News Analysis |
Defection in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has jolted the party again as ten more leaders decided to leave the party to join Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrek-e-Insaf (PTI). The PML-N is a party in crises. This new wave of defection is a major setback for the Shehbaz led party.
The disgruntled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was well on his way to sell his overly used victim card and other than temporary glitches he used against other parties as he found himself to be successful in drawing crowds across Pakistan. His narrative was apparently selling well until he turned the gun on himself.
In a well-orchestrated attempt to negate Pakistan’s narrative on the 2008 Mumbai attacks and sabotage the image of Pakistan’s military establishment in the international circuit, Nawaz took a dangerous turn which has put the party on the brink of a major meltdown. His not-so-unexpected move has brought a fresh wave of defection in the PML-N.
After switching to PML-N in 2013, she retained her seat as she secured 87002 votes against an independent candidate Makhdoomzada Asad Hayyat, who was a distant second.
Ten PML-N leaders from Punjab met the PTI Chief at his Bani Gala residence and decided to join the PTI. They showed complete trust in the leadership of Imran Khan. Khan looked happy as he welcomed the new additions to his team. Some of the notables included Ghulam Bibi Bharwana and Sahibzada Mohammad Nazir Sultan.
The former MNA Ghulam Abbasi Qureshi and former members of the Punjab Assembly, which include Meher Mohammad Aslam Bharwana, Mian Muzaffar Mehmood, Rana Shahbaz Ahmad Khan, Ghulam Ahmed Khan Gadi, Sheikh Mohammad Yaqoob, Meher Sultan Sikandar and Mian Asif Kathia, also opted to ditch PML-N for PTI.
The PTI is on the roll. Nevertheless, the success in the upcoming elections is dependent on many factors including the issuance of the tickets to the right candidates, as new recruits have put the leadership in a dilemma. Having been elected before, these ex-members of the national and provincial assemblies possess the power to win the next elections. However, how well the PTI can manage its affairs remain critical to chances of its success in the 2018 general elections.
Among the Thursday recruits, Ghulam Bibi Bharwana and Sahibzada Mohammad Nazir Sultan are formidable names who can give a tough time to other parties. A quick but holistic analysis of their career record shows that they can be the winning candidates for the PTI.
The disgruntled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was well on his way to sell his overly used victim card and other than temporary glitches he used against other parties as he found himself to be successful in drawing crowds across Pakistan.
Ghulam Bibi Bharwana: PTI’s new Khiladi
Ghulam Bibi Bharwana, a LLB holder from the Punjab University, has been unbeaten in the last couple of decades. She was one of the five legislators who announced her resignation from their constituencies in December 2017, during a Khatm-i-Nabuwwat conference in Faisalabad organized by Pir Hameeduddin Sialvi.
In her resignation, she stated that her protest had gone unheard which is why she decided to resign from her NA-88 (Jhang II) seat. Finally, she decided to quit the PML-N on May 17.
After winning from NA-87 (Jhang II) in 2002, on PML-Q ticket, she served as the Minister of State for Education under the Musharraf regime. She was re-elected in 2008 again, under the PML-Q banner. After switching to PML-N in 2013, she retained her seat as she secured 87002 votes against an independent candidate Makhdoomzada Asad Hayyat, who was a distant second. He was defeated by 18,152 votes. Moreover, her winning margin against Asad Hayyat was 17,868 votes in 2002 and 41,641 votes in 2008 respectively.
The steep decline in Asad’s votes in 2008 was due to the participation of Syeda Sughra Imam who secured 55,621 votes and was defeated by only 7,894 votes.Makhdoom Asad Hayyat is the brother of Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat, former Federal Minister and Sajjada Nashin of Darbar Hazrat Shah Jewna.If Sughra Imam decides to contest elections, it may result in a neck and neck contest. Otherwise, history favors the PTI’s Ghulam Bibi Bharwana.
The PTI is the most favored option in the given circumstances for legislators, ahead of the 2018 general elections.
Sahibzada Mohammad Nazir Sultan: A winning candidate
Sahibzada Mohammad Nazir Sultan is a seasoned politician who has elected five-times between 1970 and 1993. However, his winning streak ended in 1997 as a PPP candidate, suffering a surprise defeat against a PML-N candidate. He went on to lose in 2002 and 2008 elections. On both occasions, he marginally lost against Saima Akhtar Bharwana [who contested on both occasions as an independent candidate] by 467 votes in 2002 and and 6660 votes in 2008 respectively. However, she joined the PML-N in December 2012.
In 2013, the 74-year-old veteran politician was a winner once again after losing over 16-years in 3-general elections. He secured 52,106 votes against the PML-N’s Bharwana who obtained 41,620 votes. Being a sitting MNA, he can be a winning candidate for the PTI but given the recent history, nothing can be predicted with certainty.
A wave of change
Even prior to the Nawaz’s infamous interview with Dawn, his confrontation against the judiciary and military establishment had convinced some electable to ditch the PML-N for the PTI and the PPP.
The legislators are aware of the fact that the tide is not in PML-N’s favor amid grave political and legal challenges facing Nawaz. The PTI is the most favored option in the given circumstances for legislators, ahead of the 2018 general elections. However, PTI must know the turncoats entering the party as they have deserted many parties before and can replicate the same within the case of non-performance in the 2018 general elections.