News Analysis |
Three members of the national assembly from Balochistan have decided to leave the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz after remarks by the Prime Minister on Saturday, March the 31st. Mir Dostain Dumki, Khalid Hussain Magsi, and JAM Kamal Khan are set to leave PML-N. It is not clear yet which party they intend to join. This came as a reaction after PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said in a rally at Sargodha on Saturday that those who had used their riches to become senators should be sent packing as they do not represent Pakistan.
Addressing the rally, he said, “I repeat that people of Pakistan do not accept the seats obtained using the money. Those who have become senator or Senate chairman using the money cannot represent Pakistan. These people need to be sent packing.” He made these remarks during the inauguration ceremony of a Cardiology Centre at District Headquarters Hospital in Sargodha and two high-pressure gas pipelines for Sargodha city.
Earlier in March, Dr. Nisar Jatt from Faisalabad also left the PML-N after meeting with Imran Khan, the chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. In October of last year, the chairman of Awami Muslim League (AML) Sheikh Rasheed alleged that about 40 MNA’s are ready to leave the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz due to dissatisfaction within party ranks.
The MQM-P (Mutahhida Qaumi Movement Pakistan) was whitewashed in senate elections. With MNAs leaving the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and its leader deposed, could a similar fate befall the PML-N in the next elections?
After the disqualification of the former party chief and prime minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, many analysts argued that PML-N might disintegrate or break apart into rival factions. The party seemed to have been weakened with uncertainty over its future leadership. The party government in Balochistan also went through turmoil recently when Balochistan Labour and Manpower Minister Rahat Jamali (L) and newly appointed Adviser on Excise and Taxation Majid Abro resigned in January.
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A no-confidence motion was filed against Chief Minister Balochistan province, Sanaullah Zehri. Zehri eventually resigned ahead of the motion. There seemed to be cracks forming within the party. However, top leaders in the party managed to keep PML-N united. Shahbaz Sharif, brother of the former chief of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, was appointed the acting president by the Central Working Committee (CWC) of the party on the recommendation of Nawaz Sharif.
The deposed prime minister was elected as the party’s ‘Quaid for life’. Maryam Nawaz, daughter of Nawaz Sharif, confirmed the development in a tweet. She also said at the time that the party is united and there is no division within party ranks. But the cracks are finally beginning to show. The disqualification of former party chief and prime minister on corruption charges has hurt party credibility. The case is ongoing in the accountability court. It got prolonged due a surprising twist in NAB reference against Nawaz Sharif recently. As explained in an earlier piece on global village space, the report compiled by the Joint Investigation Team was declared inadmissible as evidence in court.
Nevertheless, the evidence on the basis of which the report was prepared is still insurmountable. Sharif appeared before the accountability court to be questioned regarding ownership of flats in Evan Field House in London. The story behind the ownership of property by the Sharifs in an upscale part of London is explained in a piece titled ‘Connecting the dots: The London apartments since the 1990s’.
The Mutahida Qaumi Movement was united under Altaf Hussain. However, as analyzed in a piece by Dr. Mooed Pirzada, after distancing itself from Hussain, the MQM broke apart into rival factions, its performance in recent senate elections was lackluster.
Opposition party leader Imran Khan has missed no opportunity to highlight the corruption charges against the deposed prime minister in particular and party cadre in general. He once tweeted that ‘hypocrisy thy name is Nawaz Sharif’. On other occasions, he has said that the PML-N is like a mafia and that Nawaz and his daughter are fooling the nation. His confrontational rhetoric seems to be working as more MNAs leave the PML-N.
Read more: Has PTI and PML-N defamed politics?
If this trend continues, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf may win big in the next elections in traditional strongholds of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, such as Faisalabad. It remains to be seen the extent to which the party will be kept united under the leadership of Shabaz Sharif. There have been examples in the history of Pakistan where a political party disintegrated after getting distanced from its leader.
The Mutahida Qaumi Movement was united under Altaf Hussain. However, as analyzed in a piece by Dr. Mooed Pirzada, after distancing itself from Hussain, the MQM broke apart into rival factions, its performance in recent senate elections was lackluster. The MQM-P (Mutahhida Qaumi Movement Pakistan) was whitewashed in senate elections. With MNAs leaving the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and its leader deposed, could a similar fate befall the PML-N in the next elections?