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PPP’s guarded approach to Nawaz’s confrontation with judiciary

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News Analysis |

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari accused ousted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of creating deliberate confrontation between judiciary and parliament. Bilawal was addressing the party workers in Lahore where he claimed that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is responsible for political chaos confronting the nation.

A day earlier in Lahore, Bilawal had shown apprehension over the intentions of Nawaz. He said that his party is willing to address the issue of judicial reforms but he doubts Nawaz’s agenda as he’s after judiciary of choice. Clarifying his party’s stance on the matter, he said, PPP had resisted the amendment which paved the way for disqualified Nawaz to get elected as the party chief again.

The weaknesses of Nawaz were wide open to be exploited but neither Imran nor Bilawal were able to make inroads into PML-N stronghold. On the flip side, both the parties have lost ground to PML-N’s despite the latter facing many challenges.

He expressed his wish to develop a Punjab which doesn’t only belong to the rich but poor the too, a Punjab which belongs equally to Muslims and non-Muslims, farmers and laborers.  He asked for support from people of Punjab to address the challenges facing the country.

The young PPP leader said general Zia ul Haq’s followers [Nawaz] have destroyed Punjab. There exists a great inequality in income distribution between rich and poor. The rich have a greater share in generated wealth as compared to the poor, which needs to be redistributed among poor people.

Read more: Does the constitution allow the judiciary to review amendments?

He reemphasized his commitment to building Pakistan on the philosophy and ideology of PPP founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and former PM Benazir Bhutto, where workers and farmers are empowered.

PPP co-chairman also attacked PTI chairman Imran Khan over his policies which are aiming to escalate the divide between rich and poor even further. He discredited the megaproject policies of Nawaz which facilitate an elite group of friends and Imran’s economic change which revolves around so-called ATM-Jehangir Tareen.

Why does PPP Stand?

PTI has received a fair bit of criticism for not running a strong and effective campaign to discredit Nawaz after his anti-judiciary adventure. PPP has played on the back foot as it did not fiercely put forward its narrative against Nawaz over his alleged propaganda against the judiciary. Had the opposition confronted the smearing campaign of Nawaz, the results of by-elections across Pakistan would have been rather different.

PTI seemed the only power to penetrate the PML-N’s stronghold areas such as Gujranwala, Sialkot, and Faisalabad, where PPP seems non-existent. With PPP coming up with only confused rhetoric, with its opposition leader not challenging PML-N fully, any chances of success in the next elections are under threat.

One wonders why PPP actually wants to play safe as it opted for a balanced attitude over the issues. Although, Senator Aitezaz Ahsan lashed out at Nawaz for over his campaign against the judiciary but, opposition leader Khursheed Shah did not primarily disagree with Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi when the latter attacked judiciary on parliament floor seeking parliamentary supremacy.

Read more: PM Abbasi attacks judiciary and seeks parliament supremacy

Shah was of a view that every institution should work within its parameters and pre-defined boundaries and judiciary has no authority to reject legislations, though, it may interpret as required. At the same time, he opted for a more balanced and guarded approach and reminded the legislators of the results of the personalized legislation. 

PTI seemed the only power to penetrate the PML-N’s stronghold areas such as Gujranwala, Sialkot, and Faisalabad, where PPP seems non-existent. With PPP coming up with only confused rhetoric, with its opposition leader not challenging PML-N fully, any chances of success in the next elections are under threat.

The young PPP leader said general Zia ul Haq’s followers [Nawaz] have destroyed Punjab. There exists a great inequality in income distribution between rich and poor. The rich have a greater share in generated wealth as compared to the poor, which needs to be redistributed among poor people.

Bilawal Bhutto had shown his credibility, political sense and diplomatic abilities in Davos. But, in Zardari’s presence, he is yet to take the driving seat. Hollow rhetoric without concrete plans or vision and inability to demonstrate effective governance in Sindh raises questions about the party’s position and apparently fails to convince voters across Pakistan.

Read more: Sharifs’ diatribes won’t affect judiciary’s stature: CJP

The weaknesses of Nawaz were wide open to be exploited but neither Imran nor Bilawal were able to make inroads into PML-N stronghold. On the flip side, both the parties have lost ground to PML-N’s despite the latter facing many challenges.

Moreover, in hindsight, Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan has given another favor to Nawaz. Since Nawaz was successful in engaging people and developing a situation in his favor post disqualification, his removal as party chief will further augment his initial rhetoric. The only reprieve which PTI and PPP may get is the outcome of ongoing cases in accountability court which may convince the masses of Nawaz’s alleged corruption and money laundering. Otherwise, both the opposition parties may bite the dust in next general elections.


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