Fissures become apparent in PML N leadership
A few days ago, PML-N President and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly hosted a sumptuous dinner for the PDM leaders, with the main target of persuading the PPP and the ANP to rejoin the eight-month-old opposition alliance that had been set up to oust the PTI government.
After the dinner, the media reported that although the PPP and the ANP had joined the dinner, though not through the real invitees, those who represented their respective parties had sought time to take a decision on becoming a part of the opposition’s coalition once again.
Both these parties had parted ways with the PDM after they had been issued show-cause notices by the alliance secretary-general - Shahid Khakan Abbasi – for pursuing policies inconsistent with the alliance policy.
At a party meeting, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari tore the show-cause notices into pieces and parted ways with the PDM, asserting that he was not answerable to anyone except his own party. This dealt a serious blow to the opposition bloc as the PPP was its second largest constituent.
The “volcanic” reaction established beyond doubt that the PPP was least interested in rejoining the alliance, which it had conceived and launched for riddance from the PTI government.
The ANP also took a similar decision, after which the PML-N and the JUI-F were the only major parties left in the PDM.
However, on Tuesday PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz link caused serious embarrassment to her uncle Shehbaz Sharif link when she said that the dinner hosted by the PML-N president had nothing to do with the PDM’s politics.
As for the possibility of the PPP returning to the PDM’s fold, she said the party should first answer the show cause and then the matter of them rejoining the alliance would be looked into.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former prime minister and vice president of the PML-N, said the PDM’s doors have been closed for the PPP and in case it was re-inducted in the alliance, the coalition would have to look for a new secretary general, a post being held by him at present.
This was a clear message that Shehbaz Sharif’s efforts to persuade the PPP or the ANP back into the alliance were not tolerable for him.
His stand on the subject was similar to that of Maryam. And this is not the first time similarity of thought between Maryam and Khaqan has been witnessed.
While Mian Nawaz Sharif and Maryam have the same opinion on all matters, Shahid Khaqan is a true follower of the father and daughter.
Interestingly, PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s stance about the possibility of the PPP and the ANP returning to the alliance’s fold is even harsher.
He has been quoted as saying that the PPP had torn apart the show cause; now it should piece together the show cause, read it again and come up with an appropriate reply. Otherwise, he made it clear there was no room for the PPP and the ANP in the alliance.
Also, he said the two parties should apologise for taking a hasty decision on parting ways with the PDM.
At this juncture the question is not whether the PPP and the ANP rejoin the alliance or not; the question is of the status of Mian Shehbaz Sharif link in the PML-N and his say in the PDM as head of the coalition’s biggest constituent.
As a matter of principle, Shehbaz Sharif’s initiative to bring the estranged PPP and ANP back to the PDM should have been appreciated by all alliance leaders. But he had to face embarrassment at the hands of the party.