PML-N Swat Jalsa Proved Nawaz Sharif Will Stand His Ground, Come What May
PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif once again put to rest the apprehensions that arose in the aftermath of Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s recent interview with the BBC in Gilgit-Baltistan in which she said that she was ready to hold talks with the establishment.
While addressing a mammoth public gathering in Swat, Nawaz Sharif maintained his hard-hitting posture and chose to cling to his political narrative of ‘Vote Ko Izzat Do’ (respect the ballot). The significance of Swat rally is that it is not only the first public meeting organised by the PML-N after the formation of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) but, it was also significantly well-attended. It was one of the biggest public rallies in the history of Swat.
However, the important part of the event was Mian Nawaz Sharif’s speech which was received by the audiences with enthusiasm and applause. Perhaps the people of Swat particularly, and Pakhtun belt generally understand the nuances of Nawaz Sharif’s message very well as they are also the victims of the policies of the same power about whom he talks.
Like his previous speeches, Nawaz Sharif reiterated his bold stance of naming those who he thinks are responsible for the present mess. “The current government is imposed on you (people) and is therefore answerable to others not to you. Then they say why I name them. Why shouldn’t I name them,” Nawaz asked fervently.
However, the ISPR’s press release on the finding of IG Sindh abduction added more explosive to his speech. He dilated on the issue and termed the findings of the military’s Court of Inquiry a joke. “This press release is an FIR against them (those who ordered the abduction).”
He further lamented that ‘no one turned overzealous when they (generals) ordered to remove and arrested an elected prime minister and abducted journalists. They are telling the world that we are so irresponsible we can be ravished by emotions and consequently trample the rule of law and the chain of their command. This press release is an FIR against them,” he said.
Nawaz Sharif’s address to the Swat rally came in the opportune time to dispel the twists given to Maryam Nawaz’s interview to the BBC. He was not dejected, or in an appeasing mode. And why should he appease anyone when both luck and time are on his side?
The current regime seems the most disjointed which can neither command nor obey. The prime minster appears to be disconnected completely from the ground realities and wallowing in the fantasies of self-righteousness and know all attitude to the level of megalomania. His every public communication and appearance proves as a torpedo for the sinking ship.
Ironically, he can only be imitated, and competed by his spokespersons but with additional disadvantage of lacking stature and credibility. He no longer has political or ideological followers but fans who are by default unable to fight political battles in political manner. And thus, would be the last to jump from the sinking ship. To add insult to the injury, some of his allies already left him while others dither.
In the past two years, his government could not initiate a mega project or other meaningful initiative for the wellbeing of people despite raising the various taxes manifold and taking loans of about $ 17.6 b since the installation of his government. This clearly indicates his interests as well as control over the distribution of national resources.
That is why the current prime minster cannot be even compared in docility to former prime ministers of high breed regime like Junejo and Zaffaraullah Jamali. They were lacking political base and were depended on the king party’s support yet had some moral and political principles and dared to say no to a martial law when the time came
On the other hand, Nawaz Sharif has a huge, popular and unified party on his back which has further been glued and energized by the leadership of Maryam Nawaz Sharif. She is astutely preparing the otherwise ballot oriented party for agitative politics too.
Notwithstanding the weak links like ANP and PPP in the alliance of PDM, Nawaz Sharif has some reliable allies like Maulana Fazal Rehman, Mahmood Khan Achakzai and late Hasil Bezenjo’s party who own his stance and narrative of civilian supremacy. These allies can provide the critical mass and experience for street agitation.
Veteran journalist and commentator Najam Sethi is constantly alluding in his more than one editorial for the Friday Times to the fact that PPP is a weak link in the PDM but ANP also toes PPP’s path in this regard.
However, compromises for short term gains reduced PPP to interior Sindh and a provincial government which has been paralyzed by the federal forces. PPP should read the writing on the wall to understand that its chance to glory lies in the battle for the civilian supremacy not compromises and deals. As far as ANP is concerned, if Ibn-i-Khaldun’s Asabiyya is anything to go by, since Bacha Khan, Imal Khan is from the fourth generation to lead ANP.
In such circumstances, it will be not only unfortunate for the future of the country but also politically suicidal for Nawaz Sharif to agree on less than complete civilian supremacy and sovereignty of the parliament. Perhaps, Nawaz Sharif knows it better.
The author is a political analyst based in Islamabad.