| Welcome to Global Village Space

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Zardari wants PDM to focus on Imran Khan: Is Nawaz’s anti-army narrative failing?

After Bilawal’s statement that it was Nawaz’s personal choice to name the COAS and DG ISI, Asif Ali Zardari says the PDM be clear about its goals and should not open up new fronts. Is Nawaz’s narrative failing? What future holds for the PML-N?

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari said during the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) meeting on Sunday that the coalition should be clear about its goals and should not open up new fronts, reported GEO News.

Attending the online meeting – which was held to review the ongoing political situation in the country and to chalk out the 11-party opposition alliance’s future strategy – Zardari stressed that the PDM should stick to a clear goal, as opening up new fronts simultaneously would reap no results. Other PDM leaders also presented different suggestions for the coalition’s next moves.

Naming Army Chief and DG ISI was Nawaz’s personal choice, Bilawal

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday has said that he was shocked to hear Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif directly accusing military leadership during his speech in Pakistan Democratic Movement‘s (PDM) Gujranwala rally.

In an interview with BBC, the PPP leader said that taking names of military leaders was Nawaz Sharif’s personal choice. It was decided in the PDM agenda to use the ‘establishment’ word and not to take the name of any national institution, he said.

Read more: PDM is upping the ante in its mission to overthrow Imran Khan’s government

The statement sparked a debate in the civil-military circles. Many quarters termed the statement as ‘negative’ but many quarters also criticized the PPP for not taking a clear stand like the PML-N.

Nawaz Sharif blamed the COAS and DG ISI for ousting him through ‘controlling and dictating the courts’. It was not for the first time that Nawaz slammed the security establishment for ‘political engineering’. On September 20, he claimed that then DG ISI approached him and asked him to step-down.

However, former DG ISI, retired Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam, has said he never asked for the resignation of former premier and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in 2014. “I never sent anyone to convey any such message to [Nawaz], this is absolutely wrong,” he said while speaking to The News.

Nawaz’s received mixed reactions. Prominent anchorperson Rauf Klasra revealed that “I spoke with some senior PML-N leaders and they are shocked to watch Nawaz vilifying the army”.

Read more: Is PDM a product of poor governance?

He also said that the senior leadership of the party now thinks that “we may not be able to do politics in this situation”.

There is also another view that if the current army chief was behind Nawaz’s removal as the prime minister then why did his party vote to grant an extension to the same person? Does it imply that a deal was underway but some unexpected circumstances led Nawaz to vilify the establishment?

PPP to quit PDM?

PPP may form government in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and part ways with the PDM, reported this publication a few days ago. Senior analyst Haroon ur Rasheed in a talk-show said that Bilawal may be offered some support and form the government. “This can happen. Don’t expect much from politicians. They bargain and take advantage of the situation,” he added.

Notably, GB is going to hold an election on November 15. This will be the region’s third election since GB was given the power to rule itself in 2009 through its assembly. In the first election in 2009, the PPP won, followed by the PML-N in 2015.

The PML-N completed its term on June 23, 2020, and the Legislative Assembly wrapped up after five years in power. Mir Afzal was sworn in as the caretaker chief minister for GB on June 24.

Read more: Naming Army Chief and DG ISI was Nawaz’s personal choice, says Bilawal

Notably, PDM is an alliance of about a dozen parties headed by Maulana Fazl ur Rehman of JUI-F. Some analysts are of the view that it is like the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) created to fight military ruler Zia-ul-Haq and the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD) against Gen Pervez Musharraf.

The PDM has announced a 26 point charter of demands which among other things seeks end of the establishment’s role in politics, production of missing persons, end of media restrictions, reduction in prices of commodities of everyday use, and the resignation of PM Imran Khan in 10 days followed by free and transparent elections.

Hassan Askari Rizvi, a political analyst who served as a senior official during the 2018 polls, said during a talk-show on Dunya TV that “the movement will likely involve more rhetoric than action”. Dr. Rizvi was of the view that the opposition parties won’t be able to stay united as many of them have “competing and contradictory interests”.