What Does Maryam Nawaz’s Recent Public Appearance Mean For PML-N’s Future?
Muhammad Ziauddin analyses Maryam Nawaz’s public appearance in a long time where she vowed to continue speaking up for civilian supremacy in the country. He terms it an attempt to reassure the party’s support base.
Her emergence from an almost 4-month long phase of complete silence and the forceful public reiteration of her party’s politics since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s ouster by the Supreme Court on not being Sadiq and Ameen, does not herald, it seems, the beginning of a new phase of political activism of Maryam Nawaz, Senior Vice President of Pakistan Muslim League (N).
Her pubic appearance seems at best, to be no more than a one-time break from the strategic silence that she had imposed on herself, most probably in view of the seriousness of her father’s imminent surgery which because of various health complication of Nawaz Sharif, has become a matter of life and death.
What she has done by breaking out of her silence mode seems more a deeply personal gesture conveying expression of confidence in former Prime Minister Shahid Khakhan Abbasi and former Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on behalf of PMLN supremo Nawaz Sharif.
It was only fitting that the daughter of the party chief and its Senior Vice President convey the appreciation of Nawaz Sharif for the two PMLN stalwarts who stood their ground under extreme pressure of incarceration at the hands of the NAB which has turned the accountability process into a complete farce while attempting to carry out the orders of a leader who seems to have been consumed completely by the flames of revenge.
That she used the opportunity to publicly reiterate her Party’s two popular slogans – vote ko izzat do and advocating civilian supremacy – was in fact a timely move on her part to reassure the doubting Thomases within her Party, a suspicious media which has been filling the blank (?) spaces with all kinds of deals as a trade- off for voting the Army Chief’s extension Bill, and to explode the balloon of the ruling party’s smugness.
While the meeting between the Chief Minister of Punjab Usman Buzdar and the six PMLN MPAs could be dismissed as of no political consequence, and even regarded as being no more than a deceptive attempt on the part of the latter to seek development funds for their respective constituencies by letting an impression of desertion being created, the questions that were raised during a parliamentary party meeting, especially about the inordinate delay in the return of the leader of the Opposition, Shahbaz Sharif did bring the party under pressure of its own politics of keeping the decision making process too secretive, too much within the family band and that too among only those now in London.
One did not hear any convincing answer about the question of Shahbaz’s return, after the conclusion of the parliamentary party meeting except a vague reiteration that he would be back sometime this month but no firm date has been mentioned.
Many within the party perhaps believe that Shahbaz, a highly capable administrator, does not have in him what it takes to be a strong opposition leader capable of brining the ruling coalition under enough pressure to cause it to worry about saving itself from an abortive fate.
A good number of PMLN leadership within Pakistan also to be on the verge of being swayed by the government propaganda that the Sharif family has left the country for good leaving the party once again to its fate and; was only waiting for Maryam to join them before they finally cut off their links with Pakistan and the party to save the family members from being convicted and jailed for their alleged corruption if they go back home.
Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of the Rehbar himself making her public appearance at this politically crucial juncture and publicly reiterating her party’s politics of resistance seems like an attempt on the part of the party leadership sitting abroad to further reassure the top non-family leadership of PMLN that the rehbar of the Party and the party president would both return home to face the courts come what may, but not before Nawaz Sharif has completed all the medically prescribed health procedures.
The author is a senior journalist and editor.