News Analysis |
The odds have been stacking up against PML-N ever since party leader and then Prime Minister; Mian Nawaz Sharif, was disqualified by a high profile judicial bench on charges of corruption, last year. Continuous setbacks ranging from cancer to torrential rains to resignations have washed away party morale as inter-party conflicts threaten to alienate voters and loyalists.
With defiant zeal, Mariyam Nawaz announced party tickets for her husband to contest from NA-16, previously held by senior PML-N loyalist; Sardar Mehtab Abbasi. Earlier, she and her father announced her return to Pakistan from London where her mother is allegedly undergoing treatment for cancer, to contest in upcoming elections.
PML-N leadership’s stubbornness already cost them dearly when Former Chief Minister Chaudhary Nisar withdrew his party nomination to contest independently. Similarly, Sardar Mehtab Abbasi and his son withdrew their party nominations for NA-16 in grievances for being unfairly subject to the shift in power once Mian Nawaz Sharif was disqualified from leadership.
The odds have been stacking up against PML-N ever since party leader and then Prime Minister; Mian Nawaz Sharif, was disqualified by a high profile judicial bench on charges of corruption, last year.
While Nisar felt he deserved more as a prominently loyal party member instead of falling under dynastic Sharif family politics, Sardar Mehtab felt like his he was deprived of his ancestral constituency when PML-N leadership took the word of Engineer Amir Mukam in confidence over his.
Maryam played an important role in not giving Sardar Mehtab PML-N’s ticket. Mehtab who was a close aide of Nawaz Sharif and among the senior members of the party objected to her choice of retired captain Safdar, over him. Not only did Sardar Mehtab feel like his loyalty was improperly repaid but his act of deliberately withdrawing him and his son signals the alienation of his loyalist voters from the PML-N constituency in Hazara division
Sardar Mehtab who has held the position of Chief Minister and Governor of Khyber PakhtunKhwa had been a staunch defender of PML-N during the Presidency of General Musharaf. However, when the embattled ex-PM and his daughter Maryam Nawaz pledged to fight against what they saw as unfair national institutions through non-reconciliation, loyalists like Sardar Mehtab and Chaudhary Nisar , advised Sharif time and again not to use their superior voter base to malign important national organizations lest the agendas of the country’s enemies be fulfilled.
Sardar Mehtab Abbasi and his son withdrew their party nominations for NA-16 in grievances for being unfairly subject to the shift in power once Mian Nawaz Sharif was disqualified from leadership.
Notably, Zaeem Qadri and Chaudhary Ghafoor also parted their ways with the party on the grounds of disrespect by next-generation of party leadership. Analysts consider the alienation of Sardar Mehtab as a major blow to PML-N politics particularly in Abbottabad valley, if not elsewhere as well.
Curernt PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif offered a compromise to Sardar Mehtab Abbasi in accomdating him elsewhere but the native leader stuck to his guns and refused to compromise on the party’s preference for Engineer Muqam over veterans.
Even earlier on, Sardar Mehtab Abbassi was had taken a disliking to Nawaz Sharif’s erratic politics ever since the renaming of NWFP as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa sparked controversy. Sardar Mehtab wished to preserve the Hazara identity rather than be included under the umbrella term; Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Using their power, the Mehtab group threatened resignation and cutting off party support but were later dissuaded from doing so. However, following the episode with Capt.(R) Safdar both sides within the party understood there is to be a change of leadership within Hazara. Capt. (R) Safdar along with Murtaza Javid Abbassi then proceeded to join hands to – successfully – counter the Mehtab Group from within the party.