A recent survey has found that a majority of Pakistanis feel that former premier Nawaz Sharif’s criticism of the establishment represents an ‘Indian narrative’ — a talking point that has also been pushed multiple times by government representatives.
Conducted by Pulse Consultant, a leading market and opinion research company, the survey reported that 51% of the respondents believe that Nawaz’s attacks on the Pakistani state are representative of an ‘Indian stance’, while 23% said the remarks are political in nature and 26% said they could not comment on the matter.
Quarterly Performance Evaluation Survey #QPES
The survey findings show that highest number of respondents in the last two years are ‘indifferent’ (neither satisfied nor dissatisfied) about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s overall performance.
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Asked about the PML-N’s future, 44% of the respondents said they believe it will split, 32% said the party will remain together while 24% said they had no opinion on the matter.
Echoing another popular refrain from Prime Minister Imran Khan, about 39% of the respondents of the survey said they agreed that the “opposition alliance was formed to hide their corruption”.
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However, a slightly higher number of respondents (40%) said they do not believe that the opposition has united solely to hide their corruption. The remaining 21% held no opinion on the matter.
PDM has been seen carrying an anti-establishment narrative since its creations. Nawaz Sharif named the Army Chief and DG ISI for political engineering in the country. “General Bajwa is responsible for installing incompetent Imran Khan,” he said while addressing PDM rally from London.
Similarly, senior PDM leader Mehmood Khan Achakzai in his speech had said “though Urdu is lingua franca, it’s not our language”.
Later on, MQM’s Faisal Subzwari said that the silence of all opposition parties against the anti-Urdu statement seemed to suggest that it was the collective narrative of the opposition.
“Rejecting Urdu as the national language and that too from a place located under the shadow of Quaid’s mazar is a matter of serious concern,” he said, adding: “The leadership of opposition should have demonstrated responsibility.”
Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP) leader Maulana Shah Owais Noorani demanded an independent Balochistan in Quetta while addressing a rally of PDM. “We want Balochistan as an independent state. Today, Balochistan looks like an underdeveloped area of the country,” Maulana Owais Noorani said.
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Finally, PML-N’s Ayaz Sadi had said that “I remember Shah Mahmood Qureshi was in the meeting in which Imran Khan had refused to attend and Chief of Army Staff General Bajwa came into the room, his legs were shaking and he was. Foreign Minister said for God’s sake let Abhinandan go, India’s about to attack Pakistan at 9 pm”. Not only the foreign minister but also DG ISPR rubbished the statement.
PDM does not represent common Pakistani interests
Ayaz Amir, a prominent Pakistani political commentator who regularly appears on Dunya TV, has said that the PDM does not have a future. “I am unable to understand their [PDM’s] agenda and program. What do they really want?,” he asked.
Mr. Amir also highlighted the failing state of the economy in Pakistan. “Pakistan’s economic condition is not stable and you expect people to support a narrative which has no practical appeal. PDM’s narrative is only for the elites running this movement,” he maintained.
While narrating the impact of Maryam’s speeches, Amir pointed out that “had the public been with PML-N, people would have come out and stood by Maryam”. “We see it did not happen because there is no serious talk about people,” he said. “Let’s admit the fact that the PDM has no momentum,” he concluded.
Hasan Askari Rizvi, a political analyst who served as Chief Minister of Punjab during the 2018 polls, said during a talk-show on Dunya TV that “the movement will likely involve more rhetoric than action”. Dr. Rizvi was of the view that the opposition parties won’t be able to stay united as many of them have “competing and contradictory interests”.
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There is also an opinion that the opposition is likely to fail due to an obvious that it has no anti-government plan. “The opposition will not be able to sell out its narrative. Khan’s government has a success story when it comes to Foreign Relations, it has an exemplary performance when it comes to defeating COVID-19, and Khan’s speeches at the UN made him a hero,” a senior bureaucrat told GVS. The officer was of the view that the opposition could set the agenda on high inflation but that is insufficient to shape an anti-government narrative when the current government seems to have done more than its capacity.