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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Has Bilawal Bhutto cashed Nawaz Sharif?

If PPP wins Gilgit Baltistan elections, Bilawal Bhutto would've played smart with Nawaz Sharif who has taken a hard-line approach against the establishment which isn’t going anywhere.

Nawaz Sharif has issued a very stern tweet ridiculing the army and its high command, saying that the junior officers have been scapegoated while the actual culprits behind the Karachi incident involving inspector general Sindh, haven’t been identified.

The former prime minister said: “Inquiry report on Karachi incident is a cover-up scapegoating juniors & shielding the real culprits. Report Rejected.”

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, on the other hand, has welcomed the investigation and the subsequent decisions (removal of the concerned Rangers and ISI officials) by the court of inquiry. He said that the matter has been settled now. He appreciated army chief General Bajwa for taking notice of the incident and ordering an inquiry into it.

“To take action against those found guilty of an act is the democratic way,” he said addressing a public gathering in Gilgit-Baltistan, where he is campaigning for upcoming polls. “Such actions enhance the prestige of institutions. I hope we will take this initiative forward and join hands to work together,” he said.

Read more: Nepotism in Pakistani politics

Earlier, in the aftermath of the Karachi incident, Bilawal had reacted very strongly along with the Chief Minister Sindh when the IGP was forced to come to the Sector Headquarters, Karachi on 17/18 early morning where he was forced into agreeing to file an FIR against PML-N leader Capt. (R) Safdar.

The Sindh Government projected the whole situation emerging out of these events as the establishment’s involvement in politics. When senior police officials of the Sindh Police applied for leave on the pretext of being “demoralised and ridiculed”, COAS General Qamar Bajwa took notice of the matter and called PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. The army chief promised an inquiry into the matter.

Many analysts believe the army chief was too hasty in calling the PPP leader. As by doing so – the establishment allowed itself to be manipulated by the PPP.

Other commentators believe that the establishment role was important to decouple the PPP from PML-N and they have played it smart by improving its relationship with the PPP within the PDM. In Gilgit Baltistan, during the campaign trail, Bilawal Bhutto distanced himself from Nawaz Sharif. It became quite evident when in a BBC interview, he said they had only decided to name establishment and not the individual army generals. He further said he was really surprised to hear a three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif making such allegations. He opined “such allegations should come forward on the basis of evidence.”

Read more: PPP to leave PDM if ‘allowed’ to form government in GB

“During the all-parties conference, there was a debate on whether the blame should be laid on one institution or the entire establishment,” Bilawal said, adding that “it was decided that a single institution would not be named, the establishment would.” “It was a shock for me because, typically, we don’t talk like this at rallies.

Bilawal went on to say that when he explicitly heard Nawaz take the names of the COAS and the ISI chief, he was “shocked”.

Now, in the PDM there are two groups. One is the PML-N- JUIF other is the PPP group. So, PPP is distancing itself from Nawaz Sharif. Many analysts also suspect that this might help PPP get a better position in Gilgit Baltistan. And if PPP wins Gilgit Baltistan elections, Bilawal Bhutto would’ve played smart with Nawaz Sharif who has taken a hard-line approach against the establishment which isn’t going anywhere.

It’s quite evident that the PPP is acting like a rational political player and hence remains calm and composed, while Nawaz Sharif has had emotional issues with the army.