In desperate times, PML-N calls for desperate measures

Published: October 17, 2011

Nawaz Sharif says corruption, inflation and crime rate have all gone up during the current govt's tenure. PHOTO: QAZI USMAN/ EXPRESS

Nawaz Sharif and the PML-N are going to use the issue of electricity to get back into power.

In public, every member of the party has stayed on message: that the power shortage is a reflection and final indictment of the PPP’s terrible governance and has convinced the PML-N that the government must go immediately. In private, though, some members of the PML-N, while sticking to their talking points about the corruption and mismanagement of the PPP, admit that they hope to topple the PPP government before the Senate elections in March, to prevent the PPP from getting a majority in both houses of parliament.

In order to prevent that from happening, say PML-N sources, they have developed a two-pronged strategy that will play out in the streets of Punjab and the corridors of power in Islamabad.

For public support, the PML-N has chosen the simple rallying cry of “Go Zardari”, a demand they will take to the streets over the next month. But they may as well have titled their protests “Stop Imran Khan.” According to an MNA from the PML-N, the rallies will concentrate on areas where the PML-N feels that the PTI is encroaching on their vote bank. Nawaz Sharif is said to be worried that the PTI may siphon as many as 30 seats from his party and so will hit up Lahore, Dera Ghazi Khan and Mianwali, all areas where he feels he is vulnerable.

But there are more interesting plans that the PML-N chief has hatched up to try and force the government from power.

One of the more outlandish schemes Nawaz Sharif has considered is asking for en masse resignations in the assemblies from all his party members to try and stymie the Senate elections and rob them of their legitimacy. But this proposal has met with strong opposition from within the party and is most likely dead on arrival.

Nawaz Sharif also spent last week trying to woo PML-Q members back into the PML-N fold. He feels his best chance of success is getting the Like-Minded Group to officially leave the PML-Q and become a part of the PML-N. The hitch here is that the Like-Minded members do not want to give up their seats in parliament and so prefer supporting the PML-N without actually becoming members of the party.

Some PML-N workers are upset that among those being courted are those they see as turncoats like Salim Saifullah. Others who have been approached include Humayun Akhtar and Kashmala Tariq. Nawaz Sharif was in Islamabad last week for a dinner at the house of Senator Tariq Azim’s brother where all the Like-Minded Group members were also present. Nawaz Sharif is also hopeful that he can convince Ijazul Haq and Sheikh Rashid to join him, but the return of the AML party chief would once again be opposed by PML-N members who are yet to forgive him for betraying the party in 2003.

So worried is Nawaz Sharif now that he is also ready to accept PML-Q members who are still allied to the Chaudhry brothers. The only place where he has drawn a line is at ever welcoming Chaudhry Shujaat and Pervaiz Elahi back into the party.


Nadir Hassan

An Islamabad based journalist who tweets at @Nadir_Hassan.

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

  • Parvez

    The use of the word desperate in the title is very apt. Desperation is written all over the Sharif’s and the PML-N. They are in this situation due to their own doings and ineptitude and of course due to the manoeuvrings of none other than the grand master of political chess Mr Zardari. Even with a loaded gun in his hand all Mr Sharif could shoot was first his foot, then his other foot, decidedly not smart.Recommend

  • Sayed

    NS will become more worried when Musharraf lands on 23 March. He relying on GEO and judges, which will not be of much help. I am sure this time he will not find a place for refuge.Recommend

  • Yasir Mehmood

    I am happy at least they are protesting. At least for now this protest has brought back electricity which shows that government could have solved the problem but only acts when challenged so, its good to keep them at toes since they dont have any interest of solving the problems facing common man. Recommend

  • Aviator

    Musharraf who ? The same commando who is hiding abroad ? NS really should get worried about other factors but Musharraf should be the last thing he needs to worry aboutRecommend

  • Faisal

    Zardari and Nawaz Sharif are two sides of the same coin :S If people still want to stick with PML-N and PPP, then blame yourselves not them.
    Vote for PTI for a change, that’s the only option.Recommend

  • http://Lahore Ali

    Faisal: i second you, only option left is PTI, we need not to miss train once again, my vote and support is for PTI.Recommend

  • Yasser Khan

    Punjab Epic center of Lota Siasat and Nawaz Sharif is their leader. One Word PatheticRecommend

  • Yasir Engg.

    ppp and pmln or mqm…..all are same. if you vote them in next election ,next 5 years of democracy will be even worse than current five years of ppp in center and pmln in punjabt.

  • Kafka

    I would support PML-N, not because I like them but because they are the best next option. Only this way we can make the journey from from the worst to the best. As for PTI, time is not ripe for them. It is a one man show with a lot of opportunists. looking for their lucky political break. Lets hope they do not become a spoil sport by breaking away votes from PML-N and thus help the present corrupt lot of mismanages. Recommend

  • Yasir Engg.

    well keep supporting and be a spectator when pmln does the same just like ppp is doing like massive corruption, interest driven politics, mass murder,inflation. these are the few things that i have mentioned. you do know what else is going on.
    we gave chance to pmln twice before and what happened?anything good you can point out.
    And about one man show..this is not true..he is recruiting the educated candidates for his campaign and Imran Khan is Oxford educated . ppp and pmln had its chance and you can see both are right now in government and they are at daggers drawn just for their personal interests.
    i am educated person and i can discriminate between the ppp/pmln/mqm and PTI…..
    you don’t worry just keep watching …there will be change, i mean the positive one.plz continue if you see this.lets talk and make things clear if i am wrong or you are . you are my fellow countrymen.Recommend

  • Sohail

    Pakistan Munafiq League(Naqqal) should never come back in politics. If this Munafiq shows up for vote just ask him how much tax he has paid or how many assets des he possess and last but not the least where is the trail through which he has sent billions of dollars out of the country. This ganja is only in siasat to hide his crimes. People wake up and give PTI a chance or get ready for getting doomed!Recommend

  • Samina Farooq

    Nawaz Sharif was not eligible to contest elections and be PM for the third time. However, thanks to PPP and his friendly opposition, he is eligible again after the 18th amendment. One more interesting question, if Nawaz is so interested in politics and “serving” the people why did he not contest the last elections with his party? Even after his party won in Punjab, Nawaz had amply chances to contest on National or Provincial assembly seats vacated by several leaders like Hashmi. The truth is his “pardon” agreement with Mush barred him not to contest elections for 10 years. Nawaz would not care about that agreement but it was via Saudi royal family and they guaranteed that he would stay away from politics for a decade!
    Sharifs cannot have it both ways. They rule more than 60% of Pakistan and keep talking about corrupt governance. When would they grow up and take any responsibility? All their corruption cases have been swept under the rug with the help of “independent” judiciary, even though each and every member of their extended family has cases pending against them for corruption. Their dynastic way of ruling is the biggest threat to democracy in Pakistan.Recommend