Reorganisation of the PML-N

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Mian Nawaz Sharif has tried to reorganise his party ever since he got back from his exile during the Musharraf years. The PML-N faced a major setback in all four provinces during those years and disintegrated despite being the country’s second largest mainstream party. After forming a provincial government in Punjab, the party was able to reintegrate in Punjabi politics but in order to be a national party, it knows that being a rump in central Punjab would not do the trick; all other provinces are equally important. Thus we saw Mian sahib going to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh from time to time. Mian Nawaz Sharif’s recent rally in Larkana, stronghold of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), was an effort at mobilising support for his party in Sindh. Larkana is said to be a no-go-area for other parties because nobody can rout the PPP from that area. Thus it is important to place the PML-N’s rally in that context as it is another indication of Mr Sharif’s determination and his plan to reorganise his party in Sindh.

The turnout at Larkana was huge. Considering the state of the party in Sindh, it was a surprise but the reasons for such a large gathering should be explored. Even though Sindh is said to be the PPP’s stronghold, a lot of Sindhis are quite unhappy with the party these days on the question of local bodies system and the re-demarcation of Sindh's electoral constituency by Musharraf to benefit his ally, the MQM. The PPP has tried to appease the MQM ever since it came to power in 2008 but this has alienated its Sindhi base to quite a large extent. Speaking at the rally, Mr Sharif said: “Sindh is changing, Pakistan is changing and Larkana is also changing... I do not want power; you (the people) are my power.” Mr Sharif made it a point to talk about Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and how four years would have passed this month and yet her killers are free. General Musharraf was allowed a safe exit with full honours because of some backdoor deal at the army’s insistence. Back in 2008, the PPP government was obviously too weak to resist the army’s diktat as it was freshly in office trying to find its feet and working out a relationship with the military. Since the fingers point right at the top, in this case General Musharraf, in Ms Bhutto’s murder, it may well be the reason why her killers have not been caught. Musharraf is also accused of Nawab Akbar Bugti’s murder and as the buck stops at the top, the demand to bring him back to Pakistan and face trial in both cases is justified. The PPP should follow the judicial process to its logical end. The demand to catch Ms Bhutto’s killers is not just emanating from Sindh but all over Pakistan as she was the country’s top democratic leader. There is not just a need for closure but the conspiracy behind BB’s murder also needs to be made public. The masterminds behind her assassination need to be brought to book.

Mian Nawaz Sharif was impressed with BB’s political acumen and wisdom. When he signed the Charter of Democracy (CoD) with Ms Bhutto, it was all but clear how both rivals had dealt with the ghosts of the past and were ready to move on towards a common path. The CoD gave credence to the hope that political forces will not allow themselves to be manipulated by the military against each other ever again as the CoD placed the problem of the military’s dominance centrestage. In the interests of justice and the forward march to democracy and rule of law, it is important that the political forces must oppose military dictatorship and the damage it has done to the country in the last 64 years. The PPP should respect the CoD its late leader signed with the PML-N in order to safeguard democracy.

(my editorial in Daily Times)


Anonymous said…
No offence but the likes of Nawaz Sharif are not welcome in Sindh and his jalsa in Larkana was not that big considering a lot of people who were there were brought in with premise of free food and drink. If anything it showed Nawaz Sharif as a hypocrite who used to worship the dead grave of Zia-ul-Haq and now to muster a few extra votes is trying to play the Shaheed Rani card. If there is anyone else who can remotely relate to us Sindhis it is still the PPP

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