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The leaders of the bruised, battered yet resilient PML-N have joined heads to decide upon a modus vivendi for the future. The consultative meeting held in Raiwind mulled on the new party head after the former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif was also asked to relinquish his position as PML-N chief.

Pakistani politics will be dictated by public outreach drives; the battles in the apex courts and electioneering efforts

While the meeting ended without a decision on Nawaz’s successor, the big wigs agreed to continue the “mass contact” drive throughout the country. Top men in the party believe that the response to the GT Road rally was encouraging to say the least.

The meeting was attended by ministers in Ahsan Iqbal, Saad Rafique, Khawaja Asif and Chief Minister Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif among others.

Read more: Strategy for survival; Nawaz files petitions with the SC

Analysts gave mixed analyses on the success of the GT Road rally; the government has claimed it a success but a closer inspection tells a different story. The lackluster support all along the GT road, coupled with the tragic crushing of a boy in Lala Musa dented the rally. However, crowds in Gujranwala and Lahore somewhat glossed the homecoming rally.

One of the objections raised in the petitions filed yesterday was that a 5-member bench should not have given the final verdict

Federal Minister for Railways Saad Rafique said that PML-N will continue with its mass contact drive, something which started with the GT Road rally. “The party will continue and pace up the mass-contact drive…its various aspects are being reviewed… A schedule of the rallies and public meetings will be issued soon.”

Though all agree with the need for a public campaign, there are differences on how it should be done. PML-N seemingly needs this campaign for multifarious reasons.

Read more: Pakistan’s foreign policy and current challenges-part 1

Pressure tactics

Regardless of the methods employed, the PML-N will, in all likelihood rile up the conspiracy narrative once again. If anything, “Mujhey kyun nikala” will be the tag line of this drive where the deposed premier will link his disqualification with efforts to disparage public mandate.

The Sharif family’s prime aim would be to delay NAB proceedings. The aim fits in well with the verbal diatribes launched against the judges by Nawaz Sharif

Time is ripe to kickstart the campaign as PTI and PML-N lock horns in the battle for NA-120. Kulsoom Nawaz, the former First-Lady will contest the by-polls against Dr. Yasmeen of the PTI. The poll is important for both parties; PML-N has more to lose. A win for Kulsoom Nawaz will give the Sharif family in general and the beleaguered Nawaz much-needed breathing space and relevancy.

A loss would not only dent the Sharif family and the PML-N but it will give the already-brazen PTI a great boost. Imran Khan, who is already on the look out for more ways to challenge PML-N will elicit great confidence if Dr. Yasmeen clinches the seat in Lahore.

However, there is a lot more to this mass contact drive. Not only it is a precursor to the electioneering campaign for next year’s General Elections, it is a prominent part of the league’s strategy.

The impending NAB references in all earnestness will land the Sharif family in deep trouble with far-reaching ramifications for the PML-N too

Nawaz Sharif filed three petitions in the Supreme Court against the Panama Verdict. One of the petitions implored to stay further implementation of the Panamagate judgment until a decision on the review petition is taken. The impending NAB references in all earnestness will land the Sharif family in deep trouble with far-reaching ramifications for the PML-N too.

Read more: What if Kulsoom Nawaz doesn’t win from NA-120?

The Sharif family’s prime aim would be to delay NAB proceedings. The aim fits in well with the verbal diatribes launched against the judges by Nawaz Sharif. The idea will be to sell the narrative of “200 million vs 5” in a bid to pressurize the judges.

Though the Sharif family; the PML-N and supporters have riled-up the assertion that the disqualification was done on frivolous grounds, a careful reading of the two judgments in tandem with the JIT report tells a different story altogether. As a case in point, one of the objections raised in the petitions filed yesterday was that a 5-member bench should not have given the final verdict. The very first line of the verdict of 28th July clarified that it is a continuation of the order given on 20th April 2017.

Pakistani politics will be dictated by public outreach drives; the battles in the apex courts and electioneering efforts.

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