarabad to announce the establishment of his party in Azad Kashmir. During his speech, Nawaz Sharif strongly criticised the MQM and accused the party of supporting dictators and terrorism.

Like everyone else, I was also intrigued about what had happened to Mr Sharif who, instead of using the platform to propagate his own party’s manifesto, started attacking the MQM. I believe the sudden outburst of Sharif against the MQM was because he panicked at the latter’s increasing presence in mainstream Pakistani politics.

Sharif afraid of losing Punjab?

Nawaz Sharif knows that in case the MQM leaves the coalition, the PPP will come under extreme pressure in the centre and lose the majority. The PML-N chief is also not in a position to openly join and support the PPP in the centre and hence with the departure of the MQM, the PPP will need the support of the PML-Q for which it will need to shake hands with PML-Q in Punjab as well. And, once that happens, the PPP will be in a position to say good bye to the PML-N, which will cause the downfall of Nawaz Sharif’s government in Punjab which he doesn’t want to lose at any cost, as he is ruling 60 per cent of Pakistan.

Therefore, the sudden outburst of Nawaz Sharif against the MQM is an attempt to force the MQM to get closer to the PPP, and also a message to the PPP that he is in no mood of destabilising the government in the centre.

In my opinion, Nawaz Sharif also has an understanding with certain forces for not destabilising or taking part in toppling the current government, which guarantees him the next term’s regime.

PML-N’s political games

In the same speech Sharif said that the PML-N is not a “friendly opposition” meanwhile his brother Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif has signed and approved the Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) draft. This is while the PML-N is opposing the same bill in the centre. This clearly shows the double whammy that Mian Saab is playing.

Today, Mian Saab calls himself anti-dictatorship. But members of the PML-N have met the chief army staff despite being criticised.  Nawaz Sharif, himself stepped into politics when General Ghulam Gilani, Chief Martial law Administrator of Punjab, included him in his cabinet as the minister of finance. He won two elections in the name of General Ziaul Haq’s legacy. And, although he enjoyed the support of the ruling establishment till 1999, Mian Saaab on every August 17 took thousands of people to General Ziaul Haq’s tomb and gave speeches calling him a hero and a mujahid. In fact, up until he was overthrown by Genenral Musharraf, and Mian Saaab never said any word against Ziaul Haq, a dictator and his mentor in politics.

Nawaz Sharif and the MQM

The government headed by Mian Saaab accused MQM for the Jinnahpur conspiracy, torture and terrorism but shook hands with MQM again in 1997. What forced him to join hands with the same party in 1990?

Whatever the reason might be, it is evident that Mian Nawaz Sharif is visibly shaken. He needs to reach out to the masses instead of those who have their own constituencies. This is also the reason that Sharif has been forced to call himself “revolutionary” in reaction to Altaf Hussain’s calls for revolution.

Muhammad Fahed

Muhammad Fahed

An IT professional based in Karachi who likes to write on social and political issues.

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