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Punjab turns into battlefield of Panipat

Dancing with the enemies, perhaps Asif Ali Zardari revels in the entire situation

Punjab turns into Panipat. The infantry of 371 is ready to set to fight one of the most complex battles in the province’s history.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has made a change of command at the last moment, visibly upsetting the main rival – the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Chaudhry has to show his credentials to prove himself worthy of Punjab’s pagg (turban).

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Signed at the zenith of Unionist Party glory, the Jinnah-Sikandar Pact of October 1937 brought life to the dead horse of the All-India Muslim League, ultimately squeezing the former and expanding the latter on the political landscape of Punjab in less than a decade.

Chaudhrys claim their faction of the Muslim League is the true successor of the political party of Pakistan’s founders. They don’t have a decade but over a year to strengthen the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) between Sutlej and Jhelum. If he succeeds in winning the top slot, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi has to begin from scratch.

The man who received more than 200 votes during the Punjab Assembly speakership contest in 2018 has never been liked by Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif.

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Both the PTI and the PML-N believe Jatts of Gujrat are dangerous for them.

Dancing with the enemies, perhaps Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari revels in the situation. Elahi was the former president’s top bet in Punjab. He wanted to see Chaudhry as the Punjab chief minister. Elahi probably will not disappoint his former ally.

Late politician from Sindh Pir Ali Muhammad Rashidi held Punjabi politicians responsible for decade-long political circus played in the country from 1948 to 1958. In his memoir, the Pir of Larkana said politicians of Punjab led by Ghulam Muhmmad (former governor-general) and Ch Muhammad Ali (former prime minister) befooled Bengalis, Sindhis and others for years. Rashidi isn’t alive to watch the Sindh-based old Baloch sardar’s political gambit now. Many believe Nawabshah and Gujrat have developed a deep understanding to capture centre and Punjab in the future. Rawalpindi is comfortable with both.

Some say the PTI and the PML-N are the prime targets of Chaudhrys and Zardari. Blame-game has already started within the PML-N for losing the PML-Q to the PTI. The ruling party is set to divide. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Punjab Governor Ch Mohammad Sarwar and many others, including Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed, will hardly accept the Chaudhrys. They will ultimately break their silence sooner or later.

In the house of 371, the PTI has 186 lawmakers, including dissidents in shape of Tareen and Aleem Khan groups. The PML-N has 165 members, including many of those 15 who voted silently in favour of Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi in 2018. Seven belongs to the PPP, five are independents and one is from Rah-e-Haq Party. The PML-Q has 10 MPAs.

Moonis Elahi is already active and making phone calls to win the support of maximum members in favour of his father. Tareen group is meeting the Chaudhrys today (Wednesday).

On the other side, the PML-N’s Rana Sanaullah has become more active in Lahore than in Islamabad. Mian Javed Latif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi have already thrown a challenge to the PML-Q.

The game is on. It will be a thriller. Thank you Pakistani politicians for providing such great entertainment to the people.

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