The PDM has sprung up back in action with its anti-inflation rallies being held across the country. The first rally was held in September after a long lull, and since then it has held a few more with PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif taking centre stage. This was witnessed once again during its rally on October 31 where Shehbaz urged the supporters to stand up and “take to the streets against inflation and remove the incumbent government”. However, this time around a slightly different approach was also witnessed by Shehbaz, an approach that probably did not sit well with the PDM and JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
During the rally, junior Sharif, while criticizing the ruling PTI, also reminded the the ‘good glory’ days of the country under PML-N’s leadership. “We built Danish schools across South Punjab under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif,” reminded Shehbaz, along with other initiatives the party had taken. One would then be forced to think if the rally was under the banner of PDM or that of the PML-N. Perhaps it is this confusion that led the Maulana to say that Shehbaz, or rather PML-N, “cannot do it alone”, when he was given the opportunity to address the rally.
“Bringing the country back on the track of progress would not be easy as you [Shehbaz] think. It will be a challenge for you and all of us. We will have to face this challenge together,” said Rehman. While he then went onto launch a fresh salvo against PM Imran Khan and his governance, the cracks among the opposition alliance are becoming visible with every rally they hold.
The visible divide between the PML-N itself is for everyone to see, with the party clearly torn between the founder and his daughter at one end, and the more politically sound brother on the other. But the need for the Maulana to emphasize the ‘challenge together’, only shows the fissures between the only two remaining big parties under the PDM banner – PML-N and JUI-F. With this, how the movement envisions to pose as a threat to the ruling party is anybody’s guess. Moreover, the Maulana’s understanding of foreign affairs is at best minimal with him openly asking for the Taliban regime’s recognition by the state as well as siding with the TLP in their recently held protest. It would then be fair to say that the PML-N would serve themselves better if they also took a page out of the PPP’s book.