PML-N will have to devise a new strategy before elections

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 03:11 PM, 6 Jan, 2022
PML-N will have to devise a new strategy before elections
File photo.

The political horizon has been hazy since long as conflicting information on important matters was coming from various quarters. However, Wednesday’s news conference (January 5) addressed by the ISPR director-general should clear the situation beyond any doubt. 

As a matter of principle, now the rumours and speculations should come to an end and all energies should be focused on addressing the problems facing the common man. 

Major General Babar Iftikhar rejected reports of a deal with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and termed them “baseless speculation". 

“Whoever speaks on the matter please ask them from where they are getting such reports,” he said when asked to comment on the matter. 

“Who is negotiating with Nawaz Sharif? What are the motives behind the deal with Nawaz Sharif? What is the evidence?” 

He also dispelled the perception of a civil-military rift. 

“There is no problem in civil-military relations. In the evening talk shows, it is said that the establishment did this and that. Keep establishment out of this.” 

“I say this time and again that the armed forces are a subservient institution to the government of Pakistan and work in accordance with their directives,” he said. 

Nawaz Sharif’s likely return home and the alleged tensions between the civil and military leaderships were the major subjects of political discussions at various fora for quite a while. 

However, the contradiction coming from the military spokesman should silence all propagandists. 

The news conference, ostensibly, will demoralize the PML-N, the main opposition party that wants to oust the PTI government.  

It will, however, benefit the ruling PTI because its point of view on both the issues stands vindicated. 

It may be recalled that PML-N MNA Javed Lateef, who is very close to Maryam Nawaz because of his aggressive stand against the PTI government, had claimed a few months ago that the three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif would return to Pakistan before the end of the year.

Thereafter, former National Assembly speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, who had met Mr Sharif in London, had predicted some undefined major development on the political scene in the near future. 

He had also said that the PML-N supremo would come back to Pakistan pretty soon.  

In addition, Ayaz Sadiq had said that he would be going to London by January 20 and would bring Mr Sharif back with him. 

Most people believe that Mian Nawaz Sharif would not be able to return to Pakistan as long as Gen Qamar Bajwa is the army chief. (Gen Bajwa will lead the 450,000 strong army till November. After him, it’s the prime minister prerogative to nominate his successor. If Imran Khan remained the chief executive of the country till then, he will certainly try to bring in a new COAS who treats the former prime minister like a real enemy). 

After the DG ISPR’s news conference the party has enough time before the next elections to prepare a new strategy to deal with the new situation. 

It is also a fact that problems facing the country are too serious and too that they are beyond the capability of the PTI and its allies to address them. To prevent the situation from worsening further, the opposition parties should think of joining hands with the government. Collective efforts will certainly help improve the situation.  

Such a large-heartedness in the national interest is more important than anything else – even fresh elections

Ashraf Mumtaz

The writer is the Deputy Editor of 24 Digital.