Why Maryam wants snap election and Zardari doesn’t

"The outspoken daughter of former prime minister has her own plan while the PPP co-chairman is in no hurry to go to elections before completing his homework"

No snap polls. Zardari’s message was clear at Wednesday’s presser in Karachi. Maryam Nawaz explained her father’s plan in Swabi: Go for the election as soon as possible. Ready for resistance, the outspoken daughter of the former prime minister has her own plan.

It is not ironic that she still criticizes a section of the establishment, creating visible disturbance for his uncle, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who wanted to stick to the plan he agreed with the PPP to oust Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government.

Power-sharing with the Pakistan People’s Party doesn’t suit her and the majority of the PML-N leaders from the younger lot back her stance. The plan to keep her out and his uncle and cousin Hamza Shehbaz in is tantamount to ending her future politics. The prevailing crises also provide support to her stance.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz seemed reluctant to increase the petroleum prices and electricity tariffs despite mounting pressure from the IMF (International Monetary Fund). It cannot afford to take unpopular decisions. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot, the PML-N electables told the prime minister. Friends like Saudi Arabia and China have so far been reluctant to offer any suitable package to the dying economy of Pakistan.

China has more important jobs to do in the South China Sea and Africa and on the Russian-Ukraine front while the Kingdom seems interested in building ties with New Delhi. The national kitty is empty.

The PML-N government has no money to revive the cash-strapped Railways, PIA, start mega projects and provide enough fuel to power plants to end power load-shedding in the scorching heat.

Inflation is out of control and the trade deficit is increasing every passing day. A new wave of Covid is knocking on our door. So, what option is left with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz? Three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif called a party meeting in London to discuss the situation. He wanted to bring Maryam into power – perhaps as the next prime minister of Pakistan. The elder Sharif enjoys the trust of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl head Maulana Fazlur Rahman and believes Punjabis will support his party with the traditional spirit.

He thinks the PML-N will get double figures from KP, and with the support of the nationalists and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), he could make his way to the Centre.

He wanted to thwart the plan of the “powers” that matter. A confident Sharif and his daughter believe they will succeed.

Making his son the youngest prime minister of Pakistan is the sole objective of Asif Ali Zardari. The elderly Baloch Sardar wanted the support of the PML-N for it. Many say both parties agreed on the future power-sharing formula at the time of bringing the no-trust motion against the Imran Khan’s government. The PPP is pursuing the plan vigorously. Its leaders met with Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz to materialise the formula: give us our share from Punjab, they said. The PPP co-chairman is in no hurry to go to elections before completing his homework.

“We want electoral reforms. We want to build the economy and provide relief to the masses. We have a lot of work to do before the elections,” he told the journalists in the port city exactly at the same time when Nawaz was mulling the option of early elections with party leaders in London and just hours before Maryam’s speech in Swabi where she said that she has asked the PML-N to announce the elections.

In case PML-N defies Zardari’s wish, the veteran politician has many other cards to play. He could reluctantly go to the elections with the slogan “pehaly main nay aik ko farigh kya ab dosray ko karon ga (first, I ousted the PTI and now I will defeat the PML-N). The horizon will be clear in weeks.

Iftikhar Alam is a correspondent writing on religion, politics, agriculture, and energy. He takes people on a rich journey through the culture of Punjab. He tweets @imiftikharalam and can be reached at iftikharalam@live.com.