News Analysis |
Former Prime Minister and Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz’s Supreme Leader, Nawaz Sharif has extended an olive branch towards the Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Asif Ali Zardari in a bid to strengthen the Grand Opposition Alliance against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s government. The supreme leader sent a delegation to give Nawaz’s message to PPP secretary general Nayyar Bukhari at his residence. Raja Zafarul Haq headed the PML-N’s delegation comprising of Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, Senator Chaudhry Tanveer, and Anjum Aqeel.
The PML-N is seeking Zardari’s help to field the joint candidates in the forthcoming by-polls. PPP is yet to respond to PML-N’s request. Meanwhile, PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif may also visit the PPP leaders to discuss the expected alliance for October 14 by-elections. Recently, both the parties had an on-off relationship and took regular pot-shots at each other. Zardari’s visit after the death of Begum Kalsoom Nawaz may have opened a door for a political consultant. But, optics don’t indicate that PPP would join hands with PML-N for by-polls. PPP is looking to identify itself with the public after losing Punjab.
PTI looks to cement its position in power corridors at the center. The requested help from PPP is a classic example of the PML-N’s approach to beat the opponent at any cost, even, if it has to swallow a bitter pill.
Prior to the elections, Imran always maintained that both PPP and PML-N had an unholy alliance. Earlier, the status-quo parties signed the “chartered of democracy” and pursued the common agenda for civilian supremacy. However, recently, their path diverged and PML-N leaders accused the PPP of understating with the military establishment—which PPP vehemently denies. PML-N is looking to defeat PTI in upcoming by-polls. After PTI’s election win, losing parties had constituted a so-called Grand Alliance to counter the incumbent government.
The Grand Alliance is comprised of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Awami National Party (ANP), Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), and National Party (NP). All the top brass of the political elite- Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Captain (retired) Safdar, Imran Ali, and Khawaja Saad Rafique, Asif Ali Zardari, Faryal Talpur, Raja Pervez Ashraf and Yusuf Raza Gilani are facing corruption/money laundering-related investigations. The common agenda of the crooked status-quo elements is to counter PM Khan’s anti-corruption drive.
Under Imran’s slogan of change, institutions will be empowered to take the corrupt elements across the board—which has threatened the opposition leaders. The Grand Alliance has been mulling ways to formulate a strategy to thwart PTI’s government. If PTI wins the majority of the seats in by-polls, it may reach a commanding position to implement the promised reforms agenda without making compromise under pressure from allies. The opposition is fearful of Imran’s direct approach.
PPP initially attended the meetings, but, did not vote for Shahbaz for the premiership election. In spite of the efforts of MMA’s Maulana Fazal ur Rehman, PPP and PML-N could not resolve the difference and PPP did not withdraw it candidate [Aitezaz Ahsen] in the presidential elections. The NA seats can potentially have a major impact on the political landscape, especially in the context of PTI’s ambitions to consolidate its power in the center.
Currently, PTI is dependent on the fragile coalition partners like MQM and BNP which can always backfire. MQM-P continues to face existential crises and the hostilities and animosity of this controversial alliance are no hidden secrets. PTI looks to cement its position in power corridors at the center. The requested help from PPP is a classic example of the PML-N’s approach to beat the opponent at any cost, even, if it has to swallow a bitter pill. The PML-N is not hesitant to compromise on its ideology. All it needs is business [success], no matter how it comes.