LAHORE - The aggressive political style of Maryam Nawaz commands such admiration by a section in the PML-N that they ascribe the party’s defeat to the absence of the energy and thrill – which she had earlier infused into the workers – in the final and most crucial days of election.
The results of the general elections would have been drastically different had she not been convicted, forced to stay in the UK to take care of her ailing mother and finally incarcerated, they believe.
There may be difference of opinion, yet the fact remains that Maryam set a new trend by playing on the front foot. It paid her party a tremendous dividend not only during the September 20 by-election in NA-120 Lahore but also when she advanced the narrative of her father - Nawaz Sharif - after his disqualification.
A senior PML-N member said that Maryam’s pubic speeches increased the public acceptance of Nawaz at large and injected a new sprit in the demoralised party supporters so much so that it became a worrisome point for their rivals.
He said the incarceration of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam broke that tempo. Had even only Maryam been in the field at the time of the party campaign, the results would have been much different from what they are today, he added.
In the post election scenario, the stock-taking of the party has begun and in that process the missing voice of Maryam Nawaz in the election campaign has been felt badly – although the party also believes the alleged rigging to be also a key factor in their poor-than-expected performance.
From the observers’ point of view, the PML-N performance and seats it got in the polls have also drawn a line between the two narratives: one carried by Nawaz and Maryam led camp and the other by the rest. They said it is an admitted fact that the PML-N vote-bank means vote for three-time Premier Nawaz Sharif.
Since 1988, when Nawaz took over the party, his person found reflection in almost every matter of the PML-N. And, inspired by her father, Maryam Nawaz also emerged on political horizon to become a true lieutenant to him. It is just a year ago when she practically entered the political field and today she’s well known figure not only in Pakistan but also in the world.
On the slogan of “vote ko izzat do” the father and the daughter gave a different outlook to the masses for voting the party to power in the election. The slogan was carried in the party electioneering but it was devoid of that vigour, force and conviction that Nawaz and Maryam had infused.
Although their aggressive and anti-establishment stance invited a sharp criticism from different quarters, but it did help in building support for the party and set it on the path to victory in the election. Now that the PML-N has lost, the difference made by the presence of Maryam is being felt acutely.
The voters were there but the moving force was out of political scene which proved a dismaying factor for them, said the party leader.
Maryam Nawaz is languishing in jail at present, like many other leaders around the globe who faced imprisonment at different points in time in their life. Many of those leaders gained maturity and established themselves in politics after passing through serious hardships.
Since her coming back to Pakistan and courting arrest along with her father, Maryam has demonstrated very strong nerves. She returned to the country leaving her critically ill mother behind and now her father too is facing health complications in jail, while her party has become an underdog after the election.
The situation is quite adverse for her as the PTI, the rival party which had been the prime target in her public speeches, is about to come to the power. And the PML-N, the strongest political force a year ago, is being propped by other big and small parties, to show teeth to the new government. Besides it, the accountability cases are still rolling on while grant of bail to her and her father is at the court discretion.
So odds are heavy against 45-year-old Maryam but she is facing all this with bravery and courage, for which the future is expected to pay her off in a big way, says a party leader.