Withering PDM to weaken PML-N’s fight against establishment, NAB

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 04:45 PM, 7 Apr, 2021
PDM disintegration
File photo.

The Awami National Party’s decision to quit the opposition alliance - Pakistan Democratic Movement - and the indications that the PPP also plans to come up with a matching reply to the show-cause notice issued to it are indicative that the six-month coalition is heading towards a demise. 

The disintegration of the alliance will be a matter of great relief to the PTI-led coalition, which, without doubt, has failed so far to solve all major problems of the country. 

After the latest development the threat of resignations from the assemblies will recede and parties like the PML-N and the JUI-F will continue to stay part of what they been contemptuously branding as fake assemblies. The chances of any anti-government movement in the times ahead are dim. And since the PPP as a matter of strategy is opposed to the idea of tendering resignations, even a long march on Islamabad is not discernible as parties of Mian Nawaz Sharif and Maulana Fazlur Rehman think that a long march without resignations from legislatures will not yield the desired results. 

The situation in the PDM will certainly be a serious setback to the PML-N, which has opened fronts against the establishment and the National Accountability Bureau. At times it even criticizes the judiciary.

With a withering opposition alliance, it will not be easy for the PML-N to continue to target the army and ISI leaderships on various pretexts. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif holds the incumbent army chief and ISI director-general responsible for the ouster of his government and the situation his party has been facing since then. 

In the changed situation, it is also not likely for Maryam Nawaz to challenge the NAB the way she has been doing until now. She may have to face all cases and their likely consequences. 

The change in the attitude of both the ANP and PPP will be a new experience for the de facto boss of the PML-N. She will now better understand that in politics nobody is trustworthy and none knows who is using the alliance with parties and leaders for what purpose. 

She was euphoric when, though because of political expediency, chairman of the rival-turned-ally PPP (Bilawal Bhutto) visited her at her Jati Umra residence. Likewise, it was beyond her expectations that a senior leader like Maulana Fazlur Rehman would give her the kind of importance that he gave. 

The attitude of the JUI-F chief in the times ahead will be instructive both for friends and foes of the Sharif family. 

Maryam should not forget that her party had also outwitted the entire ARD leadership by clandestinely striking a 10-year deal under which the Sharif family had gone to Saudi Arabia in 2000. 

All ARD leaders, including veteran Nawabzada Nasrllah Khan who had cobbled several alliances in the past, were flabbergasted when they came to know of the development. They realized that the Sharifs had used the ARD’s formation only to mount pressure on Gen Musharraf to agree to the deal, brokered by the Saudi royals. 

As for the ANP’s decision to part ways with the PDM, not many people remember that this party had parted ways even with the ARD in 2001 as a mark of support to then-president Gen Pervez Musharraf’s policy on Afghanistan. 

Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan had hosted an Iftar party for the ARD leaders at his then Nicholson Road residence in Lahore when the ANP representatives left the meeting, sharing with the alliance chief the reason behind their decision to part ways with the coalition against the military regime. 

That nothing is impossible in politics was proved by the PPP when it had joined the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD), a coalition against Gen Zia. The alliance comprised the very parties that were together in the Pakistan National Alliance to dislodge the PPP government. It was a very painful decision for the PPP to make but it became an ally of its former arch rivals for the sake of restoration of a democratic system in the country. (Since Gen Zia enjoyed full support of the United States because of the latter’s fight against the then Soviet Union, the MRD could not dislodge the military leader and he died in an air crash in August 1988. He was still in his military uniform in addition to the office of the president. 

It can be speculated that because of the situation the PML-N faces after differences with the PPP and ANP, the NAB will again summon Maryam Nawaz to record her statement in investigations about money laundering and illegal allotment of lands.