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Tuesday, May 24, 2022
EditorialThe deal and a divide, again

The deal and a divide, again

Rumours of a rift among Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership and talks of a ‘deal’ have sprung up again and this time they are fanned by the ruling PTI ministers. Addressing a gathering in Lahore on Sunday, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry claimed that the PML-N’s four top leaders met ‘someone’ and asked to be considered for the party’s supreme leader Nawaz Sharif’s replacement. The very next day, the minister again, this time through his official Twitter handle said that it will be a ‘positive development’ if the PML-N distanced itself from the Sharif family. Energy Minister Hammad Azhar too on the same day said in a tweet that the ‘four PML-N leaders’ should express their commitment to replace Nawaz openly, not behind closed doors.

It must be noted that it was just last year when rumours of a divide in the top leadership of the party were doing rounds in the political circles of the country. Then, it was the lack of coordination and consensus on a strategy to oust the current government between PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and Vice President Maryam Nawaz that led to people stating the formation of two clans. But soon the rumour mills went silent after the party came up with a unanimous strategy under the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), and the talks of a ‘deal’ with the establishment to bring Nawaz back. While the military’s media wing’s spokesperson termed the talks ‘baseless speculations’, Fawad’s statement on Sunday has brought it back into limelight. The minister might as well mention who this ‘someone’ was from whom the PML-N leaders were seeking to replace Nawaz.

It is also a rather uncanny coincidence that rumours suggesting a divide among opposition parties only come to the forefront when the ruling PTI is faced with criticism on the economic front. If the incumbent government believes diverting attention from its economic policy failures or rising inflation would help it win the next general elections then it must do better. It is surprising that with just over 15 months left for the next polls neither the PTI nor opposition parties – despite its protest campaigns – have put forth a strategy to solve the many issues the country is faced with. Pakistan is in need of a strengthened democracy and overhaul of a wide-ranging reforms, including political. Blame games or cryptic statements will not solve peoples’ issues. The political parties ought to do better.

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