The divide within the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) is becoming visible day-by-day, which the ‘House of Sharif’ tries to cover up with lip service. Other than the divide, the party has ripped out the agenda of the Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM). Buoyed at the party win in Punjab in the recent Cantonment Board elections, the PML-N president says the results have shown that if the next general elections are held in free and fair manners, the PML-N would win – this is what Shehbaz Sharif thinks and he said this during a party convention in Rawalpindi. There are indications that the main opposition party is setting its sight on the general election outcomes, instead of taking up some undemocratic move, such as resignation from the assemblies. In the Rawalpindi convention speech, instead of calling for the immediate resignation of the prime minister and his cabinet, as has been the agenda of the PDM, the PML-N president confidently conveyed that his party should work for the general elections which it will win.
One can see a shift in the PML-N’s tone and tenor and general policy towards the government and regarding the elections, after Shehbaz Sharif took the front seat of the party after side-stepping Maryam Nawaz. The recent developments after the partial success of the party in the Cantonment elections have led to an even deeper divide between the Shehbaz and Maryam camps. A camp, not much kind to Maryam, is depicting the impression that it was the development work under the leadership of Shehbaz Sharif as the chief minister of Punjab, that the party was able to show such positive results. The war of the perception has set in within the party that if the party is led by the younger Sharif, it is more likely to win the general elections rather than being under the leadership of the PML-N supremo’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz.
The rift between Maryam Nawaz and Shehbaz Sharif has become the talk of the town due to differing views of each. Other than the Cantonment Board elections, the other pricking point between the two camps is the thing of past – General Qamar Javaid Bajwa’s extension, which the PML-N also supported through its vote in the parliament. Maryam Nawaz recently came forward with the statement that she did not support the extension, while Hamza Shehbaz stated that the decision of extension was a wise and correct one. The divide between the two camps is becoming more and more evident as the general elections come closer. However, it seems like Shehbaz Sharif has a larger support base in the party and to secure the next elections, he is also trying to mend ties with the establishment.
Former prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif seems to have taken a backseat and let the fittest survive in this battle for power in the party. It is unclear whether he will support his daughter or approve the ways of his younger brother who has always stuck by his side. The man has not taken any action or given any order. This may lead to a divide in the party which may result in loss for the whole political party. The political meetings held by the party are being addressed by Nawaz Sharif. However, no discussion has ensued regarding the matter of who will lead the party. The PML-N needs to get its house in order as soon as possible. Otherwise, internal weaknesses may be played against them which may result in a loss in the upcoming general elections.